Setting up captions for videos for social media: YouTube and Facebook

Working for Dig Inclusion, part of my role has involved adding captions and transcripts to videos and showing organisations how to do so themselves. In my spare time I’m also on the board of Covenham Plough Community Hub (CPCH), a not for profit community benefit society wanting to buy our village pub and reopen as a community pub.

I’ve been bowled over by the help and support there is to volunteer organisations like CPCH. Most of the society’s I come across are placing their community and people at the very centre of their business plans. Accessibility and inclusion are often at the heart of these pledges, with buildings being renovated with accessibility for people with disabilities and an ageing population but there’s a huge uphill struggle before you even get to renovation and that involves raising funds to buy a suitable building.

This is where we’re at: about to launch shares to allow us to buy The Plough.

Social media plays a huge part in getting messages out to local people about our campaign and so it makes sense if you are wanting to create an inclusive business for your community that your marketing is also inclusive.

Facebook, Instagram and Twitter all have built in functions to allow you to make images accessible to people with sight loss and is covered in our article photography on social media.

Videos however are hugely important in campaigns like Crowdfunding and across social media for getting community messages across. In a webinar to community groups, Phil Geraghty from Crowdfunding emphasised the importance of videos in telling a story and raising awareness for a cause, and as Crowdfunding has raised over £65 million, £12 million of which is for community projects, we should be listening to his advice.

In 2016 it was reported that 85% of videos on Facebook were watched with the sound off. People are watching videos on their phones, in public, in crowded places and of course this includes people with hearing loss. Making a video accessible is important not just for people with disabilities but for everyone who may see your video.

Our article what makes a video accessible describes all the options available. As a minimum though you want to aim for captions and a transcript. I want to give you step by step instructions to help you add the captions and transcripts so other community projects and small organisations can make their content accessible. You don’t need to use any of your limited funds for this, just your time.

If you are going to be using a video on your Crowdfunding page and website it makes sense to use YouTube. It’s free, has all the built in tools and can easily be embedded on other marketing platforms. Facebook however has best results when you upload your video into their platform as opposed to embedding it, we’ll show you how to do this quickly and easily with the captions you create firstly in YouTube.


  1. Start by opening YouTube and uploading your video. At this first stage I mark the video settings as private until I have finished editing and I am ready to publish.
  2. Under the Translations tab, set the original language
  3. On the advanced settings amend how to include the category, the video language, and add the caption certification, typically this would be “never aired on US television”.
  4. Save the changes and select the video URL. This brings up your video and a button to edit video. Select the edit video button.
  5. This brings up the elements you can edit. You can amend the title here if you wish and the description, as well as add tags. When the captions are completed I recommend using the text for this within the description as a transcript of the video for anyone wanting to know whats being said without watching the video.
    • Navigate to the advanced tab
    • For subtitles focus on the grey button ‘English by YouTube (automatic)
    • Select the button

  6. Then ‘Edit on Classic Studio’ option
  7. This is where YouTube has best guessed the words and timing. Via the edit button, you can listen to the video and correct the words where errors have been made. The timing is also sometimes incorrect, or sentences finish at the wrong time for the screen; you can adjust all of that in this window. This is time consuming and can be frustrating. Do not rush this part.
    • You can amend the text in each individual box and also the timing.
    • As you can see things like the number do not have a currency value next to them, and The Plough is spelt “the plow” – Things like this are why it’s so important to edit the automatic captions for accuracy.
    • Sentences also start in one box and end in another, I tidy these up so a full start to finish sentence is in each section.

  8. Once the wording is correct often the timing is synced incorrectly. In the picture below the man is saying “We will be putting in a shop” but the previous captions of “and with enough funds we can renovate it inside and out” are showing instead.
  9. Clicking the time box allows you to edit the time manually
  10. You can also drag the line breaks where the red line is showing
  11. You can also add gaps this way between captions appearing on screen
  12. At times you will think YouTube is drunk…although it’s more than likely your sound quality is poor so if at all possible check with your peers to see if they can understand what’s being said and consider rerecording this part of your video if necessary. Auto captions reads ” to meet new friends they had your classic homemade pork broth when you a beer girl”
  13. Once your captions are done, chances are YouTube will also have the automatic captions published as well
    • Select them until Title and description, then hit un-publish to ensure only the correct ones you’ve added are played
  14. On the transcription screen you can also select Actions button and download the subtitles as a variety of file types. You need the SRT. file for Facebook, allowing you to upload the video there and then add the captions with timing directly saving you time from editing the video in each platform.
  15. Finally, head back to your video description and add all of the text into the description plus anything else you wish to include. The transcript helps anyone who doesn’t want to watch the video but still know what is discussed.


  1. Upload a video in the same way you would a photo. Add a title, description and tags. I copy these from YouTube.
  2. You can upload the SRT. file you downloaded from YouTube, however Facebook does have a specific file name format you must follow. In England the file must be:
    • So rename the file before you try to upload, it will give you an error message if you forget.

It really is as simple as that, don’t be tempted to use the auto captions because as you’ve seen it can cause some embarrassing typos and to create a professional video that can reach all the people in your community is invaluable.

To see the full promotional video head over to YouTube