Smirky face, fist bump, high five, dancing emoji, etc. At some point or another… you’ve used an emoji. And if you haven’t, you can’t ignore them any longer—emoji are here to stay. They gravitated towards social media and now they’re a regular fixture even in email communications (even though you won’t find emoji images in the Dictionary… yet). Over 92% of internet population communicate with emojis with 84% of women and 75% of men believe emoji describe their feelings better than words. Who knew?!

Remember when the LOL’s and LMAO’s were popular? Believe it or not, emoticons have begun replacing those “internet slang” abbreviations. After all, why use a “LOLOL” when you can just throw in a laughing crying emoji face instead?

Emoticons (emojis) are even taking over the world of marketing! I’m sure you’ve noticed subject lines, push notification, and digital advertisements now including emojis… but why?

According to, including emojis in social media posts can increase engagement in Tweets by 25.4 percentincrease your number of Facebook post Likes by 57 percent and increase Facebook comments and shares by 33 percent. That’s a pretty significant jump for a tiny little image.

Like most things in marketing, trying to stay current and timely can go really good… or really bad. Using the smirky face or perhaps the laughing crying face (instead of the actual crying face) incorrectly could hinder your marketing efforts rather than boosting them.

So, here’s some tips on how to effectively use emojis to strengthen your digital marketing game:


#1 – Know the Meaning of Emojis

With so many different emojis available, it makes it important that you understand the meaning behind which ever ones you plan to use. Using an emoji incorrectly could seriously hurt your marketing efforts (and your brand). You don’t want to start randomly throwing out emojis without a strategy — you need to make sure they are aligned with your audience. And, word to the wise, anything that could misconstrued as inappropriate (a.k.a. the eggplant emoji)… don’t post it. The internet can be evil. Be smart.

Want to stay up to date with emoji developments and meanings? Check out: Emojipedia. Another great resource is: HubSpot.


#2 – Don’t Over Use Emojis

Emojis can be fun, but aren’t always appropriate. Using them here and there is definitely the way to go. Some say that emojis will eventually move from being trendy to a necessity in marketing. However, I disagree. If you over use them, like anything else, they WILL lose their impact over time. There’s nothing worse than hearing a song you love on the radio, but then hearing it 12,000 times over the next week to where you end up hating the song forever. Amirite? We’ve all been there. Emojis can have the same effect. Using a couple emojis that make sense within the email copy is fine, but going overboard can really be awkward. I actually cringe when I see emails with an obnoxious number of winky-face emojis… and refuse to open them.

Using emojis in your small business marketing may sound crazy, but if you look around, major companies such as Oreo, McDonald’s, Domino’s, Chevy, Toyota and countless others are jumping on the emoji train and using them frequently as part of their social media advertising language. Here are just a few examples:


#3 – Emojis Have a Time and a Place… Recognize

You know what they say, “Communication is key!” Sometimes, an emoji can get lost in translation. Especially in professional communications or in communications with many different generations of people. Not everyone understands the Millennial love for emojis. So, KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE! Not sure if your audience will be receptive to emojis? Give one a try and see. If your engagement increases, maybe try another one with a different post. If your engagement levels decrease… maybe emojis just aren’t for your audience… and that’s ok. Although emojis may not be for everyone, a world without emojis isn’t a world I want to be a part of. So, test the waters. Don’t be afraid. Throw an emoji or two out there. Bring a little F-U-N to your social channel.


#4 – Use Emojis to Add a Voice

Emojis can help brands add that personal touch. Like most things in marketing, what may work for one company, may not work for another. So, carefully consider which emojis you use and make sure they match your brand and come across as a natural extension of your personality and company voice. To help, ask yourself these questions:

  1. “What emojis are relevant to our brand?
  2. “Do we fully understand the meaning of the emojis we plan on using?
  3. “How often should we use emojis?
  4. “How does our target audience interact online?
  5. “Will using emojis improve the message we are attempting to convey?”

Want even more information about how to incorporate emojis into your marketing effort? Here is a great article on how to use emojis to increase the success of your Facebook ad. Did you know that 90% of the most successful Facebook ads used emojis? Check it out here: Data Shows the 3 Things You Need for a Successful Facebook Ad.

(Source: J. Ashley Panter, Marketing Manager, UGA SBDC  |  Pawel Grabowski, Adespresso  |   Dara Fontein, Hootsuite  |  Jonathan Long, Founder, Market Domination Media)