If I haven’t convinced you with any of my previous articles on the subject, alternative text—more commonly known as alt text—is important when it comes to creating and publishing inclusive content on social media.
Thankfully, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn all allow you to add alt text before publishing, but what about third-party sites and apps? I did my best to get some insight into the accessibility features that some of the better-known management tools offer right now.
Varying levels of accessibility
When it comes to third-party apps, Sprout Social and Hootsuite are the most inclusive ones right now along with Agorapulse, which had a major alt text update in late October this year. You can add alt text to your posts for Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn through their platforms. Due to the limitations of Instagram’s notoriously strict Application Programming Interface (API), all three are still waiting to add IG to the mix.
You can add alt text to Twitter posts through Sprinklr and Publer, according to marketers who use the sites. Publer also has alt text capabilities for Facebook. Sprinklr has stated that they have engineering tickets in with Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram.
Buffer and FalconIO didn’t respond to me, but according to Buffer’s help site and FalconIO’s, you can at least add alt text to Twitter images through both systems. A helpful user in a Facebook group for social media marketers also shared that Socialbakers allows for alt text on Facebook and Twitter posts.
If you are looking for a way to schedule Instagram posts ahead of time and add alt text to them, you can do so through Facebook’s Creator Studio, but strangely not with Facebook’s newest management system, Business Suite.
If you know more about these platforms or others, please feel free to comment. I’m always looking for more information on the accessibility of third-party management sites and apps.
Ask the right questions
If you or your organization is looking into a management system for social media, it’s crucial that you ask questions about accessibility capabilities.
Does the site offer ways to write alt text for your posts? For what platforms? Can a rep demo that tool for you? If a site is missing alt text for a platform, when does it expect to update that publishing feature, or what is its development team currently doing to lobby the platform to make it possible? Are its accessibility tools obvious when you’re scheduling a post? Easy to use?
Outside of tools and features, is the site actively encouraging social media users to create and publish accessible content? Does it have blog posts or how-to guides on the subject?
These are all things to consider before purchasing a contract for a system if you want to be a better, more inclusive marketer.