If you’re an avid Facebook user, you noticed an update recently wherein the big FB added “Like,” “Love,” “Haha,” “Wow,” “Sad,” and “Angry” emojis to the comments section of posts, no longer restricting these colorful reactions to the posts themselves.
In doing this, Facebook is catering to the masses who they say were craving more ways to show their reactions to conversations on Facebook. And these “Facebookers” aren’t alone. You’re probably thinking, “More ways than…like…words?” Yup, that’s exactly it. The use of emojis in marketing campaigns increased 609% from 2015 to 2016. Translation? About 800 million marketing messages using emojis are sent in a given month.
Here are some of the most highly referenced examples:
- Domino’s made it possible for us to order a pizza with one emoji (you guessed it – ?), making them the first company to offer emoji ordering.
- Taco Bell created a petition for the taco emoji after noticing there wasn’t one on most prominent mobile platforms. This gained a bit of a cult following, and then…the ? was born.
- The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) asked their fans to support endangered animals by retweeting emojis of them. Then, they asked for a modest £0.10 for every emoji sent. The WWF earned more than 33,000 retweets of their announcement. #EndangeredEmoji ?
Why do emojis work?
To many business owners and old-school marketers, emojis probably seem like just the latest trend or fad. And they may be. I’ll be honest – I’m a bit of an emoji rookie, focusing most of my emoji usage on those most relevant to my personal life.
But for the time being, they’re proving effective in marketing campaigns of all shapes and sizes. Here’s why:
- They’re cute. (Similar to YouTube cats running from cucumbers, they provoke an emotional response, forcing you to inherently connect to marketing campaigns much more than you might have otherwise.)
- They’re easy to use. Especially in the case of the WWF #EndangeredEmoji campaign, they often require a simple retweet or copy and paste.
- They transcend language barriers. You don’t have to speak perfect English to appreciate this guy – ?. (Though this one, we admittedly had to Google…?.)
How can you get in on it?
The crudest, earliest versions of emojis were actually called emoticons. These originated on mobile devices in the form of basic keyboard characters forming an abstract image of a face or object (like :P, or even >.<). Since then, they’ve evolved into fully designed icons representing faces, to food and even flags.
Mobile is the Belle of the emoji ball. Though social sites like Facebook have recently made it easier than ever to incorporate emoji into posts and comments from desktop computers, most folks use them almost exclusively on mobile devices like cell phones and tablets.
Even in the case of mobile marketing, there is a time and place for emojis. Use too few, and it may appear you have no clue what you’re doing. Use too many, and risk being called out for a major emoji fail online.
Here are some of the most fail-proof ways you can incorporate emojis into your marketing as a local business owner:
- Incorporate them at the beginning of your text messages. If you use a customer relationship management (CRM) system to automate texts to your customers, spice them up a bit. Chances are your customers first see these messages as push notifications on their devices. So users get a really quick preview of what you’re sending before they choose whether or not to open it. If you can use one emoji to replace several words or even to help summarize a message’s main point, you’ll likely increase your open rates of these messages. (Thanks, Mr. Emoji!)
- Put them in your email subject lines. According to Experian, 56% of brands using emojis in their email subject lines had a higher unique open rate. (This report is from a few years ago, so we estimate these numbers have increased since.) They also save space where you have a limited character count. And, you’ll stand out from the crowd if you can get a little creative.
- Up your social game with emojis. We alluded to this earlier. Emojis are now fully integrated into social sites like Facebook and even Instagram. You can do a lot for your brand by inserting an emoji here and there into your posts. You’ll lighten the mood, seem less advertise-y and connect to younger generations of consumers with a little more ease. Pro tip: Does your business use Twitter? Use emojis to get around strict character count limits. Try replacing long sentences with emojis instead.
Keep it under control:
As with any marketing activity, we don’t recommend jumping head-first into the deep end right away. There are a few traps you could run into. Beware of the following:
- Test them, test them, test them. Some newer emojis, or emojis that differ from one operating system to another may not display properly for customers on older versions of software or on varying devices. So test how your messages look on various devices and with various versions of software updates. If something’s not showing up, opt for a slightly older, more universal emoji.
- In some cases, using emoji may be inappropriate or unprofessional. It’s important to know your audience, and be as sensitive as possible to the perception your messages could portray.
- Know each emoji’s actual and implied meanings. Sometimes a cigar is NOT just a cigar. If an emoji you intend to use looks like it could have an alternative meaning, do yourself a favor and Google it first.