Happy July 17th — otherwise known as “World Emoji Day!” This is a day worth celebrating, for in the contemporary social media landscape, users are hard-pressed to browse their networks without spotting at least one cartoon face, food, flag or symbol. Emoji — sometimes spelled with an “s” in the plural form and sometimes not — is thought to be today’s fastest growing language. Take a look at the chart from a recent Instagram study below which shows the growing popularity of emoji on the app. These modern-day hieroglyphics are creating some great new opportunities for brands to connect with consumers. Here are a few ways emoji can be integrated into a brand’s social media content strategy.
An emoji is worth a thousand words. There is a common problem in creating social media content: the emphasis on brevity versus the importance of delivering the right message. Emoji are one solution to this problem. At times, emoji can convey emotional messaging better than words can. In the example from Taco Bell below, they use the caption, “Get on my level.” and a fire emoji hashtag to help describe their “Diablo” sauce. This is the perfect instance of an emoji complementing and enhancing a word or a phrase. This combination, when appropriate, can also be used to reach and relate to an audience that is most likely using or at least seeing them in everyday life.
Thanks to Instagram’s updates, emoji hashtags are now searchable. This has by no means replaced traditional hashtag use, but emoji hashtags are becoming increasingly popular on the network. Deciding on a word or phrase to post as a brand hashtag can sometimes be quite difficult — why not use an emoji that says it all? In the example from Likeable Media client Pure Barre below, two emoji hashtags are the perfect way to describe the essence of the photo and make it visible to users who are sharing and searching for this type of content. When it comes to a brand-specific promotion or product, traditional hashtags are the way to go, but trying emoji hashtags (or a combination of both) on more general posts certainly can’t hurt.
Now that the world has seen their power and popularity, many brands are eager to have a set of emoji to call their own. These are personalized to represent their products, their community, and their overall brand. When Burger King decided to re-introduce the fan-favorite Chicken Fries to their permanent menu, they made sure that a fully-personalized set of emoji was included in their digital marketing efforts. Having personalized emoji gives fans a new outlet to celebrate their favorite brands, can result in a ton of user-generated content, and generates further brand awareness.
So, before you begin to celebrate this special day with live emoji re-creations and an exhaustive use of the cartoon symbols, consider how you can incorporate emoji into your brand strategy to help you connect with current and new users.