Marketers, ignore emojis at your peril

Emojis have been steadily growing in use and significance in recent years, to the point that they have effectively become a language of their own.

Statistics from Emojipedia show that nearly one in five tweets now includes an emoji and five billion emojis are sent every day on Facebook Messenger alone.

Patterns in emoji use can also provide insights into broader social trends and issues that are capturing people’s attention. In 2020, the year of Black Lives Matter and Covid-19, a public vote on the emoji that best represented the year was won by the raised fist with a dark skin tone, followed by the microbe.

It’s easy to dismiss them as just a fun and often silly way of communicating, but from a marketing perspective, it’s worth asking if emojis are a tool you should be turning to your advantage.

Emojis for SEO

Including emojis in your title tags and meta descriptions can contribute to your SEO efforts – as long as they’re used alongside high-quality content – by helping you capture people’s attention and increase click-through rates.

This isn’t to say that you should plaster emojis on everything you produce online, a tactic that is likely to create negative perceptions of your brand and ultimately damage your SEO.

Instead, you need to look at emojis that are relevant to your brand. This means judging whether emojis need to be part of your SEO strategy and whether it’s worth incorporating them if there’s a risk of them diminishing your brand image, even if they do get you on the first page of search results.

If a user conducts a search with an emoji, a website can rank well in results even if it doesn’t feature the emoji anywhere in its content. An example of this is a pizza restaurant ranking for a search using the pizza emoji.

Social symbols

The language of emojis is particularly relevant to social media marketing. They can be used as an alternative to full sentences or words in a bid to save on characters and get a point across quickly.

One of the most attractive aspects of these symbols is their universal appeal – something marketers can use to their advantage. But how do you actually use emojis on social media?

Firstly, you need to be aware of any emojis that have negative, sexual or dual meanings in common use, as using these could detract from your intended message. A great way to keep up with emoji meanings is to check them on emojipedia.

Once you’ve found the right emojis for your brand, using them in well-timed posts can help to highlight the human aspect of your business. Use them as reactions or quick responses when a lengthy explanation isn’t needed and you want to make a strong connection with your audience.

Email emojis

Another area where emojis have become popular is email marketing. You’ve probably received emails that use them in the subject line, either as part of a sentence or as a representation of what the email is about.

Emojis in emails can be more engaging than simple text email subject lines, with certain emojis actually helping to improve open rates. They provide a visual shortcut, make emails more human and illustrate your topic, all of which are big benefits when you want to engage people with a single line of text.

While A/B testing is the best way to find out which emails resonate with your subscribers, a good rule of thumb is to assess the tone your email is using and ensure your choice of emoji fits with the subject.

You should also consider your audience and whether emoji use is likely to resonate with them. If a smiley face doesn’t seem appropriate, emojis like symbols and numbers may have a positive effect, so don’t discount these.

Image credit: iStock/oatawa

When is the right time for emojis?

As with any aspect of marketing, this is totally down to your brand, audience and previous success. There are no hard and fast rules to guarantee success when using emojis in marketing, but this doesn’t mean you should discount them or fail to venture into this space. Assessing the impact emojis can have on your marketing strategy could provide a range of benefits, no matter what sector you’re in.

It’s also important to remember that the use of emojis will continue to evolve in our fast-moving digital world. Make sure this part of your marketing strategy is just as reactive as the rest of the tools you use.

For more advice and support on how to inject new elements into your marketing, talk to Axonn.

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