Using emojis in social media marketing: a guide
The 17th of July is World Emoji Day. That's right - they have their own day.
Research shows that at least 92% of the public use them, and yet some brands are still reluctant to use them on social media.
While we're firm believers that the aubergine emoji should never see the light of day on a company Twitter page (even if you're a greengrocer, just avoid it!), a well-used emoji can help engage with the public and convey a message in a way that just words can't.
And there is research to back it up: Larry Kim reported a 25% increase in engagement in an A/B test using emojis on Twitter. Similarly, research by Quintly found that there is a 15% higher interaction rate on Instagram for posts that use at least one emoji.
If you're considering using emojis, it's important to make sure it works with your brand's tone of voice. If your company has a serious focus then it is worth considering exactly when you use emojis: for example a funeral company may use the heart emoji to discuss the death of a loved one, if used carefully, but it would depend on your audience, the tone of the message and what you're hoping to achieve.
That doesn't mean that you can only use emojis for lighthearted brands: we work with charity brand Worldwide Cancer Research and consider emojis on a case by case basis, with a green heart (to match the brand colour), a microscope (to showcase the research), and a runner (to celebrate fundraisers) the most used.
Looking to use emojis for the first time in your marketing? Here are five things to consider.
1: Make sure you know what emojis mean. We don't just mean the aubergine emoji - people have mistaken the 'praying hands' emoji for a high five. If in doubt, check Emojipedia.
2: Don't go over the top. Similarly to hashtags, a few emoji go a long way. One or two is best, a post with over five emojis is overkill. Take Chevrolet's emoji press release for example.
3: Only use an emoji if it makes sense. There is no point throwing in the 'monkey covering eyes' emoji in a serious post about mortgages, with no context.
4: Emoji = good. Emoticon = bad. Emoji are the little colourful characters - the word literally translates from Japanese as 'picture character'. Emoticons are the old school :) version from back in the day of the Nokia 3410. Some channels and platforms (depending on device) may automatically update your emoticon into an emoji, but it's not worth the risk when the emoji functionality is so easy!
5: You can create your own emoji. It is possible to create your own emoji for Twitter, and something that brands have done for various campaigns. It has been used for Star Wars, Ikea (meatball emoji, anyone?) and by WWF as part of its #EndangeredEmoji campaign to raise awareness and funds for endangered animals.
Now you're ready to use emojis in your own marketing - have fun!