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4 Ways to Incorporate Emojis in Your Social Media Marketing Plan

Emoji is a Japanese word for “pictogram”. The graphic icons, which almost everyone now uses to express thoughts, emotions and actions, were invented in 1995 by Japanese engineer Shigetaka Kurita for the telephone company Ntt DoCoMo. They gained widespread popularity in 2011 when Apple Inc. decided to incorporate them on the keyboards of their iPhones.

People are using more and more emojis than ever. Emojis are found everywhere within text messages, social media platforms, mobile push app notifications, online advertisements and email marketing. As a result, digital communications has evolved and become shorter. Now we are in a fast shift from use of full-word internet slang to simple emojis.

The must ask questions are: Why have Emojis become such an important tool for users in the digital world? How can digital marketers incorporate emojis into their social media strategy?

The answer to the first question is: a user of the digital world’s current preference is for everything to be visual. Their attention span decreases significantly on a daily basis (very often, on an hourly basis, too); some studies put this to be around 8 seconds. Although no one rules out that this time could be less. Being what it is, visual content is all about getting these users’ attention. Visual information is known to process information 60,000 times faster than plain text.

In order to answer the second question, our social media marketing pros have come up with 5 ways to incorporate emojis into your social media campaigns.

  1. Instagram Marketing

Emojis are more commonly used on Instagram and can be incorporated in your biography, calls to actions, comments and posts.  But before you post random emojis in your Instagram post, you need to determine how your audience uses and interprets emojis and what sense does your audience give to these icons. Based on the information you collect, perhaps from a brief survey, you should search for a combination of Emojis that will represent your brand and that will connect with your Instagram followers.

  1. Copy & Responses

One intuitive way to use emojis is to incorporate them in plain texts because they invoke funny and humorous reactions. That is in captions, descriptions, comments, tweets etc. By adding an emoji or two to the end of a line of text is literally you begging the question – how can I stand out and make an impact?  It is still recommended to pursue this approach with caution because too many emojis or the use of the wrong emoji will distort the message and make you look unprofessional.

  1. Social Media Campaigns/Contest

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) is the perfect example of this. The non-profit organization is dedicated to protecting the environment and preserving endangered species. To support their cause and get people to share it, they started an #EndangeredEmoji Twitter campaign which donated £0.10 for every character of the possible 17 characters tweeted.


(source: n2n communications)

Another example is the #HeForShe campaign, which promotes gender equality. This campaign earned 115% more social media mentions because of its creation of a custom emoji and the backing of many well-known celebrities.

If you decide to create a custom emoji for a social media campaign or contest or simply for branding purposes, make sure:

  1. Most devices will display the emoji.
  2. Your customers are sharing your emoji through promotions or events.
  3. You tie your emoji to an important cause or symbol – something people are passionate about.
  1. Customer Service

Think of a time when a customer is complaining about you on a social media channel.  You’ve resolved the issue and do not know how to end things on a good note. Use a happy face or thumbs up emoji to find closure to a less than pleasant situation. If you have the budget for it, why not create a custom emoji and use it instead. Simply make sure that the message is clear and the customer is reading the same thing you are trying to tell them.

DMAC is a Social Media Marketing Training Company that provides customized corporate training for all types of companies. Our lecturers have been studying the use of emojis in social media marketing for the past three years. If you have any questions or would like input on how to create and implement an effective social media marketing campaign, click here to book a free consultation today.


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