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April 20, 2020

Using Emojis in Your Social Media Brand Marketing – Yay or Nay?

Emojis have revolutionized the way we communicate. 

They have become a staple of everyday communication, with an estimated 5 billion emojis sent every day through Facebook Messenger alone. Instead of relying on just our words to convey our meaning, we can now employ an emoji to express emotion or completely change the meaning of a message. Adding emojis to the beginning or end of messages supplies your reader with more context and helps them to better understand your meaning.

In the last few years, emojis have advanced in complexity. If you’re only familiar with the basic text emojis like 🙂 or use a small range of emojis, then you need to expand your vocabulary and employ emojis to a greater extent in your marketing. Since great marketing lives or dies by your ability to connect with your audience, it’s hugely important that you speak the same language as them. 

While the “language” of emojis may seem informal or symbolic, it’s by no means less important. In fact, it has been shown that emojis can increase your Facebook likes by over 50% and improve your marketing engagement by over 25%. Here’s how to start using them correctly.

How to Use Emojis in Social Media Brand Marketing Correctly

Did you know that over 92% of online customers use emojis for communication? To those that understand the importance of visual marketing, this comes as no surprise. Humans are hardwired to seek out visual ways of communicating – such as symbols or images. 

In marketing, this tends to play out in the form of not only visual adverts and infographics, but also in emojis to create ideograms, which are pictures that express an idea or thing without using words or sounds to articulate it. It can also be an effective way to infuse personality into your posts, which is one of the most effective social media marketing strategies for businesses in general. 

As there is such an enormous variety of emojis, you can utilise them as ideograms to add new levels of context, emotion, irony, or even ideas to your marketing efforts, as well as helping to draw the customers eyes to something visual and eye catching. 

Using emojis in this way, especially within, say, an email subject line, can help to hook the reader through various techniques. For example, you can also create or enhance information gaps by juxtaposing the emoji and the subject line, or using them for added emphasis. 

However, you want to take steps to make sure your emojis aren’t inappropriate – like Hillary Clinton’s famous gaffe, where she asked young voters to discuss an extremely personal and difficult topic using the inappropriate medium of emojis.

Doing so can make you appear out of touch with your customers and damage your brand substantially. When you consider that literally 90% of new customers will always research a company before buying from them, it really can sink your efforts when engaging new customers or marketing a new promotion.

With this in mind, the first thing you want to understand about using emojis is the context in which they’ll be received. For example, if your topic is serious in nature and has repercussions on people’s lives (such as health) then using silly emojis might come across as insensitive. Similarly, if you’re making an ironic comment that could be misconstrued as serious, using an emoji might help to clarify your meaning.

A good way to do this is to consider what your facial expression would be if you were conveying this message in person, or to imaging what image best encapsulates your main ideas or themes – for example, a tropical island emoji accompanying a holiday tweet or an angry emoji expressing outrage.

Emojis Give Your Marketing a Facelift

Emojis add a great stylistic element to your marketing, while also making it universal. After all, emojis are symbols of human expression or images of, say, tropic beaches, that can equally be understood by someone in China as they can by someone in Spain.

This universality is perhaps central to their appearance. They give your content an instantaneous, widely universally meaning when used correctly. However, you want to make sure you don’t overstuff your content with emojis either, as it can easily lead you to drown out the message you’re intending to get across. There’s a reason influencers are so careful about the techniques they employ.

This is what I call my “Facelift Rule”. 

A good plastic surgeon will take an existing face and make minor adjustments to improve upon, a bad plastic surgeon will change the face entirely so that it’s no longer recognisable. Always think: what single ideogram can I use to make this marketing hook the reader more effectively, or better encapsulate the idea of the marketing in a single image? If there is a single emoji that fits, use that one, and don’t use any others.

Should You Create Your Own Emojis?

With social media use currently being the most popular online activity, there has never been a better opportunity for your company’s social media marketing efforts to go viral. To do this, you’re going to need to successfully capture your audience’s attention, and this can be difficult especially when marketing towards the younger generation. Indeed the biggest marketing challenges businesses face today is figuring out how to appeal to Generation Z shoppers.

A great way to capture your audience’s attention is to create your own emojis or variations on existing emojis that capture various elements of your brand. While this can take a lot more time and effort than just selecting emojis from the existing list, if you manage to create an emoji that is relevant to your brand that resonates with your audience, the payoff will be worth the effort. This is why countless political campaigns, movie releases, and NGO’s all employ this effective technique.

By taking the time to create your own emojis, you create an environment where your audience is more likely to use your content, share it, and promote it on their own. In short, your engagement -provided your emoji resonates- will skyrocket. 

Just like creating the right hashtag, creating the right emoji can see your business potentially enjoying all the fruits of a viral marketing campaign. That’s why it’s worth accounting for the time, effort, and investment to create a new emoji in any digital marketing budget you use. 

Conclusion 

It might seem odd to take emojis so seriously, especially when it comes to marketing, but the results have been proven time and time again. Not only can emojis help to make your brand more relatable and human, but they improve audience engagement and open the doors to potential vitality. 

In short, failing to use emojis can be a major mistake for your brand and marketing strategy as a whole. It will leave your marketing strategy without one of its most important tools – so start using them today!


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Dan Fries is an entrepreneur, investor, and writer who specializes in writing about the future of work and helping bootstrapped entrepreneurs tap into the rapidly growing remote work trend. 

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