Apple just added 200 new emojis for iPhone users. Why? And should we be using emojis in our social media marketing?

Social media marketing can be fun too.

Messaging is important, and brands that want to stand out often use emojis, those cute little button type things that express emotions like sadness or happiness, as well as thoughts and platitudes. They are great fun, and they’ve been growing in number ever since their first appearance. Now Apple has given the iphone 200 new emojis as part of its iOS update. And we were wondering, are emojis still relevant to social media marketing?

How it all started

A Japanese marketing agency is responsible for unleashing emojis on the world. Back in the 1990s, they were introduced as a way of avoiding having to use typography icons. The typographic icons are still used today but nowhere near as much as emojis are.

The whole point of emojis was to give a little bit of life and personality to the typographic emoticons, which were cool, but just didn’t exactly pop off the page.

Then in 2011, Apple made emojis a part of the iOS keyboard, which meant that iPhone users (as well as iPad users) could add fun and brevity to their messaging.

Currently, there are 1620 emojis available on the iOS keyboard and Apple has been adding new ones every year since that first keyboard update. They are fun and can communicate concepts and ideas quicker than text, which is all great stuff.

But should we be using them in marketing?

Well, should we?

First up, it had to be said that emojis have one thing going for them that sometimes even words don’t. Emojis can add depth and emotion to a message, and with most of marketing tapping into some kind of consumer emotion, it makes sense to think about using emojis that can tap into feelings quicker. This could mean something as simple as making audiences feel nostalgic for a product or a time associated with a product, for example.

Larry Kim at Wordstream, way back in 2018, discussed how an emoji can be ‘worth a thousand words’. And that is true. If you think about how marketing on social media has to be immediate and urgent enough to push the right customer buttons instantly, a great use of emojis can really help push that message out effectively.

Kim also focused on the incredible fact that tweets with emojis get up to 25% more engagement than tweets without. So there’s your proof that emojis actually count for something, and can increase engagement.

However, at the same time, he also speaks about not being a ‘cheeseball’ with emojis. Essentially, if you use emojis in the wrong way, it can have a detrimental effect. With great power comes great responsibility, in other words.

Contextual relevance is the key. If you can use an emoji with a focus on what actually makes sense to the audience and to the context, you are doing it right.

When an audience trusts your brand, then they are more likely to buy from you. They are also more likely to recommend your brand to their friends. This is all very important, and using emojis makes you more human. With that humanising comes trust.

Better engagement

Think about when you use emojis with family and friends. They work for a simple reason, they’re engaging. This is exactly the same way they work with audiences. Use the right emoji in the right context and you have engagement.

Emojis are great for adding extra context too. Using an emoji to reinforce a message makes perfect sense. A goodwill message to your loyal customers alongside a ‘fistbump’ emoji can have a huge impact.

It will always be a good idea to use an emoji in social media marketing. For example, using an emoji when asking someone to disagree or agree with what you are saying (thumbs up or thumbs down) can really bring little fun and easy engagement too.

But the real reason why emojis on iOS are important right now is the move towards mobile. We say ‘move’, but really mobile has been growing massively for years now. With emojis on mobile, people can quickly use their emoji keyboard to respond to messaging. It is just easy to do.

And when Apple decides to add more things, they know it is easy to do. That is why they have done it.

So yes, we should be using emojis in our marketing if we want to make even more progress on the road towards engagement on mobile. Apple thinks so, so it must be the right thing to do.

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