Remember in the olden days when we could only express our emotions online with text emoticons like this:
Or we’d type out “LOL” if were laughing out loud (or even if we weren’t).
And then, there would always be that one person who didn’t know what “LOL” meant and they would use it the wrong way?
And then we’d want to *eyeroll* but we couldn’t because the *eyeroll* emoji hadn’t been invented yet?
Those were dark times – the times before emojis existed.
Think of all the emotions that got repressed or misinterpreted.
Nowadays, emojis are very commonplace. According to a study by Quintly, where 29,000 accounts with 5.5 million posts between January 1 and July 31, 2017 were analyzed, it was discovered that 57% of Instagram profiles included emojis.
When new emojis surface – or are even rumored to surface – they actually make headline news. We discuss them like we discuss current events.
An article in Business Insider earnestly reports, “Unicode, the consortium responsible for choosing the new emoji across all platforms, announced the beta version of the 2018 emojis on Monday. The new list includes redheads, a bagel, a lacrosse stick, and more.”
The demand is real. People want emojis that are reflective of their lifestyle choices, demographics, and psychographics.
Why are we so obsessed with emojis? Quite simply, emojis help us express ourselves with greater accuracy in an otherwise cold, cruel cyberspace.
And, it’s no surprise that emojis have found dominance on social media. But, how do they fit in when using social media for business?
Do they have a place?
Emojis are colorful and fun, and they help us express ourselves, but in the business world, if not used correctly, they can seem frivolous and silly.
Here are a few key points to help you manage your use of emojis on social media when promoting your business…
1. Don’t be afraid to use emojis to show your human side
People like to do business with people, not robots.
Using emojis can help you express your personality and sense of humor.
Obviously, the quality of your product or service, as well as the value you are able to bring to the table, play a big role when someone decides to do business with you, but at the end of the day, someone becomes your client because they like you, trust you, and feel like you get them.
They are not going to have these emotional responses towards you and your business if you don’t let your hair down a little and show them your human side once in a while.
Now, that said, showing your human and emotional side does not mean you throw professionalism and respectability out the window.
Always maintain an air of positivity, confidence, and reliability, and remember to add value to your audience – even if it’s just a laugh or inspiring thought.
2. Recognize that emojis are not for all social media platforms
You always want to consider context when using emojis.
Not all social media platforms are created equally.
That doesn’t mean that one is better than the other, it means that they are different, with different protocols and different etiquettes.
For instance, LinkedIn is a solid business platform. It’s very corporate. Very little personal information gets shared on LinkedIn, and when it does, it’s often met with confusion or disapproval.
Same goes for emojis. You won’t see a lot of emojis used on LinkedIn. This is probably due to the fact that people want to maintain a very professional appearance on LinkedIn. Being too personal goes against LinkedIn etiquette.
Also, consider the fact that most access LinkedIn from their desktop computer, as opposed to from their phone app. If they are not accessing LinkedIn from their phone, they probably won’t have access to emojis.
In any case, I would stick to convention and limit (or restrict) your use of emojis on LinekdIn, just so you look like you understand the context. Otherwise, using a bunch of emojis on LinkedIn might look out of place, comparable to walking into a Fortune 500 boardroom meeting wearing jeans and a hoodie (and only Mark Zuckerberg is allowed to do that).
Now Instagram, on the other hand, is an image-based platform and therefore thrives on emotional messages.
The photos and videos that perform the best on Instagram tell stories, or inspire emotion.
Emotions and Instagram go together.
So, feel free to go all-out with emojis on Instagram.
In fact, according to that Quintly study, use of emojis leads to 47.7% more interactions on Instagram.
If you’re not already using emojis on Instagram, you might want to try it – otherwise you could be missing out on much-wanted engagement!
3. Know which emojis are appropriate for your business
Remember that one person who thought “LOL” meant “lots of love” instead of “laugh out loud”?
Don’t be that person.
Certain emojis have double meanings, or double entendres, and you need to be aware of these because some emojis can come off as risky or inappropriate coming from a business.
(What I’m saying is, unless your business is eggplant farming, there should never be any eggplant emojis in any of your business posts, ever.)
You will also notice that certain industries like to use certain emojis a lot because they resonate with a particular audience. For instance, motivational or entrepreneurial posts often use the *fire* or *arm flex* emojis because this is the type of language that their specific audience responds to and recognizes as familiar.
It comes down to knowing your audience.
For instance, if your target audience is largely comprised of female business owners, using the lipstick emoji might come off as fashionable and trendy, in a girl-power kind of way.
BUT if your audience is largely conservative men in their sixties, using a lipstick emoji might come off as overly flirtatious and you may or may not want that result.
Emojis can be a fun and effective form of business communication on social media. Don’t be afraid to use emojis to show you are human and have a personality on social media, as it will help your target audience relate to you better. However, you must also recognize that certain social media platforms are better suited for emojis than others. Emojis can have double meanings, and it’s important that you as a business communicator understand the subtle language behind using emojis and how they are perceived by your target audience.
I hope you find that helpful. If you did, please subscribe to my channel on YouTube. I post a new video every week, and until then, take care.