How to Use Emojis in Your Online Marketing Strategy

Emojis are everywhere in internet-based communication, from social media posts to text messages. But despite their common appearances all over the internet, these colorful icons don’t always produce the result the user intended. A poorly chosen or misplaced emoji could drastically change the meaning of a message and not always in a good way. And as the infamous 2017 film proved, marketing professionals frequently struggle to use emojis correctly in their own strategies.

Emojis walk a fine line when it comes to digital marketing. On the one hand, they’re seen as more fun than professional. On the other hand, their colorful, eye-catching designs are proven to boost engagement on posts. Savvy businesses can benefit significantly from learning to balance these two attributes and use emojis effectively. Here’s how to develop your own emoji marketing strategy to boost engagement without driving customers away!

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Know What Each Emoji Means & How It’s Used

One of the biggest pitfalls of using emojis is using the wrong ones. For instance, the “information desk person” emoji portrays a woman holding out her hand as though she’s carrying a tray. This emoji was intended to portray a helpful woman extending her hand to ask how she can assist you. However, her expression and the position of her hand make her look sassy. This emoji is almost never used for its intended purpose and generally crops up in contexts when an online user is feeling especially sassy themselves.

As both brands and users have demonstrated, using the wrong emoji in a message completely changes the meaning of what you intended to say, with anywhere from confusing to hilarious or wildly inappropriate results. If you plan to use emojis in your marketing, take the time to get familiar with what your favorite emojis mean and how other users tend to see them. A good place to start your research is Emojipedia, the online emoji dictionary (yes, it’s real). Save yourself an embarrassing and potentially disastrous mistake!

Don’t Overdo It

If you decide emojis fit perfectly into your marketing strategy, great! You have one of the most eye-catching features of social media at your disposal. Now you just have to worry about falling into another trap: saturating every post, ad, and email with these colorful images until your audience gets sick of it all. A huge number of emojis often appear in spam messages or conspiracy theory posts, and even accidentally mimicking this type of content can lead your audience to project that same persona onto your brand.

A more common, though equally problematic, result is that your brand could come across as condescending. Millennials and young people already feel they’re stereotyped enough. If companies appear to buy into the lie that “kids these days” prefer to communicate through emojis and step up their usage to capture a younger audience’s attention, they’re more likely to insult their target audience than to increase their profits. Keep an eye on why you’re considering using emojis. Are you genuinely trying to take advantage of a trend, or are you just jumping on the hot new thing?

Pro Tip: Too many emojis in an email subject line could get your message automatically flagged as spam. Don’t go overboard and accidentally sabotage your efforts!

Know When to Not Use Emojis

Using emojis in the wrong context comes across as out-of-touch with your audience, your platform, or both in some cases. It also depends on the nature of your business. A restaurant or department store can get away with well-chosen emojis since their audience and marketing approach tend toward a more casual attitude. On the other hand, a law firm (or the US Army) using emojis in their online activity feels tacky at best and cringe-inducing at worst. Keep emoji usage to a minimum or eliminate it altogether if your business wants to maintain a more professional online appearance.

Emoji Marketing Strategy

Love them or hate them, emojis are an important part of building an effective online marketing strategy. As with any internet trend, the key to success is using these colorful images to connect with your audience and drive up interest in your brand. A detailed understanding of emoji usage and social media marketing will give you everything you need to use emojis in your marketing plan!

Connect with us to learn more about emoji marketing and other methods of catching your audience’s eye.

Christina Belbas

Christina Belbas loves researching and writing on just about any topic, and has used her time in writing internships to hone her skills. With a Bachelor’s in creative writing and several published articles to her name, she has the experience to back up her education. She loves trying new recipes and petting cats in her spare time.