Nowadays, with the vast amounts of social media videos posted each day across all of the social media platforms, it is not enough just to record a video and then post that video onto social media. You are missing an important factor which is limiting how well your social media videos are performing and how many potential customers you attract through the videos – subtitles. In this article, I discuss what subtitles are, the differences between closed captions and subtitles and the benefits of subtitles for your videos and business.
More than likely you have seen subtitles when watching films, TV, instructional videos as well as a whole range of other video content.
Subtitles are used to provide a text alternative for the speech of a video which includes all spoken dialogue from the speakers within the video content. The subtitles are usually displayed at the bottom of the video and subtitles are very common in films where the subtitles are used to translate the original language of the film into the native language of the film’s viewers. Having said that, subtitles are very common on social media and should always be added to a video in order to maximise the potential of your social media reach.
It is easy to get confused and not understand the differences between closed captions and subtitles as they are very similar.
As mentioned above, subtitles provide an on-screen transcript of all of the speech that happens in a video, commonly used to provide an on-screen translation of the video into another language.
Alternatively, closed captions go one step further, providing a text alternative for all of the speech within the video and also including all relevant audio within the video such as mobile phone ringtones, ambient background noises and any other audio that the video creator deems relevant to the viewer of the video or in this case the reader of the closed captions.
In short, subtitles display just dialogue whereas closed captions display all relevant audio within a video.
According to many reports, 85% of videos on Facebook are watched without sound. This is a huge portion of your videos’ viewers and you will be missing out on so many potential customers to your business if you do not optimise your videos for silent viewing by adding subtitles.
Your potential customers can turn ‘autoplay sound off’ for all videos that they watch so if you do not add subtitles to your videos, you have minimal chance to grab that potential customers’ attention and that growth to your business is lost.
Here are some of the benefits of subtitles to your videos and business:
By adding subtitles to your videos, your videos’ message and ultimately, the products and services that you are promoting in the videos can be consumed more easily. Your viewers will not need to turn their volume up in order to consume the content as the subtitles will provide a text alternative which outlines your videos’ key messages and your products and services.
As seen in this article, adding subtitles to your videos improves the user accessibility as it is no surprise that audibly impaired viewers will benefit from subtitles as they can read along while watching the video content with no sound. In addition, in general, by adding subtitles to your videos, you expand the reach and potential of your video content on social media by not limiting the videos to only viewers who watch with sound on.
Also, adding subtitles removes any chance of your brand and business obtaining a reputation that it is not accessible to everyone such as the audibly impaired.
Another benefit of subtitles is the improved video engagement that you will experience after subtitling your videos. More engagement to your videos means more potential customers to your business.
The social media platforms’ algorithms love when video content is receiving a lot of comments and engagement and will start to show your video content to even more potential customers.
According to a report, PLY Media found that adding subtitles to videos leads to an increase of 40% in the number of views that your video gets. They also found that viewers were 80% more likely to watch a video to its end when subtitles were added; this is especially important as the end of your videos should have a clear call to action, outline the next steps that the viewer of your video should take to check out your business.
When you have watched videos on social media you have probably come across certain technical terminology that you just have no idea what the speaker says and you try to rewind to catch the word again but to no success. You don’t want viewers of your videos having the same problems. By adding subtitles, you can display the technical terminology on screen so that the viewers can see what the terminology is and also how to spell it if they would like to do further digging into the terminology.
In addition to terminology, adding subtitles removes any ambiguity around the names of people and brands mentioned in your videos. Making sure your brand name is clear, whether it is your full name or a company name is especially important as you do not want any uncertainty around what your brand is called or how it is spelt. Otherwise potential customers will not be able to find your business and will not be able to purchase your products and services.
Another one of the important benefits of subtitles is the removal of uncertainty around your videos’ dialogue. Some of the speakers in your videos may have strong accents which could make certain speech hard to understand for your viewers but adding subtitles removes this possibility. By adding the text alternative at the bottom of your videos, any speech in thick accents or colloquialisms (a word or phrase that is not formal and is used in ordinary conversation) will be easier to understand for your viewers.
Further expanding the potential reach of your videos, some viewers will be in environments where it is not possible for them to turn up the volume so they have to watch the video in silence.
Some examples of sound-sensitive environments may be libraries, quiet zones on trains and offices. As your video now has subtitles, this is not an issue for you as the viewer can read the subtitles and can still consume the video’s content.
A When you can, you should always produce subtitles in multiple languages so that people from all around the world can watch your videos. Think about where you would like most of your video’s viewers to watch from so that you can create subtitles in their native language. By creating the subtitle transcription first in English, the subtitles will be able to be translated much more easily and you can then add the alternate language subtitles to your videos.
Replacing auto generated captions is another one of the brilliant benefits of subtitles for your videos. As you have probably experienced, the auto generated subtitles are commonly incorrect and sometimes illegible; this is a common problem when using YouTube’s auto generated subtitles. Using your own subtitles removes all of these problems by providing accurate subtitles that do not lead to more confusion like the auto generated captions would.
It can be hard to create video content for social media and write articles for your website at the same time.
This is where subtitles can actually help you to create text based content for your website. By using the transcription of the subtitles, you can extract certain parts of the video’s speech and recreate that content for a website article. You could even copy the transcription straight onto your website but I would recommend rewriting the transcriptions’ tone as your social media audience is likely to be different to those who read your blogs.
Finally, adding subtitles to your videos will make your videos stand out on social media. Not everyone adds subtitles to their videos and most likely, not all of your competitors add subtitles to their videos either. This gives you a great opportunity and strategy to make your social media videos stand out from the rest and show potential customers that you are spending more time and effort on your social media videos than your competitors by adding subtitles.
Rounding up, hopefully the article has been helpful by giving you what subtitles are, the differences between subtitles and closed captions and most importantly, the benefits of subtitles. As always, I am here to discuss any questions related to the benefits of subtitles or any video editing questions in general you may have, just get in touch and I will be more than happy to help.
Now that you know the benefits of subtitles, you want to know how to add subtitles to your videos. By working with a video editor who provides professional and accurate subtitles, you do not have to spend time and effort working out how to subtitle your video nor time worrying if the subtitles are accurate – I can take care of this for you. I offer subtitling and closed captioning services to my clients for their video content, including social media videos.
I would love to discuss what video content you have and how my subtitling services can benefit your social media content and ultimately your business.
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