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World Emoji day: Why a picture packs a punch

If you’ve ventured on to social media today, chances are you’ve already noticed things look a little more colourful than usual.

In an era where it seems everything that’s ever been invented needs its own official day, today is World Emoji Day (look closely at the date on the calendar emoji and you’ll see why).

What started out as an occasional smiley face is now a worldwide phenomenon and a language of its own. A simple J will no longer cut it. As of this month there are 2,823 approved emojis.

According to Emojipedia, the people behind today’s activities, nearly one billion messages containing nothing more than emojis are sent every day on Facebook alone.

The rise in social media platforms over the past decade has been greater than anyone could have predicted and emojis are an intrinsic part of that cultural phenomenon. They say a picture paints a thousand words, and in the world of social media where those words are limited, emojis cut through the waffle and get straight to the point.

Giving new meaning to vegetables

Take the humble aubergine. Who’d have thought the purple vegetable could have taken on such meaning?

But what does this mean for those of us working in the communications field? Is the art of carefully-crafted copy really dead or should we embrace the new opportunities they offer?

I would argue the latter. Rather than wringing our hands about the decline in literary standards we should be looking at how we can integrate the emoji into our arsenal of communications tools.

A social media strategy should already be a bread and butter part of your communications plans – whether that be for engaging with internal or external audiences – and emojis are an integral part of this.

While no-one’s suggesting filling your social feeds with aubergines (unless you have a very niche product!), the emoji should not be ignored, and a sprinkling of strategically placed emojis can add real value to a campaign.

Remember your audience

One of the golden rules for communicators is to use language that your target audience can relate to, and the statistics behind emojis make it very clear where they can come in handy.

According to Emojipedia, 86% of emoji users on Twitter are 24 or younger, and 57% of them are women. But they are also great for wider audience inclusion – direct, simple and easily understandable, emojis are universal.

They are also a great barometer for what’s current. A look at the new emojis added to IOS by Apple each year is a fascinating slice of contemporary culture.

The next update, due in the autumn, includes a llama and ‘leafy green’. But, perhaps reassuringly, the most-used emoji remains ‘face with tears of joy’.

Obviously, their use in corporate communications needs to be carefully considered. Get the tone wrong and you could have a complete PR disaster on your hands, but get it right and you could boost the impact and reach of your message significantly. This study found that emoji use on Instagram posts boosted engagement by almost 50%.

If you’d like to refresh your social media strategy, need help writing and scheduling posts, or are simply looking for an extra pair of hands for your comms team, we can help. Contact us today.

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