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Whether you fall into the Generation Y or Generation Z category, stop what you’re doing because it’s time to get on board with Emoji. Far from just a novelty function used by youngsters to express their undying love for Harry Styles, these vibrant little characters could now be the key to your business marketing success.

Emo… what?!

Emoji. “E-mo-gee”. Deceptively innocent images that can be incorporated into text, email, tweets, Facebook posts and other applications including WhatsApp and Snapchat.  As the saying goes, a picture speaks a thousand words and when the 140-character limit is just not adequate, you can guarantee that the trusty thumbs-up emoji will have your back. Or on a Monday morning when you simply don’t have the energy to muster up real words, all it takes is the smiling poop emoji to let your loyal followers know that you fully sympathise with their #Mondayblues.

There are currently over 700 characters available on the keyboard, ranging from perfectly retro smiley faces and love hearts in every colour of the rainbow to international flags and an array of culinary treats. Different to emoticons (which look like this: 🙂), Emoji has recently undergone an update and now also includes same-sex families and a whole host of multicultural ‘people’. Meanwhile, Instagram has also updated its platform to enable emoji hash tagging. At one time these symbols may have indeed just been a pleasant novelty for the younger generations but Emoji is now fast taking over the world with its universal language.

Everybody’s doing it…

Last month Google updated its Mobile Optimization Guidelines and now insists that all websites must be mobile-friendly. Failing to optimise your website for mobile use could leave you demoted to bottom of SEO ranks – the kiss of death for any respectable online business. This regulation revelation is not only a word of warning to you all but also a clear demonstration of the power and significance of the modern-day mobile user.

These tech-savvy mobile users, it seems, are also rather partial to an emoji and with nearly 2 billion smartphone owners worldwide, it comes as no surprise that companies are now looking to its collection of playful characters to increase customer engagement. Free of charge, these tiny pictorial symbols are packing a hefty punch when it comes to digital communication as many big brands are beginning to find out.

Ikea and Footlocker are amongst the big brand names taking advantage of the concept and have used their mountainous budgets to both develop their own version of the keyboard as part of clever marketing strategies. The WWF also saw a fantastic engagement opportunity when they implemented their #EndangeredEmoji campaign in which users could use the various animal symbols to support and donate to their chosen endangered species. The campaign received a resounding reception and raised money towards an incredible cause, all thanks to the menagerie of critters available on the extensive keyboard.

You should be doing it too!

According to a recent study undertaken by leading telecommunications company TalkTalk, 80% of Britons now use Emoji to communicate, with 4 in 10 of those claiming to send messages composed entirely through pictorial characters. So this isn’t just about being ‘down with the kids’, it’s about communicating with your audience on a relatable level. Displaying approachability to your demographic is one the most effective ways of developing links, nurturing relationships and transforming this into those all-important sales.

Adding a little sweetness and light to your social media platforms may be just what it takes to encourage a potential customer to come forward. Wordy posts can come across as intimidating, formal and sometimes boring so some visual stimulation is required to capture the reader’s attention. Scrolling through social feeds has become a habit for many of us (guilty!) and can often be done as an absent minded ritual but a pop of colour or humorous image can snap us out of that hypnotic trance. The digital market is flooded with memes, gifs and infographics so look to the odd vibrant emoji for a refreshing alternative to put a smile on your customers’ face.

But remember…

Emoji isn’t for everybody. If you own a funeral director service, say, throwing the sinister skull symbol out on social media might not be the best idea. In fact, it would be a terrible idea. No, not even the miniature flower bouquet is acceptable here. As tempting as it may be to jump on the bandwagon, these little characters aren’t going to be suitable for every business. Remember to consider your industry and target audience before implementing Emoji in your marketing plan. Oh and one last thing, know where to draw the line. Sure, you want to look clued up but not downright silly!

About The Author

Karl Bilby

We work very closely with our expert accountants to bring you the latest factually correct tax and accounting news. We also enjoy writing about small business news that we hope you find useful!

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