Let’s start with a few simple questions and break down the reason, effectiveness, relevance, and dominance of emoji usage in our daily digital communications today.
- Why do we use emojis?
- The second question: Who on earth designed emojis?
- Third question: What are the effects of emojis on the recipients when we use them either in our writings or social media posts?
Just a couple of minutes ago, I was scrolling mindlessly through my Twitter feed and saw a news piece that piqued my interest.
Accordingly, a police officer posted an irrefutably insensitive comment about BLMs (presumably from the President of the United States, supporting him) and he ended the social media comment with a smiley emoji. Like this one – 😁.
The description for this emoji is ‘grinning face with smiley eyes’. It could be euphemism, I had no idea.
We can assume that the officer was:
- A racist
- Half-joking Half-not
- Thinks he was being a smartass
But still, it caught fire and people came in swinging from all angles. It was wild.
What is an Emoji and Why we Use it
Personally, I use emojis a lot because words without emojis can sometimes come off differently on the other end.
For example, if I texted my siblings with ‘You’re such an ass 😜’, it’s a joke. Without the emoji, it sounds like I was looking for a fight. #lol
An emoji is a modern-day shorthand and useful communication tool of the 21st century.
Most of us can’t live without it.
Sometimes, I find people sending gifs or even whatchamacallit downloadable descriptive graphics without typing a single word on Whatsapp.
On Instagram, I save time by simply inserting 💓💖💕💝 to tell the Instagram poster how much I loved his/her post.
Emojis has its own personality.
“Half of all comments and captions on Instagram contain an emoji. Twitter posts get more engagement when it has an emoji in it.”– Sprout Social
Emojis are often used to either lighten the mood, indicate sarcasm, soften the blow to a harsh comment, showcase excitement, joy, love, happiness, and to express ourselves when we don’t have the words for it.
There are many other ways people use emojis other than to annoy their siblings and friends, of course.
Brands are Using Emojis too
More brands are hopping onto the emoji bandwagon, as advised by most social media marketing consultants and marketing mavericks because it is more personalized.
Instead of appearing robotic and all high-and-mighty, the usage of emojis and emoticons on social media increases engagement rates by approximately 25% to 33% depending on the social media platform.
It strips off a layer of pretentiousness from the post and encourages others to be themselves.
Apps use push notifications, and increasingly in emails as well, have also started using emojis in their messages and emails. Push notifications with emojis generate 9% more open rates than those without.
Chew on that.
Adding Personality to your Messages and Emails with Emojis
The basic idea of emoji marketing is to humanize your brand. It adds that much-needed extra personality and relatability to your company’s image.
Admittedly, emojis (except for when you’re texting your mom that ‘rolling eyes’ emoji 😏🙄) will not replace the powerful copy. But the two can work together.
An important thing to note before you start flooding your tweets and Facebook posts with emojis is to understand your audience. Study them. Check out their profiles and read THEIR posts. Find out who they’re liking and engaging with.
Your audience demographic determines how many emojis you should use in one article, blog, tweet, or post.
If you’re flooding your posts with emojis on a professional site like LinkedIn or if your main target audience consists of mostly doctors and engineers, you might want to have a rethink (or two…or three).
Suffice to say, if you’re merely replying or responding to a comment on your social media post, it’s perfectly fine (in my personal opinion, anyway) to use emojis as you see fit, as long as it sticks the landing.
Just do it sparingly and after much thought and contemplation.
Emojis (because of its size) can be confusing too. A smirk can be read as a small smile (and vice versa), and a laughing face can come off as offensive to some people. It’s the Internet, folks.
So, read more about the meanings of emojis here before you embark on this emoji-journey.
Should Companies Use Emojis in Ads too?
If you asked me this 10 years ago, the answer would have been a big, fat ‘NO’. The advertising world simply cannot imagine Pizza Hut or Nike putting out ads in traditional or online mediums with emojis in them. It questions their seriousness and credibility.
But the landscape has changed.
Using emojis in paid advertising campaigns would actually increase your chances of success. Strange but true.
If you’ve already started using emojis in your social media marketing and app notifications, by all means, do it. It’s already there in your organic messages and fits in with your brand voice.
Today, people are annoyed by ads. An emoji now and then softens the image and makes it more authentic.
“We know that people process visuals 60,000 times faster than plain text, and emojis are a great way to tap into that image power in your social posts, where space is at a premium.”– Larry Kim, WordStream
Putting Human Emotions in the Right Place at the Right Time
Words can be lifeless without the help of visuals, audio, and many other aspects relevant to advertising and content development.
According to studies, visual cues in digital communications should be used.
Even the science guys agree that something lights up in a person’s brain when they see a human face…even if its an emoticon, a piece of non-literal and non-verbal information. It changes the mood and frame of mind of that person.
Perhaps, it has to do with how easy it is to relate to a message when an emoji is used in either content or ad form. According to a survey by Spin Sucks, 4/10 marketers are already consistently using emojis in their content marketing and advertising campaigns. It generates 33% higher results.
Have a look at the Top 20 Emojis for Digital Marketing for Facebook Ads.
Using emojis in emails and push notification of apps is no longer something only greenhorns do. Tests have been conducted over and over again and the results tell us that the ones with emojis had 28% increase in retention rate.
In the nutshell…
Emojis are very personal and fun. They had a bad rap (no thanks to a flop of a movie of the same name) because some people abuse it.
As long as we use them when relevant and it is consistent with the branding and image of the company, by all means, use it. Especially in comments and conversations.
If you’re not yet convinced, think about this.
Why do you think Facebook introduced emoji reactions? Why do you think Linkedin followed suit? Twitter and Instagram also kept their heart emojis to indicate a like/favorite.
Because emojis are more effective in communicating a human emotion in this digital world. And yes, each emoji reaction is taken into account by their algorithms.
So, emoji away! 🚀😀🔥🌟
Note: Featured Image Photo by Tim Mossholder from Pexels