Screen sizes are getting smaller and the world more mobile, so engaging and building relationships with your customers is getting increasingly harder. When we communicate with customers via social, email or text, we need to be able to pack more information and emotion into shorter messages. Emoji can communicate or support certain emotions without taking up a lot of space. An emoji is basically a text-sized picture character that carries an emotion, whether a feeling, a person or a place. Emoji are used personally and professionally in the marketplace. However, the type and popularity of emojis used by people and brands have a huge difference. The emoji isn’t a new sensation, created in the 1990s by an employee named Shigetaka Kurita at Japanese communications firm NTT DoCoMo, it even has its own holiday, World Emoji Day. Even though the use of emojis are popular, it is very important to understand their context and relevance. Research found that about one-in-four marketing email campaigns include one or multiple emojis. So, like a first date, before you dive head-first, here are 5 ways you can prepare yourself to wade into the sea of emojis.
1. Don’t start with an emoji. You’ve only just met! Be clear with your intentions when you send out communications. You are making an impression, don’t blow it by being too casual. Subject lines that do NOT contain emojis actually significantly outperform subject lines with emojis (38.5% vs 26%). While subject lines are the place for emojis, using them in your main content can be a nice way to highlight what you are saying.
2. Say it, don’t spray it! Emojis are only meant to complement what you are saying. Think of them as your wing-man. Emoji are like a first date, not too committal. Keep the use of your emoji’s light-hearted, don’t talk too much and spout out a bunch of emojis. No one, especially your customers wants to be coated with emojis. Too much, too soon and they’ll be running for the hills.
3. Don’t play it too safe. Research found that ❤️, 🎁, and 🎤 were the three most commonly used emojis in email subject lines, with the popularity of ❤️ significantly surpassing other emojis. There are 3,178 emojis, plenty of fish in the sea. Try on a few different ones, who knows, it might give you just the unique character your customers are looking for!
4. Respect the platform. Relevance is important not only on social platforms but also text messages and emails. Before putting effort into emojis at work, spent time getting to know and understand your target audience (link to my persona blog), reference your personas and where they spend time online.
5. Be authentic. Emojis may help or hurt our connection with your audience. The best way to know is to do a little segmentation. Create a few different customer mailing lists based on persona preferences. Create communications on social channels they use, some using emojis and others not. Measure the engagement of your posts and see if your audience 👍🏻 or 👎🏼 emojis. Better yet, ask them what emoji are you? The best way to deliver to the needs and wants of your customers is to listen 👂🏼 to them. Create a 2-way conversation by asking them – do they 🧡 you, or 💔 you not? 💜 you, or 💔 you not? See where the last petal 🌼 falls..hopefully with a lovely 💕 emoji!
Phones are everywhere, mobile is the platform of choice and emojis are a fun and easy way to communicate. Having a plan, knowing yourself, what your brand stands for, your vision for your company and your target market will pay dividends. So suit up, put your best 👣 forward, be unique (Top 15 emojis by subject line appearances), remember context and content. You are ready to ask the question – what emoji am I?