Why emojis may be more sophisticated than you think
The internet freaked out last Friday when Apple announced its top 10 mostly widely used emojis in the U.S. Despite my tween daughter’s inexplicable fondness for the poop emoji, the “Face With Tears of Joy” won by a landslide. Apple slipped the big reveal into its “Differential Privacy” report detailing how it ethically collects consumer data. Yeah, yeah, on to the good stuff – emojis. Whether we’re reacting to Apple’s thrilling top 10 list or to its recent addition of 70+ new emoji characters (I can now express myself with a teeny green sauropod?!), it’s clear that Americans plus emojis equals “Face With Heart Eyes.” But, surely your brand shouldn’t be dropping emojis in social posts. Or should it?
People use emojis… like, a lot of people
To be precise, 92 percent of people are using emojis online as a form of expression, and it’s not just the phone-obsessed Gen Zers. If you picture the ol’ pie chart, that’s just one wimpy sliver of uneaten emoji pie. Is that who you want your brand to be? The week-old slice of pie that no one will touch? In all seriousness, we marketers talk a lot about speaking to consumers like they are real people, not some rigid target demographic robot we have built based on our research. That goes for B2B and B2C alike. If you want to connect with people, talk like a person. Emojis aren’t for everyone but they can help a brand:
- Establish human connection
- Appear more relatable and/or endearing
- Amplify a message’s emotional value
- Offer quick, endearing reactions to others’ posts
Emojis get you noticed – actually
We get it, the touchy-feely marketing approach is still a little hard to embrace, especially in the B2B world. Maybe these numbers will help. According to Social Media Today, using emojis in Twitter posts boosts engagement by 25.4 percent, while Facebook emoji usage more than doubles the amount of likes a posts receives and increases shares and comments by a third. Is your brand on Instagram? You’ll be interested in hearing that posts with emojis show an average increase in absolute interactions of 43 percent. Using emojis in email subject lines can even help boost your open rates.
Language evolves, and you don’t wanna be left behind
Believe it or not, this isn’t the first time “Face With Tears of Joy” made it into the headlines. In 2015, the laughing/crying emoji was actually named Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year. Why? Because that one little character “best reflected the ethos, mood, and preoccupations of 2015.” Better, according to a dictionary, than any other word. Now, before the grammar purists get all up in arms, consider this: the technology boom has altered pretty much every arena that we work and play in. It’s inevitably going to affect language, too. The internet has birthed a whole new lexicon of slang and terminology, and emojis are a part of that discourse. If your brand is going to partake in online conversations, it’s a good idea to be fluent in the languages spoken online.
Emoji best practices (basically stay clear of eggplants)
Feeling ready to jump on that big yellow, smiley bandwagon and join the ranks of brands like Domino's that are already killing it with their emoji game? Not so fast, tiger. Just make sure you’re clear on a few emoji basics:
- Check for hidden meanings – That’s right, some emojis have sexual or otherwise inappropriate connotations. For instance, the eggplant apparently refers to male genitalia (feeling generous, lads?).
- Use them like punctuation – As in, place them at the end of your post, never in the middle of a sentence or as a replacement for a word.
- Don’t use too many – Like hashtags, one or two is enough. Don’t annoy your audience with a slew of emojis.
- Refrain from branded emojis – Let’s face it. You’re not Pepsi. You’re you, and that’s awesome. So you don't need the expense and hassle of creating custom emojis. Work with what exists.
Still feeling squeamish about using emojis? The truth is, they may not be right for your brand. If you need help assessing your brand’s social strategy or messaging platform, we’d be happy to take a look… winky face.
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