Man using his phone with accessible media.

Two months ago, we provided some advice for updating your website to meet and comply with web accessibility standards and why it is beneficial for your business beyond just being a legal requirement. The inclusivity of accessibility is just as essential on social media so everyone can access, view, and engage with your content. Increasing your content’s accessibility also increases your ability to grow by allowing you to reach your full potential audience. It also simply benefits those with disabilities who might not otherwise be able to access your content. Here are some essential tips for making your posts, stories, reels, etc. more accessible.

Social Media Accessibility

Social media platforms come with numerous accessibility concerns around text, images, and video. There can be a lot to keep in mind, but here are some basics to always consider that will immediately increase your content’s accessibility.

Tips for Accessible Writing

Nearly every bit of content on social media includes some text, a description, a caption, or part of the picture or video. That text is a crucial part of the content, and you want everyone to be able to read and understand it.

  • Accessible Language – It is best practice to not include specialist terminology in your writing to ensure a general audience understands it. Avoid jargon, technical terms, or specialized acronyms and abbreviations. Similarly, only use slang if your audience is familiar with it. These specialized terms can confuse and alienate anyone unfamiliar with them, which will include many potential customers or clients. Your writing can still communicate effectively and retain your brand’s voice without them.
  • Pascal Case for Hashtags – Hashtags entirely written in lower case can be difficult to read, especially for those with dyslexia or visual impairments. Screen readers and people can also have difficulty separating the words: #momscare could be “moms care” or “mom scare”. Capitalizing each word, called Pascal Case or Upper Camel Case, will dispel any ambiguity and increase legibility: #AnAlbumParty.
  • Avoid All Caps: It might be surprising, but studies have repeatedly found that all upper-case text is even less legible than all lower-case because it gives every word the same rectangular shape. Avoid all capital fonts and write with normal, mixed casing as much as possible. The occasional all upper-case word is okay but remember an exclamation mark can be just as effective for communicating excitement or surprise.
  • Avoid too many emojis and special characters: Too many emojis and special characters can reduce your text’s legibility. As well, speech-to-text programs read each one of these characters aloud individually, leading for an unpleasant reading experience. For this reason, it is also best to put hashtags at the end of your text. Screen readers read out each # as “number sign”. Placing hashtags at the end allows those using screen readers or text to speech to turn it off when they have already heard the meat of your content.

Tips for Accessible Images and Videos

Images and videos are essential components of your visual content on every social media platform, but they can also present accessibility concerns. Here are tips to ensure your entire audience can enjoy and understand them.

  • Alt-text and descriptions: Descriptions of images and videos help users who may have difficulty or cannot see your visual content. These will allow users to visualize the content for themselves. Some platforms support alt-text where the description is engrained into the image, such as Twitter. If the platform does not support alt-text, simply include a description in the post. 
  • Effective Descriptions: An effective description will include important details that captures both content and tone. Explain graphics, mention colours, identify emotions, and transcribe any text in the video or picture.
  • Closed Captions: Adding sound to image and videos rounds out your content, but some of your users may have hearing difficulties. Many also prefer to view content with their devices muted. Closed captions allow those members of your audience to still access that essential aspect of your content. Include captions for any sounds in your videos, e.g. talking, music, and noises. Most platforms can automatically generate closed captions. However, make sure to verify and edit them so they are accurate. 

Social Media Accessibility for Text on Your Images and Videos

Text on images and videos adds other accessibility concerns, so we have created a separate section to ensure you are providing an accessible experience and ensuring your content’s quality.  

  • Text Contrast: Ensure any text on a picture and video contrast with the background. Anyone with visual impairments will have difficulty reading your text if it does not fully stand out. Use complementary colours for your text to have it stand against the background, e.g. black on white or yellow on blue/purple. Do not use colours that both contain reds and greens to create contrast. While the text may contrast for you, it will not for anyone with colourblindness, a common visual impairment. 
  • Text Contrast and Videos: Videos usually have moving backgrounds and changing colours. Some white text may contrast perfectly with the black at the start of the video, but if that spot becomes white, the text will disappear. A solid background is an easy solution and a feature provided by every social media platform. Creating high contrast between these two, will keep the text visible for the entire time. A less apparent, but similarly effective method is to add an outline or stroke to the text. White text with a black outline should be visible with nearly any background.
  • Font Choice and Size: Text on an image should be easily legible. Ensure the font is large enough to see. Stick to typographic fonts that use printing letter. Calligraphic and cursive fonts are more difficult to read. 
  • Voice to text: Some may not be able to read your text on your images and videos even with these accessibility considerations. You can also provide audio that reads captions or descriptions. Most social media platforms include voice to text that will automatically read any caption on your post with a robotic voice. You can also record yourself for a more personal touch. On TikTok, audio captions are expected and voice-to-text voice has become a recognizable part of the platform.

