In the UK, there are approximately 14.6 million people who have been recorded to have a disability or hidden difference. Despite them making up a huge chunk of society, daily life for disabled people and those with invisible differences can be difficult due to society not being built with their needs in mind.
In modern times, digital technology has become an integral part of everyday consumer life. This means businesses must embrace technology to attract, engage and convert customer leads into sales.
Digital channels provide organisations with the opportunity to reach a wider audience, the needs of disabled people and those with hidden differences must be met by implementing digital accessibility in marketing campaigns. With this in mind, we will delve deeper into social media accessibility and what you can do to sow the seeds for success.
Why is social media accessibility important?
Social media platforms provide businesses and charities with the opportunity to get their products and services in front of new and existing customers. The beauty of social media marketing is that it allows you to develop a meaningful dialogue with your audience, resulting in sales being made.
As an organisation, it’s important to remove barriers from your customer journey to grow sales and online accessibility can help with that.
According to WebAims social media accessibility research paper, 80.4% of respondents stated that social media content is inaccessible, meaning UK organisations are excluding 20% of the population from their online communications. Most of the tools required to practice social media accessibility are readily available on most social media platforms (e.g. Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter), however, organisations and their marketing team are failing to use them creating a barrier between them and disabled people and those with hidden differences.
With the UK disability market’s annual buying power currently at £274 billion, organisations cannot and should not ignore them. Even if your organisation could tap into only 0.00001% of this amount through implementing digital accessibility, then you could bring in an additional £27,400 a year which is a significant amount, especially for small businesses. You can find out more about how inaccessibility prevents business growth by visiting The Purple Pound report by clicking here.
By including social media accessibility in your marketing campaigns, not only will it improve sales, but it will also provide you with a new customer base and demonstrate to people that you are committed to inclusion, which provides positive word-of-mouth recommendations.
How does social media exclude disabled people and those with hidden differences?
There are several groups of people who require accessibility to be able to enjoy a good quality of life free from barriers.
These groups include those with:
- Auditory Disabilities / Differences: People who are deaf or hard of hearing
- Cognitive Disabilities / Differences: Autism (ASD), ADHD / ADD, Dyslexia and Dyspraxia
- Neurological Disabilities / Differences: Epilepsy, Seizures and Dementia
- Physical Disabilities / Differences: Cerebral Palsy, MS, Amputation and Arthritis
- Visual Disabilities /Differences: Blind, Low Vision, Visual Impairment
Other people who may face barriers can include those with temporary disabilities barriers, such as a broken limb and although not a disability or difference, old age can also create a barrier online, especially if older people use assistive technology to be able to access social media.
[The above groups of people who require accessibility on social media is by no means an exhaustive list, but it provides you with an general idea of some of the different groups of people who require reasonable adjustments online].
Many disabled people and those with hidden differences will use assistive technology to access the internet and will use such software as text-to-speech software, specialist keyboards, screen readers, assistive listening devices magnifiers, and voice recognition software to just name a few.
Although the technology has made it much easier for disabled people and those with differences to access digital content with ease, it is far from perfect which results in digital exclusion.
How can I ensure my social media content is accessible?
There are many ways that organisations can practice social media accessibility. My first recommendation would be to contact myself here at Little Seed Group to book Social Media Accessibility training.
During this event, I will help you better understand what social media accessibility is, the impact that inaccessibility can have on your organisation, the challenges users face on your social media channels and how to improve social media accessibility.
At the end of the course, you and your staff team will have the skills and knowledge to be able to start publishing fully accessible social media content from the get-go.
The course is approximately 45 minutes long and will be followed by a Q&A. If you would like to book us for a Social Media Accessibility workshop, then please click here to get in touch.
What can I do to improve disability inclusion in the workplace?
In addition to the above, there are many other ways that you can commit to inclusion and accessibility, and it all starts in-house.
My top recommendations would be to:
- If you have a physical shop, look to make adjustments to make the space more accessible. Improve accessibility measures by revising your marketing literature, for example, introduce large print leaflets, use simple and easy-to-follow language, and involve people with disabilities and learning differences in your campaigns etc.
- Seek out inclusion and diversity training for you and your team to attend. Make sure disabilities and hidden differences are included in the training and are conducted by disabled people and those with differences. If you want any recommendations of who to speak to, then I will be happy to offer some recommendations, please get in touch by clicking here.
- Become an inclusive employer by providing employment opportunities for people with disabilities and/or hidden differences. According to TextHelp, 1 in 3 business owners show unconscious bias against people with disabilities and hidden differences which is higher than the levels of bias based on gender or race. To read TextHelp’s study on unconscious bias towards people with disabilities and hidden differences, click here.
- Create accessible workspaces and remote working opportunities for those who may struggle to get into work due to a disability or difference. If you are based in the UK, then consider providing support for your employees through the Access to Work scheme. To find out more about Access to Work, click here.
- Be open to constructive feedback and continually read literature and attend conferences/webinars to improve your confidence and commitment to inclusion in business.
I hope you have found the above useful. As someone with several hidden differences, digital accessibility is very important to me, and all of our work is created with inclusion in mind. To find out more about our services, please click here. Alternatively, if you would like to find out more about my public speaking and training workshops, click here.