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Creating Accessible Social Media Posts

Shuttertock graphic by Julia Tim of students sitting on a large hashtag

Social media has become an important source of news and information for many people. It is also a powerful tool for creating communities around shared interests.  Use social media to bring your message to a wider audience and increase its impact.

Start with these five tips to make sure more people can engage with your social media posts:

  • Choose plain language to make your posts easier to understand for everyone. Avoid jargon or overly academic language, and expand abbreviations and acronyms whenever possible.
  • Use Camel Case (e.g., #CamelCase) in more complex hashtags. Capitalizing the first letter of words in multiple-word hashtags will increase their legibility for everyone. It can also make it easier for screen readers to distinguish each word and pronounce the hashtag correctly.
  • Provide image descriptions. Screen reader users can miss important information in your posts if you don't include descriptions for your images. Most major services now include an option to add a description for an image - the one exception is animated images. For those, you will need to provide a description in the post itself.
  • Share accessible media. Make sure any videos or audio clips you’re linking to are captioned or include a transcript to support access and understanding. When sharing memes, make sure there is no flashing content that could cause a seizure.
  • Use a link shortener. Even if your selected social media service can automatically shorten the URL for your links, using a shortener can make the URL more friendly to screen reader users. You can prevent confusion when the link is read aloud by customizing the ending with real words rather than the random characters typically assigned when the link is created automatically. Putting the link at the end of your post is also a good practice.

Need more support? Watch an AEM Center webinar on Best Practices for Accessible Social Media with CAST Director of Digital Communications & Outreach, Mindy Johnson.

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