Copywriting and Text Formatting for Social Media Accessibility

An illustration representing social media accessibility, featuring a large, central social media post on a purple background. The post displays a screen reader icon, symbolizing accessibility features for the visually impaired. Surrounding the post are various social media engagement icons, such as hearts and thumbs-up, with numbers indicating likes and other interactions, emphasizing the engagement aspect of accessible social media content.


At East Carolina University, we prioritize making all digital content accessible, and this post is part of our “Content Compass” series, focusing specifically on social media accessibility.

We are dedicated to ensuring that our communication meets ADA requirements and includes everyone.

In this segment, we will discuss how to enhance the accessibility of your social media content through targeted copywriting and text formatting strategies.

We’ll provide actionable tips to help you design messages that are clear and accessible, ensuring that no member of the Pirate community is excluded from our digital communications.

Enhancing Text for Accessibility

Simple Language

The key to accessible social media posts is simplicity. By using straightforward, easy-to-understand language, you ensure that your messages reach and are comprehensible to everyone.

For example, instead of using formal or complex phrases like “utilize assistance,” opt for more direct and simple alternatives like “get help.”

This approach not only makes your content easier to read but also more engaging.

Jargon and Clarity

To make your social media posts clear and accessible, steer clear of technical terms and specialized jargon that might be unfamiliar to your audience.

Instead, use plain language that is easily understandable.

Here are some strategies:

  • Explain concepts in simple terms: If you need to use a technical term, follow it with a simple explanation.
  • Use familiar examples: Relate complex ideas to everyday experiences to help people understand better.
  • Keep sentences short: Shorter sentences are easier to read and understand. Break down complex ideas into manageable pieces.

Hashtag Formatting

Using Camel Case for Hashtags

Camel Case in hashtags involves capitalizing the first letter of each word, which makes them easier to read.

For example, #EastCarolinaUniversity becomes clearer than #eastcarolinauniversity.

This format helps each word stand out, aiding those with visual impairments or cognitive difficulties in quickly understanding the hashtag’s message.

Clean Posts

To keep your posts clear and focused, it’s best to separate hashtags from the main body of the text.

By placing hashtags at the end of the post or even in the first comment, you ensure that the main message remains uncluttered.

This practice not only enhances readability but also keeps the attention on the core message rather than on a string of hashtags.

Emojis and Special Characters

Strategic Use of Emojis

Emojis can enhance the tone and emotional appeal of your posts, but they should be used wisely.

Here are a few guidelines:

  • Use sparingly: Emojis are best used in moderation to add flavor to your message without overwhelming the text.
  • Place at the end: To maintain clarity, place emojis at the end of your message rather than interspersed throughout the text.
  • Relevance is key: Choose emojis that are directly relevant to your message to enhance understanding, not detract from it.

Avoiding Special Characters

Special characters like ASCII art may seem creative, but they can complicate accessibility.

Here’s why they should be avoided:

  • Screen reader compatibility: Special characters can confuse screen readers, making content inaccessible to visually impaired users.
  • Clarity and professionalism: Text cluttered with special characters can appear unprofessional and can be hard to read, reducing the overall clarity of the message.
  • Uniformity across devices: Not all devices display special characters consistently, which can lead to misinterpretation of the intended message.

Example to Avoid:

a screenshot of a tweet by the official Firefox Twitter account. The tweet contains ASCII art depicting two figures, one labeled "Firefox Relay protecting your inbox from spam" and the other labeled "you." The figure labeled as Firefox Relay is positioned above and appears to be shielding the figure labeled "you" from above, suggesting a protective action.

ASCII Art Complicates Accessibility

Descriptive Hyperlinks

Importance of Descriptive Text for Hyperlinks

Descriptive links help users understand what to expect when they click a link, which is especially important for those using screen readers.

Clear links also contribute to better SEO (Search Engine Optimization) as they provide context and relevance to the content.

Examples of Effective vs. Ineffective Hyperlink Texts

Effective Hyperlinks:

  • “Explore our accessibility resources” clearly indicates what the user will find upon clicking.
  • “Read our full guide on ADA compliance” provides an exact description of the linked content.

Ineffective Hyperlinks:

  • “Click here” lacks context about the destination of the link, leaving users uncertain.
  • “Learn more” is vague and does not specify what additional information will be provided.

Avoiding Naked URLs

Instead of displaying the full URL, embed it within descriptive text to keep your content tidy and enhance readability.

For example, instead of “Visit for more info,” you could write “Visit our detailed information page.

By choosing your words carefully, you can make your hyperlinks more accessible and informative, enhancing the overall quality and user-friendliness of your content.

Action Steps for Continuous Improvement

Regular Content Reviews

Regular reviews of your social media content are essential for maintaining accessibility standards.

Set a routine to assess and update your posts to ensure they are clear and accessible.

This ongoing process helps identify any potential barriers that might prevent users from fully engaging with your content, ensuring compliance with accessibility guidelines.

Updating Social Media Posts

To enhance readability and engagement, periodically update your social media strategies:

  • Refine language: Simplify complex language and clarify any ambiguous content.
  • Visual adjustments: Update visuals and captions to be more inclusive, such as adding alt text to images.

Additional Considerations

When crafting your posts, keep the following in mind:

  • Use sentence case: Avoid all caps in large text blocks to improve readability.
  • Explain acronyms: Spell out acronyms the first time you use them in your text.
  • Choose words carefully: Avoid ableist language and unnecessary complex formatting to ensure your content is respectful and accessible to all.

By implementing these practices, you can significantly improve the quality and accessibility of your social media content, fostering a more inclusive digital environment.

Navigating Forward

In our effort to enhance social media accessibility, we’ve highlighted essential strategies that enable effective communication with every member of your audience.

From using straightforward language to thoughtful formatting, these practices are key to crafting content that is inclusive and engaging.

Committing to these changes helps build a more accessible online community, ensuring all Pirates can easily engage with our content.

Let’s keep steering our efforts towards clarity and inclusivity, enhancing understanding and connection with each Social Media post.

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