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Mission Control / Digital Marketing

Does Using Emojis in Your Social Media Posts Help Attract More Customers?

A look at the psychology behind using emojis and how it can help your business.

MC Emoji Feature

By Drew McCullough

For better or worse, there seems to be an emoji for almost every situation — and more are continually being added. (Recent additions include a green olive, a polar bear, a plunger and an anatomically correct heart.)

Emojis also reach far beyond communication — they’ve crossed over into pop culture as well. Ellen DeGeneres introduced the “Can You Explainy the Emoji Exploji” game on her show years ago. Disney gave us its “As Told By Emoji” YouTube series. We even have The Emoji Movie.

Suffice to say, we love emojis.

But why? What’s the psychology behind those tiny faces and icons that makes us so fond of them? And does that psychology have a place in marketing?

Science Says 👩‍🔬

The scientific explanation is that seeing an emoticon — in this case, a smiley face depicted as :-) — triggers the same response in your brain as when you see a real human face. And that’s just emoticons — emojis look and feel far more human than a combination of typographical elements assembled in the shape of a face.

The simpler way to explain our affinity for emojis is with a cliché: A picture is worth 1,000 words. Emojis help us convey nuances we don’t know how to explain with words. They’re universally understood and help provide context in situations where it’s necessary. They help us be more concise while still allowing us to express our emotions. And, above all, they make words more fun to look at.

Emojis in Marketing 👨🏾‍💻

Using emojis in Facebook posts increases likes by 57%, comments by 33% and shares by 33%, one study showed.

But is the same true when it comes to marketing relayed through your company’s social media posts? Does using emojis help attract more customers, or does it position your company as childish and/or immature?

The short answer is that using emojis in business-related social media posts can help interactions and engagement skyrocket.

Software super-company Adobe published its first-ever Emoji Trend Report in 2019, where it surveyed 1,000 emoji users in the United States. The study found that 44% of people surveyed were more likely to purchase products that are advertised with emojis.

Perhaps the rationale behind why emojis drive consumers to purchase products is because of that human-like connection they help to establish between brands and buyers. Some 80% of the people surveyed in Adobe’s report “believe that people who use emojis are friendlier and more approachable” — and that sentiment extends to brands as well.

It’s interesting to note, then, that a recent HubSpot analysis found that of the five emojis most likely to increase engagement (at least in their study), none of them are “friendly” faces:

  1. 🙆
  2. 🍒
  3. 🐠
  4. 💃
  5. 🌤
Perhaps it’s the novelty factor at play here — or perhaps because these come across as more “fun.” “Users have more fun engaging with your content and you begin to gain their trust” when using emojis, says Astra Digital, a digital marketing agency. And, of course, more brand loyalty means more conversions.

Platform Breakdown 📊

Not all social media platforms are created equal, so it’s helpful to know the differences between the big three: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Facebook: Featuring at least one emoji in a Facebook post provides an astonishingly higher engagement rate than those that don’t. British marketing company Zazzle Media found that using emojis in Facebook posts increases likes by 57%, comments by 33% and shares by 33%.

Twitter: Tweets that feature at least one emoji can boost engagement by as much as 25.4%, according to a study by online advertising company WordStream. Emojis pay off even more when it comes to paid advertising on the platform, as Twitter rewards posts that get higher engagement with a lower cost per engagement. As such, tweets with at least one emoji can decrease the cost per engagement by as much as 22.2%.

Instagram: Social media analytics company Quintly analyzed 5.5 million Instagram posts in January 2017 and found that those with at least one emoji averaged 47.7% more interactions than those without any.

The bottom line: Using emojis in your company’s social media posts helps to humanize your brand and provides an invaluable way to engage more with both prospects and current customers. And at the end of the day, brand exposure and awareness really are priceless. 🙂

Drew Mc Cullough Overlay Blue
Drew McCullough Editor

Drew comes to Casual Astronaut with a decade of media experience that includes everything from producing videos to writing blog posts to editing print publications. He’s covered sports, science, general news and business throughout his career, which has helped him hone the ability to connect with a wide variety of audiences on a wide range of topics.

A sports junkie at heart, Drew is a former online sports producer at the Arizona Daily Star. Although he earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Arizona and his master’s degree from Arizona State University, Drew is a Wildcat through and through. Outside of work, he can be found cheering on the Seahawks or frolicking outdoors with his wife and their son and dog.

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