Another year is almost over and 2016 has seen a hell of a lot of changes happening in the way people connect with each other.  We connect using a multitude of different platforms, with the onus shifting towards the ever growing social media avenue.

Whether it is to network with past/current work colleagues or to stay in contact with family/friends, social media is one of the prime vehicles for communication. And no matter which one they flock too, people like to express themselves both personally and professionally. This has led many brands to become more personal in their marketing communication. This can take the form of updates concentrating on the people behind the brand such as showing off team members, celebrating their team members birthdays, achievement and more. We can surmise that brands now, more than ever, realize how important it is to become more personal in their marketing efforts.

However, even though brands know personalisation is the way forward in order to increase sales/revenue, many still struggle in effective implementation. Yes, I know it is daunting, especially for small to medium sized businesses to stay up to date with all the latest trends happening in the marketplace. The last thing you need is some marketer telling you how to communicate. But it’s important. Your business needs a personal touch if you want to relate to your audience. There is one very small and easy step that can be ingrained in your marketing efforts to boost its effectiveness. And so we present the wonder of emoji’s.

Evolution of Emoji’s

Visual images have become a global trend, used especially among the young adult target market. They are being utilised across many mediums such as SMS, Facebook, Snapchat and more. Now you can even order lunch by merely tweeting an emoji. Mad eh?! Emoji’s have become a way to add a more personal touch to your marketing efforts. Don’t think for one second either that emoji’s have just recently made an appearance in society. We have all been using them for some time now, which actually goes back to a decade ago really. According to SEO Pressor, emoticons actually started in online chatrooms. Not that I am suggesting you, yourself or any other trigger happy emoijier has been using online chatrooms. What I am saying is, they were formed in simple SMS messages where we started using the symbols like the ones you see here  🙂    🙁 .

Images like these help us interpret the meaning and emotion behind the message.  As marketers, this helps us to really connect with our target market by helping them truly understand what we are saying. Still don’t believe me?! There has even been a study done around the whole concept undertaken in 2015 from Emogi. They concluded that emoji’s help fans create a more personal connection and express themselves better, while also replacing wordy texts.

How we can use Emojis

So now your thinking “Well, maybe emoji’s are a great way to personalise your marketing message, but I don’t have a clue how to use them”. Fortunately, they are very simple and easy to utilize.

Emoji’s can be used through simple text captions at the start or at the end of any sentence. The most common method is to use them at the end of the sentence expressing how you feel about a situation. E.g. It’s a Friday evening and I’ve just finished work. I would take a picture of the long road home that awaits and include the emoji of a smiley face with love hearts in its eyes to express my excitement for the weekend.

Need another way to apply them? They can also add some fun and creativity to the message. You can exclude text all together and solely create the message with emoji’s alone. Inject that extra bit of creativity into your businesses marketing efforts by making your own graphics with emoji’s embedded.

Do it like the Pros 

According to articles from Social Media Today, the giant pizza supplier – Domino’s Pizza has even exploited the greatness of emoji’s. They stood out against the overcrowded marketplace, when they launched their Twitter campaign giving fans the opportunity to order a pizza using the pizza emoji. Social media platforms are even adapting themselves to this ever changing consumer behavior through building an entire feature around them. Emoji’s have also become very popular in the food industry with retailers like Domino’s, Taco Bell and more. Expanding further, companies like General Electric and Word Wildlife Fund have also incorporated emojis at various points in their marketing messages. No matter the industry, Emoji’s can play an important role in your marketing communication.

Overall, I think we can attest (with conviction) that emoji’s add some personality to the text. They are quiet flexible, capable of being incorporated anywhere, be it through your social media marketing or email newsletter. They add a friendlier tone, vitally important considering we are in a world where most text communication is toneless. As people we are unconsciously creating a negative tone by using text heavy messages.  Emoji’s can help remove this negative interpretation.

I am not the first to say, that social media messages with a visual image included, get a higher engagement/view rate than a post with plain old text. This is because people can retain the message 65% (according to Hubspot) longer compared to text alone. The information is just more easily digestible. We can also apply this with emoji’s. They can convey both emotion and tone of the message, which can allow you to be on the same level as your audience. These very clever images can too surpass the language barrier, helping your message go viral.

So smile more

Let’s not go completely emoji mad either, I’m not saying they are suited to every business. But they are definitely a small detail we can all use to add some personality and emotion to our messages creating a deeper connection with our audience.