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How to Automatically Add Subtitles to Your Instagram Posts

Your Instagram profile should be an inclusive space and one where your community can come together without barriers.

And one of the best ways to create an inclusive community is to add captions to your Instagram Stories and videos.

We chatted with Daniel Hill, Content Creator at DanielHillMedia, about how he adds closed captioning to his posts and his favorite Instagram hack to doing it:

Why Subtitled Instagram Content is So Important 

Have you ever scrolled through Instagram and Instagram Stories wanting to watch a video or a story, but were in a public place and didn’t have headphones?

Imagine if that video had easy-to-read subtitles accompanying the video — it suddenly becomes easier to stop, read and actually watch the video.

Not only are subtitles important for people who are watching without sound, but it’s also incredibly helpful for those with hearing difficulties.

According to the World Health Organization, over 5% of the world’s population — 466 million people — have disabling hearing loss (432 million adults and 34 million children).

And as a brand or creator on Instagram, your Instagram content should be as inclusive as possible, and video and Instagram Stories captioning could help achieve that.

Instagram has demonstrated the importance of video caption, notably through Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri’s IGTV posts.

However, there hasn’t been any formal announcement on captioning features, or how to automatically add captions to your post.

By comparison, YouTube has the ability to add closed captioning to any videos uploaded to the platform — so it’s clear there’s a social demand for the feature!

But why is this so important? 

Back in 2017, Zach King spoke at Social Media Marketing World, explaining that based on the work his team did, they estimated about 50% of viewers watched their videos with the sound off.

To address this problem, his team tried to make their videos appeal to viewers whether they had the sound on or off.

Fast forward to today, and as much as 85% of Facebook video views happen with the sound off, which means there’s a demand across all platforms to have a better captioning solution.

So how do you get auto-captioning within Instagram? Here’s the answer — the Instagram Threads app! 

What is Instagram Threads? 

Instead of listening back to your Instagram Stories and typing out captions with the text tool, save yourself time (and the hassle!) and download Threads. 

Threads launched in October 2019 and was Instagram’s extension of the Close Friends feature.

Using Instagram’s Close Friends app to create video captioning

Ultimately, it’s a camera and messaging app designed for keeping up with close friends on Instagram.

When Threads was launched, Instagram described it as a way “for your smaller circle of friends… to stay more connected throughout the day, so you can communicate what you’re doing and how you’re feeling through photos and videos.”

Instagram went on to explain, “You are in control of who can reach you on Threads, and you can customize the experience around the people who matter most.”

And while the hype around Threads slowly died down, Instagram continued to make improvements to the app — including a tool to add subtitles or auto-captioning!

Creating Inclusive Content for Your Audience

Note: This is currently only available in the U.S. There is no information from Instagram on a global release. Watch this space!

How to Use the Instagram Threads App to Automatically Add Captions to Your Videos 

Threads is a great way to help you save time while also creating inclusive content.

Follow these easy steps to add captions to your Instagram Stories.

Step #1:  Install “Threads from Instagram”.

Using Instagram’s Close Friends app to create video captioning

Step #2: Open the app. When you open Video Notes, click “Try it” to see it in action.

Creating Inclusive Content for Your Audience

Step #3: Record a video while you talk, then wait a few seconds for the auto-captioning to appear.


TIP: You can also upload an existing video from your camera roll — Threads will still generate captions from your pre-recorded video!

Step #5: Share it with your Close Friends directly from Threads, or push the download button to save it to your phone.

You can upload and share your Threads video just like any other video to both your Instagram Stories and your feed!

Don’t forget that you can schedule your Instagram Stories with Later! Just upload your subtitled videos to the Later Media Library, select when you want them to go live on your profile, and Later will do the rest!

Although subtitling your posts does take an extra few steps, it’s most definitely worth it.

You’re giving your viewers an alternative way to consume your content and you’ll see higher engagement for it!

Hopefully, Instagram will roll out this to the main Instagram app soon. Watch this space!


Written By

Daniel Hill

Daniel Hill is the host of The Instagram Stories, a daily Instagram podcast where he shares news, strategy, and actionable tips. Daniel enjoys public speaking about Instagram and scheduled to speak at the upcoming Social Media Strategies Summit on the topic “Surviving Instagram Algorithm Changes to Boost Performance”.

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