As a digital marketer, I have never thought about people with visual disabilities and how they consume social media content. Recently I learned that blind people use a screen reader translate text on a computer screen. Computer screen readers translate text thru voice. What was interesting, is that the screen reader can only describe the images in a photo, but a blind person would never know who is in the image unless there is text along with the photo.
In the US alone there are currently 1.3 million legally blind individuals and an estimated 10 million who are legally blind or visually impaired. This is a large chunk of US consumers, many of who are consuming social media content on a daily basis.
Social Media has become one of the top marketing tools to engage consumers and drive awareness. It is earned media and very cost effective, especially if a post (image, video, etc.) goes viral. Realizing there are consumers who can’t visually interpret content the way an average person would, social media marketers need to be educated how best to develop content that is effectively communicated to the legally blind.
By providing captions on all of your photos and videos (i.e. Michael Phelps graces the cover of Wheaties box, Usher singing “Happy” to promote Pepsi) you are allowing screen readers to provide more information to the legally blind, which in turn provides more engagement and hopefully more revenue and loyalty.
So next time you go to post a photo or video on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter remember those who are visually challenged and think about how best to describe your visual content for better engagement.
Stats: National Federation of the Blind
On February 24, 2017 the Animal Adventure Park in Harpursville, NY started a live video stream via their YouTube channel Live Feed of a pregnant giraffe named April. The park is closed for the Winter season and knowing that April is due to give birth to her 4 calf soon, the park decided to put up a live cam for people to watch April’s progress and limit the number of emails they were receiving.
The park thought the live feed would only attract a few thousands viewers, however, with national news coverage and sharing on Facebook and Twitter, the average viewership is 89,000 and growing. While it has been over two weeks since the feed went live, viewers are still watching and patiently waiting for the birth of the baby giraffe.
Another social media celebrity has been born out of the live feed, Allysa Swilley! Allysa is one of April’s keepers and a Zoologist. Allysa was living a normal life until she became a star through the live feed, where her undeniable love for April is very evident. Realizing the social media buzz about April had skyrocketed, Allysa started posting daily photos of April on her personal Instagram account. In the last 4 days the number of people who follow Allysa on Instagram has increased by 150%. Allysa is taking this opportunity to educate her followers not just on April, but the other animals in the park and bring attention to animal conservation.
While the Animal Adventure Park originally started the live feed to eliminate daily emails about April, they have created national publicity and awareness for the park and their mission. I am not sure if they have a PR Director and if this was all a plan, but the stats show how beneficial a little web cam can be, along with the power of social media and a low-cost investment.
Today I had the pleasure of seeing my doctor for my yearly “female” check-up. While standing at the counter checking-in, I noticed there was a single sheet double sided take away with information about a mobile app titled “healow.” Intrigued by anything mobile, I was inclined to take the information for future reference. As I read through the information, I was excited to see that an app had been created that allows you stay in control of your healthcare. Basically the app allows you to securely access your patient portal account from your smartphone anytime and anywhere.
The features of the app include:
- Access to multiple patient portal accounts
- Management of your prescriptions
- Connection to doctors
- Access to lab results and medical records
- Control your schedule
What excites me about this app is the ability to access my information from my smartphone versus logging in from my laptop. Allowing me to login to several different patient portals for different doctors is a great benefit, as the app serves as a central location for all the management of my healthcare.
Upon downloading the app, I found it easy to link to both of my patient portals with different doctors. Once you have linked to your patient portals, you are asked to create a 4 digit pin for future app login.
The user interface is very easy to navigate and provides access to schedule appointments, medications, check-in, find appointment, trackers and my records.
From what I have seen so far, I definitely give this app a high rating and thumbs up!! If you rely on your smartphone to help manage your life, why not allow your smartphone to help manage your health!
Retailers are always looking for new ways to engage with the connected consumer, especially in-store where they can push relevant content at the right time and location. With the introduction of beacon technology, offers can be pushed to consumers at different in-store locations while they are shopping. The one obstacle is that the shopper must download the app, turn on Bluetooth, accept location services on the relevant app and opt-in to receive in-store or notifications. While many of the top retailers have already developed mobile apps, they will need to upgrade those apps to integrate the beacon technology.
While Beacon technology is a low cost, high targeting marketing technology, it is still in the trial phase. Many of the top retailers have adopted the technology and are in the pilot phase, with plans for national roll outs in 2015. Stores like Hudson Bay and Timberland are trying out the technology and analyzing its effectiveness.
A recent study from Swirl stated that 73% of shoppers surveyed said they were likely to buy more in-store if they were to receive beacon triggered content and offers.
Shoppers have long been using Amazon’s app in-store to compare pricing. Now with beacon technology, shoppers can use the smartphones to unlock relevant savings in-store, allowing retailers to provide an engaging and relevant shopping experience while retaining loyal customers.
My take…as a shopper, beacon technology excites me. It allows me the ability to opt-in to receive in-store content and offers that I might not be aware of without the beacon triggers. If the offers that are served to me are of interest, I would most likely be persuaded to purchase.
I am confident we will see more data on beacon technology in the months and year to come as more information becomes available from retailers who are piloting the technology.