When they first appeared in the late 90s, emojis gave us a new way to express ourselves virtually and convey emotion in the words we type. Today, emojis are a cultural phenomenon that can help brands better connect with customers. They humanize your brand and give it personality. They make social media posts more noticeable and exciting. And they add context to your content.
Before you add emojis to your marketing strategy, it’s important you know how to use them in a professional way. Used appropriately, emojis can take your copy to the next level.
In honor of World Emoji Day (July 17) here are a few tips for bringing emojis out of texting and into your digital marketing.
Tip #1: Learn the Basics of Emojis
To begin, it’s important to understand what emojis are and where they came from. Emojis as we currently know them became popular with the development of smartphones and increased levels of texting. Inspired by the original keyboard emoticons — “;)” and “:(“ — emojis became a popular way to fill in the physical and emotional cues missed when not communicating face-to-face.
With the continued growth of social media in the early 2010s, emojis developed into a separate keyboard and grew in both design and variety. The wild popularity of emojis caught the attention of early social media users and influencers and eventually became an element of everyday communication. It would be safe to assume everyone with a smartphone has used an emoji at some point in their lives.
Certain emojis have developed different connotations over time and should be avoided when used in a professional setting. If you are unsure about what an emoji is or if it could have a double meaning, don’t even consider putting it in your copy. As a beginner, it’s best to stick with easy to understand emojis like a shape (❤️), an emotion (😄) or an object (🍕). There is no mistaking these emojis for something else!
Tip #2: Know When and How to Use Emojis
Emojis are meant to complement a message and should be an extension of your normal expressions. It’s important to understand that emojis are never meant to be the foundation of your social media copy. Although they are fun, you don’t want your copy to be nothing but emojis.
Using too many emojis at once can cause confusion and distract your audience from the message you’re trying to convey. Unless you have a great deal of experience in using emojis successfully, stick to minimal use. Think of emojis as the sprinkles on the cupcake of copy — a little bit makes the cupcake better, but too much can make it hard to enjoy.
When starting out, it’s best to place emojis at the beginning or end of a sentence or paragraph, or next to the exact word you want to visualize or highlight.
Some of the most effective ways of incorporating emojis into your social media copy include:
🌟 Using emojis in the body of posts to separate a long string of text and increase readability
🌟 Asking for a reaction from your audience (👍 or 👎)
🌟 Making an interactive contest or asking followers to comment on your post with an emoji
🌟 Replacing standard bullet points with emojis (like we did here!)
Tip #3: Stick with Emojis that Align with Your Brand
When using emojis in your social media copy it’s important to consider your brand image as well as your target audience. Although some emojis are neutral and can work with almost any niche, others are only suitable for certain types of businesses. It wouldn’t make sense for a bakery owner to use a ball of yarn emoji (🧶) when something like a cookie (🍪) would work better. Or maybe a business has green and yellow brand colors — using those color emojis, 💚✅🌟📒, is an easy way to incorporate branding into the copy.
If you see a particular emoji rise in popularity, don’t rush to put it in your copy. If an emoji doesn’t fit your brand image, just skip the trend. Your audience will likely appreciate you sticking to emoji basics. Most social media posts are skimmed. Readers don’t want to be confused by the inclusion of an off-brand, misleading or simply wrong emoji.
Tip #4: Use Emojis Outside of Social Media
Emojis are most common on social media, but when used correctly they can elevate other types of copy as well.
Email messaging can benefit from the use of emojis, especially subject lines and headlines. These are the first areas of an email a customer will read so a brightly colored image instead of text will help draw the eye to the message and increase open rates.
If you were to look in your personal inbox, it’s likely that emails you subscribe to have emojis in their subject lines. Whether it’s a 🌞 to highlight a summer sale or a 🎟 to promote an upcoming event, emojis are an effective way to take your email messaging to the next level.
Another common use for emojis is social media advertising. Whether on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, or Twitter, ads are a great way to generate content for potential customers. Most ads on social media are native, meaning they blend in with the normal content you subscribe to/follow/like. This means you have to get creative and make your ad stand out from the clutter. This is where emojis come into the picture. By starting your copy with eye-catching emojis and headlines like “📣 Looking to Sustainably Scale Your Business? Join this Exclusive Coaching Opportunity!” and including a bright image/graphic, you’ll see valuable ROIs on your advertising investments.