When it comes to social media, people prefer videos with subtitles. Captions help capture users' attention when they're scrolling through a feed without audio, like when they’re at work, in line, in transit, or on the toilet. If you’re building a professional following and personal brand using videos on LinkedIn, you should add subtitles directly to your video so that you don’t rely on sound to communicate your story.
In this post, I’ll describe how you can quickly add subtitles in English, or another lanuage, to LinkedIn videos using a free online tool called Kapwing.
In August 2017, LinkedIn started supporting video uploads. LinkedIn users can create and share professional video content like customer testimonials, team culture insights, demos, vlogs, or thought leadership with their network.
More recently, LinkedIn businesses can sponsor video ads that appears in the newsfeed and post videos on their LinkedIn company page. Some people like Dennis at Linked Superpowers have built businesses around LinkedIn content strategy.
Why add subtitles?
- Accessibility: Your message will reach people who have hearing impairments or who are watching the video without sound. More than 35,000,000 Americans (13%) reported some degree of hearing trouble. Unlike YouTube, LinkedIn does not have an automatic subtitling solution, meaning you need to embed text directly (called “open captions”) to make your videos more accessible.
- Engagement: Like Facebook and Snap, most mobile users watch videos with the sound turned off. 57% of LinkedIn users browse their feed on a mobile device, and 85% of people on mobile watch social media muted. A study by Instapage showed that, on Facebook, subtitled videos had significantly higher click-through and share rate than videos without subtitles. Embedding text gives the user immediate context as to the video’s topic, adding “thumb-stopping” appeal.
- Clarity: Your viewers are more likely to retain and recall your message if they can hear it and see it. Subtitles compensate for background noise, unfamiliar accents, and words that trail off.
- Reach: About 26% of people use the internet in English across the world. Adding subtitles in other languages can help those from other parts of the world understand your work.
How to add subtitles?
Kapwing’s tools are self-explanatory, so you should be able to go to Kapwing’s subtitle maker and know what to do. If you prefer, there are also several YouTube tutorials about using Kapwing’s Subtitle Maker.
1. Upload video to Kapwing
Open Kapwing’s free Studio. Kapwing is a free, online video editor, so you won’t need to install any software and you can access it from any device. It's free to remove the watermark as long as you sign in.
2. Transcribe and Time the Subtitles
Listen to the video and type out the audio. Then, time the subtitles so they match up with the voice in the video. On Kapwing, you can also import text from an .SRT file. If you use a service like Rev, you can use Kapwing to edit the SRT and burn the caption text directly into the video.
Finally, creators can also auto-generate subtitles using Kapwing’s voice detection AI. Just click the “Auto-generate” button at the bottom of the screen and edit the machine-generated timing and text.
To subtitle your video in another language, click, "Auto-generate" and select the original language. Then check the translate box and select the desired language. Here's a full tutorial on foreign subtitles.
3. Style Subtitle Text
You can embed the subtitles directly into the video, add a semi-opaque background behind the text, or add the subtitles in a rectangle below the video. For LinkedIn, we recommend making your video square or 5:4 so that it all shows up on the home feed. You can use the “Size options” dropdown to adjust the size and fit options.
Kapwing also gives you the option to change the subtitle’s color, font, background, and text size. You can align the text above or below the video.
Note: If you’re a Kapwing Pro subscriber, you can download the SRT file and upload it with the video to LinkedIn instead if you prefer closed captions.
4. Download and upload to LinkedIn
Once you’re happy with the video preview on the left panel, click ‘Create’ to process your subtitled video. Kapwing is a cloud platform, so all of the processing happens remotely. After the video has processed, download the video to share. Publish the mp4 file on LinkedIn by “Sharing” a video from your LinkedIn home feed.
Once your video post uploads, you'll be able to see it with the captions burned in on your LinkedIn Profile.
If you’re a paying Kapwing customer, you can also download the SRT file and upload it to LinkedIn. The LinkedIn platform will then only show subtitles if the viewer has the sound off when they’re browsing the feed. I don't recommend this method because many people will just scroll past your video; the text catches their attention immediately. That's why so many top LinkedIn video influencers like Gary Vee use embedded captions.
To grow a successful LinkedIn presence, you need your users to understand, retain, and share your message. Unlike more mature platforms like YouTube and Facebook, LinkedIn doesn’t have platform-specific tools for subtitling, so if you want to reach all of your users you should embed subtitles directly into the video before publishing.