Proper Emoji Etiquette

Sep 2015
Photo @tiffanynguyen810

Emojis no longer exist in just the texting lingo of teens.

Business professionals have come to now use emojis but when is it appropriate to use them on social media? And how should you know which ones are appropriate to use? Emojis are all about conveying the right tone and adding a personal flare to messages, which can increase audience engagement.


WHEN to Use Emojis 

First, consider your audience. If you have a following of hipsters or a young target demographic (below age 35), then emojis are a good choice. If your followers are middle-aged or of an older generation, then it may be best to reconsider how well they’ll respond to the added emotion suggestion. Millennials are the strongest age demographic to relate to emojis and tend to speak in informal tones, whereas those who did not grow up in the social media craze or who are nearing retirement may prefer to communicate in formal tones.

Second, think about which social media platforms you’ll be posting on. Instagram, which revolves around enticing visuals, is the most relevant choice when it comes to emojis. While Facebook and Twitter are okay to use emojis on, try to limit your emoji count so that you don’t take away from the power of the words, or for Twitter specifically, the character count.  A study on tweets has shown that emoji use on Twitter is linked to social power. The higher Klout score (rank of social authority) correlated with a higher number of followers. Platforms not to worry about emoji involvement: Pinterest and YouTube.

HOW to Use Emojis

Just because it may be clever to use emojis in a social media post for your business, does not mean you should treat them the same way you would emojis used in a private texting conversation. The most commonly used emoji, the smiley face, is always a good positive emotion to add to your post. Creating positive content is key in engaging more followers. If your audience involves a younger crowd with an informal manner of speaking, then it is safe to use other emojis like a winky face or more humorous emojis. Remember that modesty is key with emojis—don’t go overboard.

Never post an image that doesn’t relate directly to the content or that could connote a negative or unprofessional message, i.e. an angry face or the poop emoji. Do NOT use emojis when responding to customer complaints or if you’re unsure about your target audience demographic. Emojis are still a form of communication, keep in mind that certain emojis may fall under the category of what to avoid using on your business profiles. Emojis are often added at the end of a sentence, and try to limit your use of emojis to less than three. One is usually enough, and if you use more than one, choose different types.  For example, a post about Labor Day can include a smiley face and an American flag. If you seem to have success with your posts that include emojis, then you can test out using more over time but too many can be seen as obnoxious or unprofessional. Again, always consider your audience and how they react to your language.

To learn more about which platforms are best to use for your audience, read about how to choose which social channels to choose for your business.

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