Copywriting for Social Media Guide

Find out the secrets behind successful social media posts.

Emojis – When to Use Them

This is Chapter 7, Part 2 from the Copywriting for Social Media Guide. ​

Let’s talk about emojis, our fun friends on social media. 😊 But before we dive into the details, we need to make sure everyone gets the difference between emojis and emoticons. No, they are not one and the same thing. 😛

What are emoticons? Emoticons are punctuation marks, letters, and numbers used to create pictorial icons that generally display an emotion or sentiment. Remember the good old days when you were using them? 🙂 😉 :* :p 😀

But it’s time to move on and enjoy the new emoji trend – because, my friend, this trend is here to stay. Not that you wouldn’t already know, but just for the sake of doing it, let’s define emojis. 

Emoji (from the Japanese e, “picture,” and moji, “character”) are pictographs of faces, objects, and symbols. You know… the distinct style of Apple’s emoji: yellow cartoon faces with different expressions, as well as families, buildings, animals, food, objects, mathematical symbols, and many more like this:


An important thing worth taking note of is that a certain emoji can look different based on the platform it is used on.

In fact, researchers at the University of Minnesota have recently published a studyinvestigating the potential for miscommunication using emoji across different platforms, networks and devices. Look:


✍️ Bottom line:

  • If you bump into a smiley face that contains a character you can find on your computer keyboard, it’s an emoticon :). In case it’s a little cartoon figure that is free from the binds of punctuation, numbers, and letters, it’s obviously an emoji. 😎
  • Careful with the emoji use on the different social platforms, networks and devices. 😉

Why are emojis an important part of visual marketing?

In social media today, all digital marketers are really counting on the use of visual marketing. In fact, marketing experts often highlight the importance of hooking your audience up with powerful visuals on social. Now, in order to stand out on social, you need to work on your branding while also focusing on creating a distinct visual presence.

And guess what? Emojis are definitely an important part of the online social communication. Actually, studies show that 92% of online consumers use them. 😮 So, reduce word count when creating your copy and make your message look less cluttered and more visually attractive with emojis.

Benefits of using emojis

Everybody can understand emoji language

Emojis are international – everyone understands their meaning. Therefore, it’s easy to send an emotion, express a feeling, grab attention and even tell a story on social by using these adorable inventions called emojis. 😊

They can help you reach millennials

As you know millennials and the generations following them grew up with the online messaging/social platforms – therefore emojis are basically like a second language for them. And you, the copywriter (if you aren’t a millennial 😐) need to learn this language and discover how to use it properly on social.

According to a study 75% of men and 84% of women respondents think emojis are a better way to express emotions than words. So, yeah, there’s no way out of it, you need to use emojis. If needed call a millennial friend and ask for help. 😛

Emojis can humanize your business

Although millennials grew up with emojis, it’s not just them who love using them. Actually, almost everyone uses emojis.

When businesses start using emojis online, what they do is humanize their brand. People will feel like talking to real people on social, which helps creating engagement and relationships with your target audience. In the end, what shows ‘real’ more than a well-placed emoji, right? 🤗

Boost engagement

Being informal, emojis help your audience engage with greater ease. Obviously emojis shouldn’t be used as a replacement for personal conversation, however, when used properly, they do have the ability to lighten the mood. 😉

As a brand, try to get people to associate positive emotions with your business and products. And the best way you can achieve this is to use happy emojis. 😃

So, whatever you do, make sure not to generate any negative emotions when it comes to your brand and target audience. Keep it real, but positive.

How to use emojis on Social Media

Stay consistent to your branding – tie emojis to your brand

Including emojis in your marketing plan is a great idea as they can make you sound fun and less strict as a brand. However, what you need to pay attention to is to keep the context of your posts. What do we mean?

Well, if you are a Management or IT company, don’t start posting smiling face with heart-eyes 😍, face blowing a kiss 😘, or unicorn emojis 🦄 to reach your audience. No one will take you seriously. 😑

So, what you can do is find emojis that express your domain activity, or simply go with the good old smiley faces and thumbs up. 😊👍 You can never fail with these.

Use emojis in your posts and comments

Using emojis when trying to connect with your audience is a smart move. So, when you leave a comment on social or when you are engaging with your consumers in messages, go for it. Using emojis in such situations will help build a faster connection with your audience.

✍️ Bottom line: Use emojis for real-time engagements. You can also use emojis in your social post copy as well as in call-to-actions. 👍

Starting each paragraph with a relevant emoji can be fun, like this:


Use emojis the right way – make sure it makes sense

While including emojis in your social media marketing is great, you need to make sure you are using them where it actually makes sense.

You know what they say: there’s a time and a place… even when it comes to emojis. When you are in a situation that should be taken seriously, there’s no way you should take that situation lightly by using emojis.

Here’s an example of wrong emoji use… well, requirement (in this case):


I guess you can understand why this Hillary Clinton tweet became famous… not good famous, obviously. 😑

So, when you want to use emojis, consider the tone of voice, context and what word would it replace. Don’t just throw in emojis for the sake of doing it with no regard to the situation you are in. You can really just make things worse, instead of adding value to your post copy.

Something to consider in today’s emoji hype.

The DON’Ts of emojis

❌ If they don’t make sense, don’t use them – they’ll add no value to your post if they don’t complement the message you want to send

❌ In case you think someone might be offended by your emoji, avoid using one

❌ If you can’t figure out what emoji you should be using in the context of your message, chances are you don’t need to use one. So just skip the emoji.

❌ Consider limiting the number of emojis you use in one post. A maximum of 4 emojis should do the trick. More than 4 may just be too much and annoying. Keep some for your next post. 😉

❌ Make sure to research the meaning of the emoji you want to use in your copy. This way you’ll avoid any surprises and meaning you may not have been aware of. You could try Emojipedia to get the details you need about a certain specific emoji.

✍️ Bottom line:

Consider your tone of voice, context and target audience when deciding on the emojis you want to use. And always rely on your marketing strategy – this will help you stay in line with your social media marketing plan, which obviously will or won’t include emojis.

Many of the forward-thinking companies are into using emojis to connect with their target audience. And, it’s a good practice because it provides some creative, unique brand building.

And, the general results of using emojis on the social platforms are worth being noted:

  • Facebook: 57% more likes, 33% more comments, and 33% more shares
  • Instagram:  50% of all comments and captions contain emojis
  • Twitter: 25.4% more engagement

Also, according to science when we look at a smiley emoji, the same parts of the brain are activated as when we look at an actual real human face. As it turns out emojis have the ability to change our mood. Even more, it seems that we may even change our expression when we look at an emoji, to match the emotion of the emoji we are looking at. Simply, wow!

So, ready to turn on the emoji button? 😛😎😃😟✋☝👌😁

👇 Examples of how brands are using emojis:




Copywriting for Social Media
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