Should You Be Using Emoji to Engage With Members?

Despite the symbols’ reputation as being fun or offbeat, people are increasingly comfortable with them in professional environments—and more likely to open messages with emojis in the subject line.

Emoji—which, by the way, are managed and decided upon by a nonprofit—are becoming the internet’s lingua franca. And that means that they could prove a key tool for marketers looking to get a point across in an effective way.

In fact, they might get people to open up your email or buy your products more often. According to a July report from the creative software company Adobe, 44 percent of emoji users said they were more likely to buy a product advertised with an emoji, while 58 percent said they would be more likely to open a message with a friendly emoji in the subject line.

And don’t let their reputation as being fun deter you from using them in a professional setting. The Adobe Emoji Trend Report found that 61 percent of respondents use emoji at work, and respondents found that the symbols improved likability (78 percent) and credibility (63 percent) in discussion.

“As we look to the future, emojis will play a key role in advancing communication to create a more connected world,” the company’s Dan Rhatigan wrote in a blog post.

So are emoji fair game for associations? In a recent interview with the marketing news outlet BizReport, Sitel Group Head of Digital Strategy James Lee argued that there was a clear entryway for associations to embrace emoji, even if the intended audience is professional in nature.

“Since emojis are an aspect of communication that most people use in their personal lives, it can be a smooth transition to use them within businesses,” Lee told the outlet. “The biggest challenge for businesses when implementing visual communication using emojis, memes, gifs, etc. is thinking outside of the box.”

Associations have found creative ways to do just that. For example, Avocados From Mexico used the addition of an avocado to the official emoji list as a marketing opportunity for which it launched a microsite, while the Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography created emoji specifically for its industry, which it called “sonomoji.” These strategies speak toward the goal of broader engagement with the public.

But just because emoji are popular doesn’t mean you definitely should use them—because they can always backfire. In a Forbes blog post, Leanplum Senior Vice President of Global Marketing Joyce Solano noted that it was important to take a close look at your analytics when testing a new emoji with your audience.

“Watch your campaign analytics closely to stay on top of negative reactions like decreased engagement, and pay special attention to potential tradeoffs,” Solano wrote. “These insights will help optimize each campaign and gear your brand up for success.”

If you’re using emoji as a part of your marketing or engagement efforts, tell us how in the comments.

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

Got an article tip for us? Contact us and let us know!