A picture paints a thousand words. I believe this saying can be applied to the internet too. But instead of pictures, it’s emojis and instead of a thousand words, it’s 140 characters on Twitter. Emojis have made a HUGE difference on the way we communicate online.
For me, it all began when I discovered MSN messenger. I’d spend hours curating the perfect display name with the correct amount of emoticons that made my name look colourful but not using so many that I’d look like I had only just discovered them. No one wants to look like a n00b. But when MSN died a slow and painful death, so did emoticons. Suddenly, it wasn’t 2004 anymore. It was 2009. The use of iPhones was on the up and the emoticon void in everyone’s lives was filled with emojis instead.
I hate to be that dickhead who admits this, let alone thinks this, but I can’t imagine a world without emojis. They’ve massively impacted our lives. So much so that Instagram lets you hashtag individual emojis, Sony is developing an animated emoji movie, Coca-Cola have even bought their own branded emoji and Oxford Dictionaries word of the year is an emoji. That’s right, "actual words lost out".
Coca-Cola buying their own is a pretty big deal. I mean, it’s not Charlie Simpson FINALLY joining Busted for a reunion big, but in the eyes of a social media adviser, it’s a big deal. It shows us that businesses are able to enhance their branding and create associations with and by using emojis. Of course, Coca-Cola are currently the first and only but I’m sure it won’t be long before we see McDonalds or Starbucks with one too.
They've taken a huge leap forward for brands and emojis and now it’s your turn. I’ll be giving you useful tips on emoji etiquette with who, how, when and why you should or shouldn’t use them and the best examples of when they've been used.
Types of Businesses
Your brand needs to have a certain tone of voice to be able to pull off using emojis. You’ve got to be (at least a slightly) fun, colloquial and engaging business that will happily reply to your engagers with some sassiness. Tesco Mobile are a really good example of this;
Tesco Mobile don’t know what copy and paste is. Each reply to a tweeter is varied. It makes them look personable, human and as though they genuinely care. They use emojis to enhance their banterous responses, which works particularly well when you know your audience is pretty social media savvy anyway.
I view emojis like your own face and body language. Without emojis, tweets are read in my head with a monotonous tone of voice and the blankest facial expression. Unless you use caps locks sometimes. Then I hear you shouting and/or with great enthusiasm. But I feel emojis help display emotion that may not seem clear over text. This is also the same as when you’re making a joke or being sarcastic over the internet. It often doesn’t translate very well without a clear indication that what you’re saying is in jest.
I especially like using the fabulous salsa dancing lady emoji 💃 when I’m going for an “I want to boast about something but also seem ever so slightly humble because I used an emoji” tweet.
having to use my passport as ID because i don't have my provisional license anymore 💃🏼 #humblebrag
Alternatively, emoji’s can be used in really inventive ways. Taco Bell recently created a whole campaign generating taco memes based on emojis users would submit to them via Twitter. Read about that here.
How Many Emojis Should I Use?
Although I’ve broken this rule on my personal account (I was VERY enthusiastic and excited about whatever I was tweeting about), no more than two emojis should be used per tweet when conversing. One is preferable but if you really want to use two then avoid placing them directly next to each other. Again, Tesco Mobile have got this down to a T. There can be exceptions to this ‘rule’. For example, Bud Light have used emojis particularly creatively but this was not a specific conversation and was used alternatively to text.
…a guerrilla artist in Bristol found the perfect opportunity to spin their work.
But hey, no publicity is bad publicity. Amirite?
Once you’ve got the basics down, you’re free to delve into emoji land. Remember, using emojis isn’t formulaic. Like most aspects of social media, you’ll have to experiment, play around and see what works best for you. Don’t be afraid to take risks as anything that goes wrong is just another lesson learnt!
I hope you’ve found this post useful. Please let me know by tweeting @noisymonkey on whether you’ve had any successes (or failures) with using emojis for your business.