From grandmas to teens, it’s pretty clear that these days, just about everyone has incorporated emojis into their digital language. In fact, 92% of the world’s online population are using emojis on a regular basis, which is probably why Oxford Dictionaries made “emoji” it’s word of the year in 2015.
Driving engagement for organic social media has long been a guessing game for many marketers, but including thoughtful emojis can help audiences quickly connect with posts. In fact, some have found that Tweets including emojis earned 25% percent higher engagement than those without.
Domino’s made headlines a few years back as an early adopter of emojis. Their emoji ordering system may not have revolutionized the way we order pizza, but it definitely made a splash in social media marketing news. And this year, Domino’s reminded their fans that they can still order via emoji, getting still more mileage out of a years old campaign.
The often bizarre official Twitter account for Hot Pockets did not disappoint. Their super simple, but on-brand Tweet drove a lot of likes and comments, most of which Hot Pockets responded to in their typical, irreverent brand voice. Why waste words when two well-placed emojis are all you need to get the conversation started?
Fun and games
It’s no secret that gamification based content is one of the most effective ways to drive engagement and help audiences quickly digest complicated information, with some studies suggesting that gamification can increase engagement metrics by as much as 150%. Some of the smartest brands on Twitter used World Emoji Day to get their followers playing along and may have even taught them a thing or two in the process.
NASA used World Emoji Day to turn what might have been a panic-inducing pop quiz in science class into a fun way to interact with fans by turning emojis into clues for questions about the planets.
The interactive Harry Potter site, Pottermore, incorporated emojis seamlessly into its social strategy by recreating scenes from Harry Potter novels using only emojis and inviting fans to guess which book they came from. Their emoji-filled game garnered thousands of engagements.
Television’s The Office took the emoji game one step further, recreating a classic scene from the show in a few well-stacked emojis and leaving fans to fill in the scene in the gifs below. Excitement came from getting the reference rather than explicitly being invited to play a game.
A recent study found that frequently, people use emojis to convey their feelings more clearly, which means they’re probably seeking clarity when looking at others’ emoji use as well. So when brands use emojis in ways that don’t seem to match their general message, confusion ensues.
While some brands did an excellent job engaging audiences and expressing their message through emojis, other attempts were pretty baffling. For example, the U.S. Department of Defense created a pretty odd video featuring animated animals quoting outdated pop culture references (we’d all pretty much forgotten about “What Does the Fox Say,” right?). Twitter users were pretty much confused about what the message had to do with defense. Relevance is an important part of emoji marketing. Audiences hate inauthenticity and generally reject any message that doesn’t feel connected to the brand.
The U.S. Army also, inexplicably tried to get in on the emoji action by using cartoonish emoji faces to take the place of actual U.S. soldiers, inviting critics to bombard the comments sections with gruesome, emoji-dotted photos relating to past military scandals.
Many brands had the same idea for their World Emoji Day campaigns: lobbying for their own emoji. After about the fourth ask for a chocolate milk or tapir emoji, the bit started to feel a little tired. Not to mention the fact that it seems a little strange for the library to ask for a specific emoji when so many other opportunities to bring books to life through emojis exist.
For emojis to boost a brand, they have to add value to the post, and sounding exactly like everyone else could mean followers keep scrolling.
What were your favorite #WorldEmojiDay posts?