Alt text can be auto-generated by some platforms, but thankfully, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest all allow you to manually write custom alt text, which is preferred to auto-generated alt text. Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn also allow you to edit your alt text, even after publishing your post.
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The alt text function on the desktop version of Facebook can be found by clicking Edit in the upper left corner of an image before posting it to your Facebook page, profile, or group and typing the alt text in the appropriate field.
If you’re in the Facebook mobile app, you’ll find the alt text function under the three dots in the upper right corner of your uploaded image. This can be deceptive since there’s also an Edit button like there is on the desktop, but alt text is not housed there on the app.
You may notice a warning flash that alt text is normally less than 100 characters. Your alt text should be as long as you need it to be in order to make your image accessible.
Unfortunately, adding alt text to an image when you post it from the desktop or mobile version of Facebook Business Suite is not currently possible, and Facebook Creator Studio fluctuates between having and not having the ability to schedule posts with alt text. If you want to schedule Facebook posts with alt text you’ll either need to use a third-party management tool or write your image description directly in the caption of your post and schedule it through Business Suite or Creator Studio.
On the desktop version and mobile app of Twitter, along with TweetDeck, the alt text option appears with images as Add Description or +ALT below your uploaded image.
You can also add alt text to GIFs on Twitter if you use their built-in GIF library on the mobile and desktop versions of the platform or on the beta version of the updated TweetDeck platform.
When you get to the final screen on the Instagram app before publishing your post, tap Advanced Settings, scroll to Accessibility near the bottom, click Write Alt Text, and then add your image description in the provided field. If you have a carousel of images, there will be a slot for each image on that final screen. Once you’ve written your alt text, you can click Done in the upper right corner.
In October 2021, Instagram announced that it would finally allow users to post from the desktop version of the platform. The alt text feature is actually easier to find on the desktop than it is on the app. You’ll find a drop-down labeled Accessibility just below the caption area on the final publishing screen. Click the drop-down and the expanded view will show each of your uploaded images with a field next to them where you can write your alt text.
Because Instagram is owned by Facebook, you can also use Creator Studio to post to the platform using the alt text field. Just make sure that your Instagram account is a Creator or Business account and linked to a published Facebook page. You'll find the alt text field under Advanced Settings after you upload an image to your post in Creator Studio. Like with the app and desktop, Creator Studio will show you an individual field for each image you upload.
An alternative option for writing alt text on Instagram is to include your image description directly in the caption area of your post, as shown below. Some users have found that some assistive devices don’t always detect the alt text field on Instagram, so this is a solution to that potential problem. Writing your alt text this way also makes it very clear to your audience that you value accessibility and creating inclusive social media content.
You can also easily use this method for Facebook and LinkedIn posts as well.
LinkedIn has one of the easiest alt text fields to find. As soon as you upload an image to your post, the option to add alt text appears below your image in the Edit your photo window. Just be conscious of the fact that LinkedIn has a 300 character limit for alt text, so you'll want to be intentional about the images you choose lest you run out of room for describing them.
Finding the alt text field for Pinterest is also quite easy, but it’s only an option for new pins that you upload directly to your account. You cannot retroactively add alt text to someone’s else’s pin that you want to share to your own board. When you create a new pin, you’ll see a button labeled Add alt text to the right of the image you upload.
Alt text publishing capabilities vary across popular third-party management tools and apps, and as of January 2022, Sked Social is the only third-party site that can post to Instagram using the platform’s alt text field due to API restrictions. You can also use Facebook Creator Studio to post to Instagram with alt text because Instagram is owned by Facebook. Just make sure that your Instagram account is a Creator or Business account and linked to a published Facebook page.
Click any of the below tabs for a sampling of popular management tools and their alt text publishing capabilities by platform as of January 2022.
The following social media management tools and apps can access Facebook's alt text field when scheduling posts:
The following social media management tools and apps can access Twitter's alt text field when scheduling posts:
The following social media management tools and apps can access Instagram's alt text field when scheduling posts:
The following social media management tools and apps can access LinkedIn's alt text field when scheduling posts:
The following social media management tools and apps can access Pinterest's alt text field when scheduling posts:
If you use a management tool other than Sked Social and want to continue using it to publish to Instagram, you can simply write your image description directly in the caption area of your post.