Alt Text on Instagram: Algorithm Hacks for IG Growth

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Have you heard of alt text on Instagram? Well, it’s important for you to know about alt text for two reasons. First, it helps you work with the Instagram algorithm and SEO. Second, it helps people who have visual impairments.

Here’s everything you need to know about alt text and how it can help you work with (not against) the Instagram algorithm. Plus, one of my favorite Instagram Stories strategies that can help you improve your Instagram engagement. 

What is Alt Text?

 Also called “alt tags,” alt text is the written copy that appears in place of an image. In reality, almost everything you see on the Internet has alt texts. Alt text is most commonly used to help screen-reading tools describe images to visually impaired people. But alt text can also appear in place in an image if a web page fails to fully load. Plus, it can improve your content SEO. 

What to Write for Alt Text?

You might be asking yourself, “Sue how do I know if I’m writing the ‘right’ kind of alt text.” That’s a great question. Here’s the deal, your alt text should describe the image in detail. Close your eyes and imagine how you would explain the image to someone else.

Let’s use this an Instagram post, for example. If I were writing the alt text it would say, “Sue B Zimmerman is wearing a purple jacket and white rimmed sunglasses while holding a wood sign above her head that says girlboss.”

Sue B Zimmerman is wearing a purple sweatshirt and holding a wood sign above her head that says #girlboss.

 How to Add Alt Text

Now, how do you add alt text to your Instagram posts? There are two ways to add alt text.

#1 Alt Text on an Instagram Post

  • If you’re adding a new Instagram post, tap on “advanced settings” at the bottom of your Instagram post. 

Sue B Zimmerman's Instagram post settings with the blue toggle turned on for her Instagram Expert profile.


  • Then, tap on “write alt text.” 

Sue B Zimmerman's Instagram advanced settings screen.

  • Finally, write your alt text. Then tap on “done” to finish uploading your post. 

Sue B Zimmerman's Instagram post draft.

#2 Alt Text on Older Instagram Posts

 Alt text isn’t only for new Instagram posts. Here’s how to add alt text to older Instagram content.

  • First, tap on the three dots. Then, tap on “edit.” 

Sue B Zimmerman's Instagram post grayed out with the advanced settings menu popped up at the bottom.

  • Next, on the right hand side of your photo, tap “edit alt text.” 

Sue B Zimmerman's Instagram post with the drafted text and edit alt text options.

  • Finally, once you’ve added your alt text, tap on “done.” 

 Alt Text Best Practices

Ready to add alt text to your Instagram posts? I hope so! 

Alt text is an opportunity that a lot of people don’t know about yet. Not only will it make your content more inclusive, which is a big win for everyone, but it can help you to reach more people.

At the end of the day, you never know who your content might reach. Adding alt text is a way of doing your small part to make your content accessible, no matter who happens to scroll through and see it.

Instagram Stories Best Practice: Add Text on Videos 

Now, here’s that Instagram Stories tip I promised you. If you want to improve engagement on your Instagram Stories, add text on all of your videos. A lot of people watch Instagram Stories on mute, so text can help them to better understand the purpose of your content. 

Is the audio on your Instagram Story too good to miss? Add a gif sticker that says “sound on.” 

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