Emojis - To Use or Not to Use in Your Social Media Marketing Campaigns?
The Merriam-Webster English Dictionary officially defines “emojis” as various small images, symbols, or icons that are used in place of text in electronic communications; adding that they are used to “express the emotional attitude of the writer, convey information succinctly, communicate a message playfully without using words, etc.” Individual people and brands alike can use emojis to associate an emotion, tone, or mood with a message. Are you tweeting to let everyone know you have hot coffee brewing at your eatery on a cold fall morning? Put coffee cup and thumbs-up emojis in your tweet to add some personality to what you’re saying.
Emojis are extremely popular with social media users. Five billion emojis are sent daily on Facebook Messenger alone. While most of these emojis are likely exchanged between the 1.2 billion monthly active users in private conversation, some companies have found unique ways to integrate these characters into their own marketing campaigns. For example, Dominos allows smartphone users to order a pizza by texting a pizza emoji to them. Some brands, though, have taken it further to where it could be considered absurd or unprofessional; such as Chevrolet issuing a press release written entirely in emoji icons.
How should a brand best use emojis in their social media marketing campaigns? Here are a few tips:
Use When Appropriate
Emojis have an inherent light-hearted nature about them due to their cartoonish appearance. Before inserting a smiley face, hand gesture, or other icon into your next tweet, first consider the tone of the message you are sending. For example, if you are posting on your brand’s accounts and are offering condolences in the wake of a national tragic event, it would be best to avoid putting a crying emoji into your post. Doing so could take away from the seriousness of your words and make your brand look more insensitive than sympathetic.
Make Sure They Make Sense
Avoid using emojis just for the sake of using them. Doing so could obscure your message beyond comprehension and make it more difficult for others to decipher what you’re trying to tell them through symbols instead of words.
Think of emojis as reverse-photo captions. They are bite-sized photos that add extra personality to your words, rather than words forming a caption to add context to an image. Your text should carry your main ideas, while the emoji icons provide a greater sense of the words’ intended tone to your followers. If you rely on emojis too heavily, you could potentially risk confusing your audience. Consider this ad from the Tampico juice company. Instead of successfully associating their product with a mood or feeling, they confuse a potential customer by creating a long and nonsensical chain of smiley faces, hearts, and hand gestures.
When posting on your brand’s social media accounts, do remember that you are posting on behalf of your business. While it is important to engage with and relate to your followers, there is still a level of professionalism that a company or organization should adhere to if they want to avoid stirring controversy with stakeholders like audience members, coworkers, or industry partners.
One way to maintain professionalism in your social media marketing campaigns is to reign in your emoji use. For example, Chevrolet’s all-emoji press release could be considered unprofessional, since the textless news announcement could give stakeholders the impression that they do not take their business practices seriously.
When in Doubt, Follow Good Examples:
Unsure where your brand stands on the line between emoji-overuse and professionalism? Use other companies’ successful emoji marketing tactics as a point of reference for your own. Here are a few examples where businesses use these miniature icons well:
Coca-Cola: Like Disney, Coca-Cola makes good use of their limited character real estate in their tweets. They abide by what seems to be a similar 2-3 emoji maximum when they include them in their messages.