On Tuesday, millions of social media users shared emojis to celebrate #WorldEmojiDay. Every year emojis are becoming more popular and used more each day, with over 60 million sent solely through Facebook every day. But how did they become such an important part of how we communicate? And what does this mean for your social media strategies? Here’s what you need to know.
What Are Emojis?
Before we begin, one clear distinction has to be made between two concepts: emoticons and emojis. According to specialist Alex Hem, emoticons are short combinations of characters from western writings where grouping represents a human emotion, for example: the emoticon : -) represents happiness and >:| represents anger. Emoticons are comprised solely of these standard characters, not related to the lack of technological innovation when emoticons first appeared in the 80’s.
Emojis, on the other hand, were created at the end of the 90’s by a Japanese communications company NTT DoCoMo. They indicate not only human emotions, but also various experiences, objects, humans, and places (such as a car ride, family, and even weather conditions).
Why Are Emojis So Powerful?
Emojis are an ideal communication element, as data from the Emoji Consumer Science team shows that 92% of the world’s population now use the visual icons at least several times a year. With everything happening more often in an instant, images help share more information than a string of words can through messages. Jeremy Burge, the founder of the Emojis online encyclopedia, noted how they “are the best way to add personality to a clear textual conversation.”
Emojis provide an emotional backbone to a text thread, which a majority of the time is not enough to give a clear meaning. A study performed by experts in Mexico highlighted the interaction with people using emojis. In this study, two groups of people would chat through computers, where one of the groups used emojis and the other did not. The results showed that the group who were able to use them enjoyed their interactions more than those who used just text.
Another study by Dr. Owen Churches, from the University of Flinders in Australia, revealed that the human brain reacts to emojis in the same way as it does to real human faces, and us humans who interact this way have shown evidence of “a learned neurological cultural response.” Both Emojis and Emoticons have been shown to help amplify a message to an audience. Say you want to share and entertain people about a new restaurant. A quick Tweet saying how much you love the restaurant, mixed in with an 😍 emoji and 🍝 emoji to indicate what you ate has much more visual appeal than text.
Learn Some Emojis!
In light of #WorldEmojiDay, Emojipedia highlights some of the top emojis used in Facebook which includes:
- The 😂 Face With Tears of Joy
- The 😍 Smiling Face With Heart-Eyes
- The 😘 Face Throwing a Kiss
- The ❤️ Red Heart
- The 🎂 Birthday Cake
And now for some of the most confusing emojis out there…
- The 😪 Sleepy Face– Not to be confused with Sleeping Face Emoji, this sleepy-face emoji features a snot bubble coming out of the nose.
- The🤑 Money-Mouth Face – A face with a bank note showing instead of a tongue, and dollar signs instead of eyes. Indicates a love of money, or a feeling of wealth.
- The 🙆 Person Gesturing OK – A person with arms above his or her head, making an ‘OK’ sign (circle) with the whole body. Intended to be gender-neutral, but shown in the Apple artwork as a woman, and by Microsoft as a man.
- The 🙌 Raising Hands – Two hands raised in the air, celebrating success or another joyous event.
- The 🤗 Hugging Face – A face displayed with an open hands gesture, offering a hug. Often used as excited “jazz hands” due to the similarity of appearance to this gesture on a number of platforms.
- The 🍑 Peach (or Booty emoji) – A fleshy pink/orange-colored peach, with fuzzy skin. Displayed with a green leaf or leaves on most platforms. Most commonly used as a “butt” emoji.
- The 🙏 Folded Hands – Two hands placed firmly together, meaning please or thank you in Japanese culture. Other common uses for this character include prayer/praying hands, or a high-five.
How To Use Emojis For Social
According to an Appboy study, emoji-based marketing campaigns have increased by 777% year-after-year. Forward-thinking companies are incorporating them into their content to better connect with their audience and expand their creative brand building. Evidence of this engagement can be seen through platforms such as Twitter, where using emojis results in 25.4% more engagement, and Instagram, where nearly 50% of all comments and captions contain them. Here are few tips to get your emoji strategy going.
Stay clear and meaningful behind every emoji you use. The point of an emoji is to summarize your emotions and align with the natural way you and your brand speaks to your audience. If you’re struggling to think of an appropriate emoji, don’t use it. Forcing them indicates that it’s not your natural way of communicating with your brand. Getting too eager and creative with emojis can backfire, as seen with Chevy’s 2015 Chevy Goes Emoji campaign, where their ad campaign initial press release was shown entirely in emoji.
Use The Right Emoji
When thinking about emojis, it’s important to analyze which ones align with your brand. Consider brand consistency and ask yourself, what are some emojis that reflect my core values? Some of them are useful, while others aren’t wise to use for your brand, so you must be careful on specific social media platforms.
Understanding what emoji means beforehand can save you a lot of time and trouble. The meaning of emojis can also have different cultural and social subtleties that you may not be aware of. Using kissy faces with your peers for appreciation is one thing, but sending the same emojis to high-level executives in other industries is a BIG no.
You can use all emojis across all social media platforms, with a huge exception within LinkedIn. Most LinkedIn users may find heavy emoji usage as unprofessional. Stay safe with your LinkedIn Interaction, and stick to the positive expressions such as the smiley face, clapping hands, raised hands, thumbs up, etc.
Generate Real-Time Engagement
With emojis, you can stretch your creativity to show customers the human side of your company through social media. Using them on a daily basis will allow your audience to normalize the types of emojis you use in your content. When thinking about your target audience, consider what they already connect with emotionally, and what emojis would better resonate with them.
For example, a customer who inquires about a delayed product would more likely be at ease if a representative replies with a personal message containing a thank you and a 😊.
Create Images with Emojis
Spark your social media strategies by sharing emojis not just in the comments, but in your actual content. Create real-time marketing images with fun emojis to promote a trending hashtag or a business strategy. Domino’s successful deployment of emojis is one example that has allowed customers to simply text a pizza emoji to any Domino’s to place an order.
Review The Impact
Take some time to analyze the impact you’re attempting to achieve with emojis. Will the emojis be positive? Negative? Are you trying to be funny? Informative? Consider your campaign’s message and ask yourself: What are the meanings of the emojis I want to use? What do other people think these emojis would mean?
An emoji can help amplify and make messaging even better if used right. In 2016, the marketing team behind the movie Deadpool placed emojis in their billboard ads to promote the feature film. The popular anti-hero became a viral hit with these ads, and the marketing team was well-praised for its clever use of emojis.