By Justin H.
As with any new and fun creation in this world, novelty inevitably wears off. Think about that barrel of monkeys you played with as a kid or the video game you just had to have for Christmas. They were fun for five minutes before you moved onto the next toy or gadget.
Sometimes this hedonic treadmill we all live on stops for something truly great that we still love after those initial five minutes. Of course, I am talking about the glory of emojis.
These cute little faces are commonly associated with texting on smartphones, but as that novelty went out the window, their unprofessional and childish stigma went out right along with it. We have previously detailed how Google has put the personality back into email by adding emojis and new themes to Gmail. See? Even huge, influential tech companies are jumping on the smiley face bandwagon.
When iOS 10 is released, we will be blessed with 74 brand new emojis! How we've survived this long without an avocado emoji, I simply don't know. The year 2015 also brought us the Kim Kardashian emojis, which you can purchase as well if you hate yourself.
But why stop there? Emojis aren’t only used to add charisma to a conversation. They are also vital tools when it comes to boosting a brand or business.
Why So Serious? Show Your Customers and Employees the Real You
Imagine texting somebody you don’t know all that well as opposed to messaging your best friend. Your buddy will surely understand all of your sarcasm or quips, whereas they could go right over the head of a new compadre. This ideology is just as applicable in the workplace as it is amongst your friends.
When it comes to written communication, many aspects such as tone, humor and emotions can easily get lost in translation. Emojis serve as a subtle way of emphasizing whatever mood you would like to convey.
According to Will Schwalbe, co-author of the email etiquette book Send: Why People Email So Badly and How to Do It Better, “The biggest problem about all electronic communication is that it’s toneless. In the absence of tone, people read negative tone into it.”
Quick history lesson: It is believed that the first ever Internet emoticon was sent by professor Scott Fahlman of Carnegie Mellon University at 11:44 a.m. on Sep. 19, 1982. On a computer science department bulletin board, he simply posted, “I propose that the following character sequence for joke markers: :-). Read it sideways. Actually, it is probably more economical to mark things that are NOT jokes, given current trends. For this, use: :-(.“
This certainly foreshadowed a trend. The way businesses communicate with their customers is shifting. Social media and live chat are more common than ever before, while the good old fashioned email still maintains its professional importance. What better way to establish a friendly working relationship with a customer than with some light-hearted smileys?
The same goes for around the office. If you get an email from upper management stating, “Meeting at 3. Don’t be late,” you can pretty much assume you’re all getting fired. However, “Meeting at 3. Don’t be late B)” implies you are all doing great, and you can look forward to a simple gathering to discuss how awesome you all are. Sunglasses optional.
Establish Your Brand on Social Media
Obviously, there is a time and place for emojis. If a customer has a complaint or if you are exchanging emails with a client or business associate for the first time, handle it professionally and without emojis.
However, social media is that time and place to get your emoji on.
Instagram reports show that nearly half of all captions and comments on the photo-sharing site now contain at least one emoji. This other emoji study from Fusion.net shows which 10 emojis were most popular, with the always enjoyable heart ❤ earning top billing. If your business is looking to build a strong presence on everyone’s favorite photo platform, it might be time to get serious about emojis.
Emojis are not exclusive to Instagram, either. This University of Cambridge study analyzed over 31 million tweets and 500,000 Facebook posts, also finding that the use of positive emojis linked to social power. Considering how smartphones have overthrown desktops when it comes to Internet searches (and the fact that most people update Facebook and tweet from on mobile), having social power and developing your brand is crucial.
Google+ takes the emoji game one step further. If you include emojis in your Google+ post, they will show up in Google search results. We knew you were hip, Google!
Social media is supposed to be exactly that: social! You can’t be social without showing emotions and being relatable. It behooves businesses that target millennials to embrace emojis across the board. Including one in a simple tweet or Facebook post every now and then could be all it takes to humanize your brand and appeal to your niche market.
Implementing emojis into the workplace can have an array of positive impacts. Your emails will be more pleasant. Your brand will be more fun. Those social media accounts will be more interactive. These little faces could be all it takes to have your customers, followers and employers all looking much more like a happy emoji!
Do you send emojis at work or use them in your marketing strategy? If so, in what capacity? Feel free to let us know in the comment section!
*Editor’s note: This post was originally published in July 2015 and has been completely revamped and updated.