How Giselle Ugarte Grew Her TikTok to 175K+ By Doubling Down on Engagement

Giselle Ugarte is a prolific creator, coach, and founder. In our deep dive, she shares why captions are essential if you want to make accessible - and engaging - content.

by
Dwight Churchill
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October 6, 2022
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7
Min Read
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Giselle Ugarte is a content creator, Online Performance Coach™, and the Founder & CEO of Action-Forward Communication. She helps busy entrepreneurs unlock major growth through social media strategy, influencer marketing, and anything and everything short-form video. 

We sat down with Giselle to learn why the Captions app has been a game-changer for both her and her clients. Our conversation dives into topics like: 

  1. Why captions are essential if you want to make accessible content
  2. How Captions saves significant time and effort for creators
  3. The link between engagement rates and monetization
“The Captions app has made things really easy — not just for me, but also for my clients. It’s a no-brainer as to why you should incorporate this into your flow.” 

3 Reasons Why Captioning Is Essential for Growth

Even before she discovered Captions, Giselle was and continues to be a major proponent of captioning all of your videos — for three key reasons. 

1. People Scroll with Their Volume Off

She points out how common it is for users to impulsively pick up their phones and browse social media whenever they have a free moment — even if they’re not really supposed to. 

We see people (or maybe we are these people) scrolling in line at the grocery store, on public transit, during class or meetings, and in countless other situations. And we have to do so subtly, which means having our volume turned off or way down low. 

You could also just be multitasking, like checking out your phone while watching a movie or FaceTiming someone in the background. 

In all these scenarios, legible captions are a must-have to ensure every user can still watch and enjoy your video — not just scroll past it. 

2. Captions Create Accessible Content

Giselle tells us, “I’ve been working with people with special needs my whole life. So I also consider it from the standpoint of: How do we make content more approachable for everybody?” 

Every type of person uses social media and comes across your content. Period. 

So, you want your videos to be accessible for: 

  • People with sensory differences — Namely folks who are deaf or hard of hearing
  • People with attention differences — Giselle herself has ADHD, so she’s more easily distracted and is a visual learner; captions help her grasp content from a different angle
  • People whose first language isn’t English — Giselle grew up speaking two languages, so captions also provide a kind of sensory assistance to process the language

3. Making It Easy to Watch – All the Way Through

Both of these points come down to one rule of thumb for content creation: If you want what you share to be successful, make it as easy to watch all the way through as possible — for as many kinds of viewers as possible. 

This is one of Giselle’s top priorities when consulting clients on social media. 

“I want people to watch your content for longer and to actually take something away from it. We can make it as easy as possible for them to feel like they gained, learned, and felt something.”

That means designing your content so users can consume it entirely (as it was meant to be) by engaging more of their senses. Don't just rely on audio when the visuals are the other 50% of what makes video so popular. 

"Accessibility through captions is important yet taken for granted. If some people see content with no captions, they have to keep scrolling. Period." 
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Using Captions Saves Creators Precious Time & Effort

Before social media was her bread and butter, Giselle came from a production background. She would apply her legit editing skills to her TikToks, Instagram Reels, etc. 

Everything got done on a desktop app. “I was manually putting in every single word. Sometimes highlighting them in different colors or adding little emojis or pictures or whatever it’d take to keep everything going.” 

All of this meant: “When I was uploading captions manually — I mean, it would take hours.” 

Getting your video captions to read accurately, look professional, and appear and disappear in sync with your voice while still being visually appealing — it's a time-consuming, drawn-out, and back-and-forth process for creators. 

And, if one small detail was out of place, Giselle would have to start all over again to maintain the flow of the whole video. It got to a point where she had to start outsourcing to other editors, but that’s another investment of time, effort, and now money. 

How Captions Simplifies the Editing Process

Since finding Captions, Giselle has been stoked to have an app that simplifies the basic (but draining) editing process for both her and her clients. 

"It's something people are always asking me about. I wanted a solution where I could just say, 'Here's something that'll make your life a little bit easier,' and go from there." 

These days, the Captions app is that “something.” It can: 

  1. Automatically clip & splice footage — Just feed your video to the app. It’ll do the work of cutting out awkward pauses, times you say “um,” and other dead footage. 
  2. Caption quickly and accurately — The app automatically transcribes your language and syncs its transitions to follow your speech in the footage. Users repeatedly say it’s more accurate than TikTok; Giselle points out it’s even better than Siri. 
  3. Customize for visual engagement — You get far more typeface, font color, and creative placement, sizing, or sticker-text options on Captions than with basic apps (i.e., TikTok's in-app editor). It keeps things, again, stimulating for all of your viewers' senses. 

“It’s bananas to me,” Giselle says. “You’re able to get captions and words and content prepared and ready to go in a few seconds or a few minutes.” 

“I aim to make short-form video easy for my clients and help them reach as many people as possible. That’s one reason why I definitely love Captions.” 

More Engaging Videos = More Followers & Audience Growth

Giselle is a big fan of how Captions automatically animates your captions to pop up and disappear as you speak. 

It’s far more effective than just putting whole paragraphs and blocks of text on a user’s screen. 

After all, those caption transitions can keep viewers following along.

You hold their attention better, and things are easier to understand — whether you use appearing-and-disappearing text or highlight every word as it goes. As Giselle explains, “It’s one more pattern interruption that gets someone to listen for longer.” 

Like vibrant (but still easily readable) font styles and colors, this is just one way to keep viewers visually engaged with your content from start to finish. 

Driving Growth with the Algorithm In Mind

Ultimately, if your videos drive more user engagement, that leads to two benefits: 

  1. Building a relationship with your followers — The longer someone watches your videos, the more you generate trust — genuine emotional reactions. Even if you hate a creator, if you watch their videos, you build a relationship (albeit negative) with them. 
  2. Re-enforcing the algorithm — With short-form platforms, we see that the more time you spend on someone's content, the more their videos will be recommended to you — even if you don't follow them. 

Of course, being pushed by the TikTok or IG algorithm is a positive for: 

  • Generally converting more viewers into followers
  • Generating revenue through methods like the TikTok Creator Fund
  • Leading viewers to your business to become potential customers/clients
  • Showing your channel is fit for influencer deals, successful sponsored content, etc. 
“Having captions and creating for different learning abilities — it’s all going to help you keep people’s attention in the long run.” 
by
Dwight Churchill
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