Summing up

There is plenty to learn when increasing your content’s accessibility. The best practices are always developing, and platforms are always building more tools. Increasing your content’s accessibility soon becomes habit, and it is extremely valuable to your audience. If you have more questions about social media accessibility, Rosewood’s social media team is happy to help. 

Accessible social media makes everyone happy.
Micro-Influencer Sitting on Stool in Front of Camera.

By now, everyone should be familiar with how important social media is for growing their business. For example, 83% of Instagram users now discover new products there. Part of this surge in social media’s role has increased the prominence of influencer marketing. Influencer marketing is where a brand partners with someone with a considerable social media presence. In exchange for free goods or monetary compensation, that influencer recommends and promotes the brand’s products or services. At least 61% of users say they trust an influencer’s recommendations, and their endorsement transfers that trust onto your brand. Through influencer marketing, not only do you reach more people, but they also have a positive perception of your brand and business.

For small businesses, influencer marketing is an effective tool for growth. However, it’s not just huge influencers that will give your brand reach. In fact, micro-influencers and their smaller followings can have a much bigger benefit to your business.

Why not mega-influencers?

Today, the most prominent influencers have hundreds of thousands and some even millions of followers. Some of these are celebrities, while others have entirely made their careers as prominent influencers on a variety of social media. These macro- and star- or mega-influencers have incredible reach for brand awareness, but they also can have limited availability or exclusivity agreement. Plus, that large following comes with a matching price tag. A mega-influencer typically charges a minimum of $1000 for a single piece of content. Some can even charge up to a staggering $50,000.

These larger influencers also have reduced engagement. On Instagram, macro-influencers have an average engagement rate of only 1.62%, mega-influencers 1.21%. The scale of such massive audiences prevents these influencers from being able to feasibly engage with their audience personally. Similarly, followers feel less connected to these mega-influencers because they are one among a much larger group. As a result, most followers are silent, never engaging with these larger influencers and thereby the brands they promote. 

What is a micro-influencer?

A micro-influencer is typically defined as someone with 10,000 to 100,000 followers. Since we’ve covered most of the terminology already, that last category is a nano-influencer with 10,000 or less. Micro-influencers have smaller followings than their macro and mega counterparts, but they still have considerable reach. 

The Benefits of Micro-Influencers

The dynamics of micro-influencers and their smaller followings can be tremendously beneficial for smaller businesses. Smaller followings tend to be more dedicated to that influencer, hence higher engagement rates. Micro-influencers have an average of 3.86% on Instagram, more than triple their larger counterparts. Their engagement rates are even higher on TikTok. Micro-influencers have an average engagement rate of 18%, while mega-influencers are under 5%. Those higher engagement rates mean more attention for your business whenever a micro-influencer promotes your products or services. 

Along with more engagement, users trust smaller influencers more than larger ones. They have a stronger perceived personal connection as a more prominent member of that influencer’s audience and community. Micro-influencers are more like towns or boroughs, where people are attached to the community. That same association does not typically exist for influencers whose follower numbers rival cities. Therefore, a micro-influencer’ recommendations feel less like a celebrity sponsorship and more like from a friend. Their endorsements appear more sincere to audiences than those from macro- and mega-influencers, and that transfers authenticity onto your brand by association. 

Micro-influencers’ audiences also tend to be more niche and specialized. Most businesses don’t cater their products or services to everyone. They have specific demographics and audiences, and so do micro-influencers. Choosing the right micro-influencers allows you to focus and target your brand’s niche audience turning into a much higher conversion rate. 

That increased engagement and resonating recommendation all come with less financial cost to your business. Micro-level influencers cost much less for content than bigger influencers. They may even accept free products or services instead of monetary compensation. That itself will only further contribute to recommendations that appear trustworthy to their audiences. An influencer is recommending your product or service because they use it. This all creates opportunities to create personal ties between the influencer, your business, and their audience who become yours. 

In Summary

Though their follower numbers may be small, they are fierce. Micro-influencers have smaller audiences, but they can much bigger benefits for your business. They are overall more effective at fostering trust and reaching that audience than an influencer with a following ten times bigger. Plus, that better engagement and authenticity all comes with less investment from your business.

A lot of this can also apply to the smaller, nano-influencers. They are typically even cheaper with slightly more engagement, but also significantly less followers. Overall, if you are looking to invest heavily into influencer marketing, the most effective influencer marketing strategy is to engage with multiple levels of influencers. A macro-level influencer allows you to cast a wide net, while nano- and micro-level influencers create stronger associations to your brand.

If you’re interested in getting started with influencer marketing or have more questions, Rosewood’s social media marketing team will be happy to find your next micro-influencer.

Three women smiling and looking at a phone together.
Apple Privacy Policy Affects Small Business'

Pumpkin Spice season approaches, and that means the next iOS is right around the corner. Just like the last couple updates, Apple has announced a repertoire of new privacy features for iOS 16 to help protect users’ privacy. Android 13 released just yesterday with some new privacy features as well but for now is still behind Apple. Data protection is important for users, but how does it affect the metrics you collect for effective of your marketing?

