How to Write ALT Text for Instagram and Facebook

ALT text is the alternative text used to textually describe a photo in case it doesn’t load on a website or for visually-impaired audience accessibility. Your ALT text should describe the photo well enough that anyone reading it (or hearing it through a screen reader) can get a good idea of what the photo is meant to represent.

In this blog we’ll talk about:

  1. What is ALT Text Used For?
  2. How to Add ALT Text on Instagram
  3. How to Add ALT Text on Facebook
  4. How to Write ALT Text
woman in a pink dress holding a phone with white gloves

What is ALT Text Used For?

ALT text is used in a much wider capacity than accessibility — it’s used to index and categorize websites so that search engine “robots” can more easily “read” your website. This idea also applies to Facebook and Instagram!

Including ALT text on your photo posts is a great way to help boost your social media account’s SEO (search engine optimization), allowing search engine robots to easily match your content with a user search.

How to Add Alternative Text on Instagram

Add ALT Text To Previous Posts

  1. Open the photo post.
  2. Click the three dots in the corner of the post and open the Settings menu.
  3. Select Edit.
  4. Scroll up to the photo and select Edit Alt Text.
  5. Set your ALT Text and select Done.
Graphic showing how to add alternative text to a new Instagram post

Add ALT Text While Uploading New Posts

  1. Before sharing your photo, scroll down and select Advanced Settings.
  2. Select Write Alt Text under Accessibility.
  3. Set your ALT Text and select Done.
Graphic showing how to add alternative text to a new Instagram post

How to Add Alternative Text on Facebook*

Meta recently added this feature for Facebook. While it’s not yet functional on mobile, we’re showing you how to edit ALT text on desktop.

Add ALT Text To Previous Posts

  1. Click the three dots in the corner of the post and select Edit Post.
  2. Hover your mouse over the image and a pencil icon and Edit button will appear: 📝 Edit
  3. Select Alternative Text from the options.
  4. Set your ALT Text!
GIF showing how to add ALT text to a previous Facebook post

Add ALT Text While Uploading New Posts

  1. Before sharing your photo, Hover your mouse over the image — a pencil icon and Edit button will appear: ✏️ Edit
  2. Select Alternative Text from the options.
  3. Set your ALT Text!
GIF showing how to add ALT text to a previous Facebook post

*Note: As of December 2022, this feature is only available on desktop.

How to Write ALT Text

Now that you know how to add ALT text, let’s talk about writing it! There are a few things to keep in mind while writing ALT text:

  • Instagram’s ALT text character limit is 100, so keep your descriptions punchy!
  • Most popular screen readers are optimized for 125 characters or less.
  • Write as if describing it to someone who can’t see it. This is most helpful for visually-impaired audiences!
  • Include any important text such as a sign or a quote.
  • If relevant, include who is in the picture.
  • Incorporate keywords that will help boost your post’s SEO.

For example, if the photo depicts a dish that you serve at your restaurant, the following would be a short and punchy description that is accessible and includes SEO-friendly keywords: Seared scallops with risotto and fall vegetables. Entrée from Restaurant Name, City, State.

Keep up with all the latest industry updates and how-tos on our blog!

Like this article?

Leave a comment