Top tips on making charity social media content more accessible
Social media is an increasingly effective strategy for charities that want to connect with supporters. UK charitable organisations have increased their supporters on key social media channels as the popularity of the internet has risen. Yet, for many charities, the vastness of the social media landscape can be daunting.
When posting to social media, you want to reach the greatest number of people as possible. Some organisations make the mistake of not making social media easily available to everyone, which immediately limits their reach. When it comes to accessibility, you need to think about the different ways in which people approach your content. To that end we’ve put together some simple tips and advice that can help you to make your social media more accessible for all your current and future supporters.
Before we start, we need to keep in mind that forming good habits doesn’t require drastic changes. Simply tweaking your posts here and there will lead to increased engagement. Get your message out and make every effort count with these time-saving tips.
Add image descriptions
For people who are blind or partially sighted, describing photos or putting alt-text is crucial. Keep it simple and just describe what you see. You should make sure that your description makes sense in context with your image. But do not let yourself get sucked into the trap of thinking you need to describe every single aspect of the image. Listening to a voiceover recounting a 1000-word description with irrelevant details is frustrating. Take time to select a few key details that paint a picture without including ‘image of’ or ‘picture of’.
Use CamelCase in hashtags
The rule of thumb is that hashtags should be kept short and sweet. However, even if you use the snappiest of tags, you’re likely to include a few words. As a result, screen readers (a piece of technology that helps people who have difficulties seeing to access and interact with digital content like websites or applications via audio or touch) may find it difficult to understand. Try using CamelCase next time you add a hashtag and capitalise the first letter of each new word so everyone can easily read it. As an example, #HashtagsLikeThis as opposed to #hashtagslikethis. It will also benefit supporters who are visually impaired since a voiceover will read over the text and might not understand the hashtag if it is all written in lower case.
Don’t go emoji crazy
Emojis are a great way to spice up your social media posts. Nevertheless, Text-to-Speech software reads out a description for every single emoji, so take care not to use too many. If you must, insert them at the end of a sentence and, if possible, make sure they make sense when read through a screen reader.
Colour and contrast
It is vital to carefully consider how you use colour. In charts, for example, you shouldn’t use colour as the only way to communicate your key message or information. You should instead make sure your written messages are clear and backed up by published data. Additionally, you should use block colours – avoiding pale colours against pale or white backgrounds and dark colours against dark backgrounds. Create your work with colour contrast in mind and make sure that a person’s access isn’t dependent on them.
Readability is key
Readability is a crucial aspect of accessibility. Since your social media posts have limited space, it’s important to get straight to the point and be clear. Using short sentences and avoiding large chunks of text makes the text more readable. Effective accessible copy should be simple.
According to NHS England it is estimated that more than two million people are living with vision loss in the UK today, so accessible fonts are essential. Avoid using unusual fonts, such as italics, or unusual symbols as these can confuse screen reading software.
Captions and subtitles
The written word isn’t the only thing on the web. Videos and podcasts can be great ways to share content and increase social media engagement. It’s just a matter of making sure you have subtitles or captions enabled, and that there is a transcript nearby.
How often have you typed ‘Click here’? Probably a lot. Suppose a user does not know where ‘here’ is? Use descriptive links to tell the user where ‘here’ is. Screen readers closely follow links, so it’s more effective to ask visitors to visit your donation page instead of directing them to “donate here”. A small but very important difference!
Language, structure and style.
The flow of information and language you use will always be an important part of fundraising communications. Regardless of who is reading your message, a well-written document will guide them to the information they need. It will use language that makes the point clear and follow a logical order.