Data Collection and Privacy

The data you receive from consumers, users, and your audience is incredibly informative. Information like what products someone views or what pages someone visits, allows you to tailor your promotions or content to their interests. It lets you communicate effectively and efficiently. It shows you what marketing is working and what is not. All of that can help your company grow. That data and the metrics they create are incredibly important for your business, but for users, that data is also precious. It is something they trust you with, and they do not want that trust and their privacy breached. 

Data privacy has become an increasing concern on the internet. In a KPMG survey from last year, 86% of users were concerned about their data’s privacy. That worry is valid. The past month saw a dozen security violations with large corporations. A mother and daughter were recently shocked and angered when Facebook gave Nebraska police their private message logs. User information is not just a shopping cart or wishlist. It also includes more sensitive, personal information like messages, emails, addresses, and credit cards that users are regularly providing businesses. In turn, many nations and the European Union have passed legislation that restricts when, how, and what kind of data companies can collect. The FTC in the US announced just five days ago that it would be “cracking down on commercial surveillance and lax data security practices.” Software developers and device manufacturers like Apple have also been increasing the default privacy protections they provide. This is great for users’ security but affects the kind of information you can collect and how. 

Apple Privacy – Mail Privacy Protection

Last year, Apple released Mail Privacy Protection (MPP) as part of iOS 15. MPP hides users’ IP addresses so senders cannot see their location, related internet activity, or even whether they opened the email. That’s all potentially valuable information for a business or marketing team. Android lacks a similar feature, but in Canada, over 57% of people are using iPhones. In email tracking services, MPP can also falsely inflate your open rates. Any inbox with MPP active will be recognized in the tracker. However, MPP can open an email without the user ever actually opening and seeing the email for themselves. Unfortunately, a tracker cannot tell the difference whether this was an MPP “open” or your recipient’s. 

Those false positives lead to bloated open rates and a false, larger discrepancy in open-to-click rates. Most email services will allow you to ignore MPP opens, and it is best to do so. They are simply not a reliable or informative data set. Remember, MPP only affects open rates. Your click rates will still be accurate. Focusing on those clicks will allow you to keep track of your engaged audience and ensure your catering to their interests and preferences.

MPP will still deny other information that may valuable, such as location and other internet activity. The goal then, is conversion rates: getting recipients to visit your site, where they can provide you with more information. 

The End of Third-Party Data

The information users provide to your site when they access and use it is first-party data or cookies. This is any information you gather from your customers directly. For the past while, internet advertising has relied primarily on third-party cookies. Third-party data works through websites sharing information between one another. This is how Google Ads and Meta Business (Facebook and Instagram advertising) work. They use a user’s wider internet activity to target them with appropriate ads according to their browsing history. This is why if you put something in your cart on one site, you might suddenly start seeing ads for that very product elsewhere or even everywhere.

More recently, marketing has started moving away from third-party cookies. Some internet browsers have started blocking these trackers by default, like Mozilla Firefox and Safari (remember that 57% market share of Canadian phones?) Apple and Android have similarly been allowing users to block tracking in apps. Notably Google Chrome, which 65% of people worldwide use, still allows third-party trackers. Google has said they will also be blocking them for the past two years, but last month again delayed those plans to 2024. Third-party ads are still an important part of Google Ads, which makes up 80% of the company’s revenue. Similarly, Facebook advertising is a staggering 98% of Meta’s revenue. Those same ads have also been especially important for small businesses. The move away from third-party ad targeting is and will more severely affect smaller businesses that have relied on them to grow and reach potential customers and clients. They will need to invest into new marketing efforts.

Leaving Third-Party Data Behind

So, while third-party cookies will still work for targeting Chrome users, companies should also focus their marketing on first-party data. Your emails and websites can still gather valuable information about your audience and customers as the world moves away from third-party data. As a result, marketing should focus on converting customers. Creative marketing on social media is a productive method for attracting and expanding an audience and convincing potential customers to visit your website. Effective email automations will have customers regularly returning. Fun, survey quizzes with a bonus discount code are a great incentive for customers to provide you with more detailed information.

Rosewood Can Help 

Currently third-party tracking can still prove beneficial for small businesses, but they will see increasing decline in ROI in this sector as Apple and other companies increase dedication to privacy. Rosewood recommends every business start investing into first-party data collection with effective social media, tailored email automations, and creative content that drives conversion rates. 

Rosewood’s web design and marketing services will make sure you are collecting and effectively using that precious data from (potential) customers. We will soon be officially offering email marketing services as well. We are familiar with a suite of both third- and first-party tools and services so you can learn more about your customers and help your business grow in the face of increasing internet privacy. With an elegant website and effective marketing, users will want to trust you with their information.

New Privacy Policy Changes Information Gathered From Customers.