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Boosting Web Accessibility in Social Media

Jul 5, 2017

In today's Participation Age, social media maintains the pulse of the everyday — and that includes brand loyalty. According to the Ambassador marketing platform, 71% of consumers who enjoy their social media experience with a company are more likely to praise that company among their colleagues. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are increasingly becoming central outlets of our shared global communication, and companies have taken notice.

To target consumers where they already are, companies and organizations are increasingly turning to social media as means of promotion and outreach. But to be the most effective, your organization must maximize its social media web accessibility for all potential clients, particularly those who might have a disability. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 15% of the world's population has been diagnosed with a disability. This means the more "virtual" our world becomes, the more crucial it will be to solve the issues of social media accessibility.

Of course, achieving this goal is easier said than done. Social media platforms, even websites in general, can be difficult to navigate depending on the device or interface that potential clients are using; it can also be a challenge to determine any potential limitations on the client's capabilities. The good news is that there are four basic ways to boost your brand's social media accessibility.

Design to Accommodate

When designing your social media platforms, try to consider all possible users. This might mean adding captions, descriptions, or audio files to ensure your clientele will have the tools necessary to feel connected to your brand and find value in your content.

Take, for example, your social media posts on Twitter. In the past, Twitter made it challenging to caption photos, which made it difficult for the visually impaired to navigate your Twitter feed effectively. Thanks to the addition of a caption feature, the photos you tweet can be appreciated by even visually impaired users. The same goes for Facebook, which also recently added the option for alternative text descriptions of images. This is a simple step to take while posting, but it means increased accessibility for a substantial segment of the population.

Keep Messages Clear

When developing web content for your social media sites, keep your text, hashtags, and keywords simple. Complicated hashtags can prove problematic, so think about ways in which you can tag your products or promotions in a clear-cut manner.

A promotional campaign by Oreo in 2013 is a great example of a successful, clear social media strategy. Timed with Halloween, the brand developed the hashtag #OreoHorrorStories to be used across their social media platforms, including the now-defunct Vine. By using "CamelCase," also known as medial capitals, they made their hashtag easier for larger audiences to type and read, contributing to the massive success of their campaign.

Make Time to Test

It is crucial that you consistently test your website and social media content for accessibility. To double-check that all is running smoothly, you or a dedicated team member should perform a thorough user task analysis on parameters ranging from intuitiveness to efficiency.

Feel Out Feedback

One of the best ways to boost your social media accessibility is to make sure your contact information is easily located. By expressing to your clients that you want to hear from them about their needs and how aspects of the web and social media experience might be improved, you reassure your clients that you care about them and value their input. This kind of care can result in committed clients and while helping you catch user issues across your platforms.

It can take time to adequately adjust your organization's social media and web presence to maximize accessibility, but the benefits are undoubtedly worth it. By curating your content to meet the needs of the world's disabled population, you are increasing access for a currently under-accommodated segment of consumers. At the same time, you are amplifying your potential brand outreach, and that is always a boon for business.

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