It’s odd. The general perception is that online communication is replacing ‘real conversations’. That texting, messaging or posting is impersonal, dry and can often be ‘taken the wrong way’.
People still talk in person. Of course they do. But more times than not we need to text our buddies, email clients or jump on social media to promote business. It’s just the way it is. If anything, we arguably could be increasing our communication and sharing of opinions as the world opens up to us, especially through social media.
As a result of our new habits, the online language is taking on a life of its own. Especially with the use of emoji’s on Apple’s iPhone and Android OS. The Oxford Dictionary has officially acknowledged the word depicting Japanese electronic smileys and Facebook has just introduced one-click emoticons for love, laughter, astonishment, sadness and anger.
It’s all about the ‘feels’
Quite simply, using emoji’s can add depth, meaning and at times a cheeky flourish to your message or post. It’s simply a visual way to add a bit of oomph to what you’re saying. When you don’t use them, well, the conversation can seem rather….dead.
Emoji’s bring a whole other level of expression to your online communications, whether you’re commenting on Sally’s new house 🏡, taking a political stance on Twitter 😤 or swooning over your Instagram crush ❤️ (who, by the way DOES know you exist because they LIKED your emoji).
In fact, emoji’s enable you to give the followers a better sense of your personality. Online daters love it to illustrate their life story and we all know that one person who gets completely carried away, formulating long-winded cryptic sentences using nothing but pictures. It’s all part of the fun.
But wait. If you’re a serious business owner, is it kosher to use emoji’s?
We say (drum roll)…….yes.
Where you’d use them
You can use emoji’s in business to:
- Emphasize key words in promotions (‘Win 🎉 a seaside 🏄 holiday for you and your family 👪’ )
- Highlight a call to action on a sales pitch (‘Share 📢 and like 👍 to be in the draw for our new release designer shoes 👠’)
- Make comments stand out when responding to customers (‘Thanks Ruth, we’re thrilled Rufus ❤️ loves our new gourmet pet food 🐶’
- Embellish the context of emotions (‘We are super excited to open the doors to our new bakery today! 🍰’)
Be selective and relevant
If you already have a strategic and solid online marketing plan using a mix of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, there’s no reason why you can’t add a few carefully selected emoji’s into the mix to add life and color to your text. But it kind of depends who you are, your brand positioning and business’s culture. If you’re in a creative industry or fashion, yep, go for it. If you’re a conservative lawyer or accountant – maybe not so much.
Use your words
Avoid using emoji’s to exclusively portray your message to audience, only use them to enhance it. In fact, if a customer has taken the time to comment on your new product release showcased on Instagram, its manners to ‘use your words’. Then, by all means, add a smile 😊 just to reinforce how much you appreciate their interaction. They’ll feel like your best bud.
And, it’s probably best to save the emoji’s for social media. Introducing them in emails and other more ‘formal’ written communications with your clients or target audience can be overkill. That’s unless, again, you’re a creative or your correspondence targets a younger audience. Please don’t sign off on your email invoice with a smiling emoji. It won’t go down too well 😡
So, test the waters and integrate some emoji’s into your online marketing (especially to see if the emoji formatting is viewable by all recipients). See how your audience responds. If the response is less activity 😒, pull back. If they’re all over it and excited 😝 keep going and keep YOUR audience engaged.
At the end of the day, these little picture are replacing what used to be referred to as ‘reading between the lines’. Emoji’s give the reader a sense of who you are, clarifies your real feelings and sets the tone for ongoing mutual communication.