If you’ve received a text message recently, chances are pretty high it included an emoji. Emojis, which evolved from the simple emoticon, have become so popular that the Oxford English Dictionary named the “Face with Tears of Joy” emoji (?) its 2015 “word” of the year. (One of the main reasons they cited was a dramatic increase in the use of emojis.)
The emoji has even taken over social-media platforms. Facebook has long had a “Like” button, allowing users to easily react to posts without having to type comments. However, users have long requested a “Dislike” button for content that they don’t feel comfortable liking. Rather than just add a “Dislike” option, Facebook chose to include the more expansive Facebook Reactions (right). Facebook has allowed stickers in their Messenger product for a long time, but the launch of Reactions has started a shift in the user experience.
On Twitter, branded hashtag emojis are gaining a lot of traction with both brands and users. (For those who don’t know, a branded emoji is added to a tweet by using a specific hashtag.) Twitter made these extremely popular when they automatically added #StarWarsEmojis to people’s tweets when “Starwars: The Force Awakens” was released. Twitter has also had success with branded emojis for the #AMAs. The platform saw an extreme increase in online engagement for both topics, all because they incorporated emojis.
So can emojis help an association better engage members? Absolutely! AssociationsNow has blogged about how emojis can help associations with advocacy work and having conversations about diversity. Emojis are also a perfect way to engage millennials.
Here are some tips for using emojis as part of your association’s social-media strategy:
- Use emojis in Facebook posts and tweets, either to convey emotion (?) or to save space (like using ? instead of the word “calendar” or ❤️ in place of “love”).
- Start associating an emoji with your organization. For example, ? could be used for the Financial Planning Association and ☕️ for the National Coffee Association.
- Don’t overwhelm your readers with emojis. A good rule of thumb is to use three or fewer. Emojis are all about simplicity, so keep it short and sweet.
- Sneak them into “real life” at your events—on stickers, keychains, or other “swag”, or by making them edible (think cookies, cakes, cupcakes, suckers, etc.).
One small note: Emojis can appear slightly different across platforms, so what you see on a Mac might not be exactly the same on an Android or Windows product.
Take a minute and share with us the emoji you think works best for your association. Remember to keep it short and sweet!