How Emojis Can Help Your Business. Seriously.

Did you know that World Emoji Day is on July 17? Or that, as of June 2018, there are 2,823 emojis in the Unicode Standard? Or that a survey done by The Atlantic reported that more than 75% of Americans have used emojis in business communications? Clearly, emojis aren't just for millennials anymore.

While emojis haven't fully replaced text (yet?), they can be an effective way to communicate additional nuance and color around hard to understand messages. Also, they're fun. Here are some ways you can use these colorful and expressive images for legitimate business purposes.

What is an Emoji?

An emoji is a small image that you can include in any text-enabled message. They differ from emoticons, which are just typographical figures, in that they are a full, color picture. Emojis were first introduced in 1999 by Japanese artist Shigetaka Kurita. Not surprising, given the popularity of mobile phones in Japan.

The first emojis conveyed information about the weather; you can see Kurita's first 167 emojis at New York's Museum of Modern Art. This number quickly grew, and although anyone can create an emoji, each one goes through a fairly thorough vetting process with Unicode.

Emojis continue to evolve to include different figures, images, professions, family groups, skin tones and more.

Emojis and Social Media

If you're on social media, you've likely communicated via emoji today or recently. A staggering 6 billion emojis are sent daily. If you're sending emojis, then it's likely your audience is too.

Nearly all successful social media campaigns have a few common elements: image, short text blurb, emoji, hashtag and short link. The old adage goes, "A picture is worth a thousand words," and this is especially true when your character count is limited. Even though emojis are small, they still represent a word, a message or a mood. Adding emojis to the text blurb or short link can help convey additional information without taking up important space.

More than 90% of people on social media communicate via emojis. In order to connect with your audience, you need to speak like them. In today's business world that means you need to speak emoji.

Emojis and Marketing

In addition to social media, there are many other marketing channels where emojis can be effective including:

  • Email
  • Mobile marketing
  • Push messages
  • Text messages
  • Chatbots

In email, you can use emojis in the subject line to grab the reader's attention and convey something about your brand. It's a quick way for your audience to learn about you, since the image will register faster than a long line of text for most people.

Users have been spending more time on their mobile devices than on desktops for four-plus years now. With the rise of mobile, marketing strategies have adapted considerably. Mobile devices have smaller screens, so any marketing campaigns that are optimized for mobile will need small images. Emojis fit these requirements perfectly.

Other aspects of mobile marketing that are becoming popular are push messages, text messages and chatbot conversations with users or customers. If you have an app-based product or service, then you probably have a full strategy around how to use push messages effectively. Remember, you don't want to be annoying, since users can now turn off push messages. Allowing them to engage in a simple, emoji-based manner is one way to stay on their good side.

With text messages and chatbots, emojis allow you to humanize the interaction a little more. It's likely some element of your text and chat interaction is handled by AI – this technology is currently used by about half of all marketers – it's important to let your customers know that you care, that the robots haven't fully taken over.

Emojis and Sales

Some companies have even started allowing customers to place orders by emoji. Of course, this only works where there is an accurate emoji to represent that item being ordered, say pizza. Domino's Anyware program allows customers to text or tweet the pizza emoji

This process has more steps than just texting a pizza slice, but it's a clever idea. It will be interesting to see how successful this application is for Domino's and if other companies adopt similar strategies.

As with the marketing strategies listed above, using emojis in sales and customer support interactions can help humanize the process.

Emojis and Customer Feedback

In the world of shorter attention spans and rising mobile customer interaction, it can be hard to collect feedback. While you have an abundance of data at your fingertips to analyze, most of it is on usage statistics, click through rates, subscriptions, etc. It's hard to compel users and customers to give feedback.

Emojis are here to help! Services like Emojion.io offer an emoji feedback widget that is universally applicable for all businesses. They offer a quick way for users to leave emotional feedback. Users are much more likely to click on an emoji than take time to fill out a complicated survey. You can even enrich responses with metadata to get a clearer image of your customer.

These services also typically offer analytics and integrations to make the process of collecting and interpreting feedback even easier. With this tool you can gain insight into which pages are performing best or worst.

It's simple and fun for customers. Emojion can be great way to connect with your customers, especially if they are in the millennial generation. One study suggested that visual expressions, such as emojis, better express this generation's thoughts than words do.

How to Effectively Use Emojis in Your Business

We don't recommend you go all emoji, like Goldman Sachs or Chevrolet, in your next communication or marketing campaign. Remember, text and language still play an important role in communications. However, if you want to have a little fun and meet your users where they are, then consider adding emojis.

One word of advice: be sure to educate yourself about the non-literal definitions of some of the popular emojis. You can check on Emojipedia, but in general, in business, it's best to stay away from the peach and the eggplant.

Research based from:

https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg23431311-200-say-it-with-feeling-the-complex-world-of-emojis/

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/07/17/emojis-are-coming-apple.html

https://emojipedia.org/stats/

https://www.wired.com/story/guide-emoji/

https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2015/05/why-emoji-are-suddenly-acceptable-at-work/393191/