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It’s not an overstatement to say that emojis are all over social media these days. It’s almost guaranteed that any popular Instagram post will have at least one emoji in the caption, and many tweets now include 280 characters and an emoji. So the big question for business owners becomes: Is this just something for young millennials to enjoy, or is there way to leverage emojis in our branding?
Greater engagement with emojis
No surprise here, but emojis could be huge for your brand. One big reason is that social media researchers have found a direct link between emojis and user engagement. All things being equal, content with emojis will perform better than content without emojis.
For example, consider a tweet that your company might send out over the Valentine’s Day holiday. You’re much more likely to have someone click on a product link or reply to that tweet if you include a heart emoji. That’s just human nature.
Use cases for emojis
Moreover, emojis are a useful way to show solidarity with particular demographic groups and social causes. For example, for the sake of argument, let’s say that you want to show solidarity with bearded men. Well, you’re in luck, because back in 2017 a new bearded man was released.
Or, let’s say that you are looking to get the word out about a new product promotion. If that’s the case, emojis can play a powerful role in getting the word out and inspiring people to act. For example (again, just for the sake of argument), let’s say that there’s a zombie apocalypse underway and you would like to alert customers about your upcoming “everything must go” zombie apocalypse sale. You can now include a zombie emoji with every tweet that you send out.
Brand identity and emojis
Emojis can also be very powerful for brand identity. For example, huge national brands like Starbucks and Coca-Cola have worked with Twitter to create branded emojis. And, if you watched the Oscars in the past year or so, you probably noticed Oscar emojis being created automatically in your tweets as soon as you used the hashtag #Oscars. (The same thing was true for #SuperBowl)
What’s really amazing is how many different emojis now exist – nearly 2,823 emojis as of January 2019. In case you’re keeping score at home, there are only 26 letters in the alphabet, so there are more than 100 times more emojis than letters! Just consider the possibilities.
And, in fact, many companies have considered the possibilities. Goldman Sachs, normally thought of as a bunch of greedy old bankers, has sent out tweets all in emojis to promote a new research report on millennials. Chevrolet has sent out an emoji press release. Domino’s makes it possible to order pizza with emojis. And educators are working on ways to use emojis to connect with children and early learners.
A warning about emojis for social media newbies
Make no mistake about it, emojis are fun and a bit whimsical (as you no doubt have noticed by now). They can breathe some fresh life and “hipness” into tired old brands, and help new brands stand out in a crowded field.
But just one word of advice before you embrace emojis as a new form of social communication – there are some emojis (like the purple eggplant emoji) that come with some hidden meanings. Let’s just say that if you’re a restaurant in South Philly sending out a tweet about new late night eggplant specials, you might want to be careful.
However, used in moderation, emojis can be very powerful for branding and communication purposes. Just a few years ago, including emojis in “serious” business messages was frowned upon. But now it’s just par for the course: emojis have become about as mainstream as you could possibly imagine.