Emojis—heart-shaped eyes and twinkling hearts might not seem like much, but to Millennials, they’re everything.
Why should you care? The emoji phenomenon has real implications for business. With Millennials possessing $200B+ in annual spending power, engaging the Millennial demographic is now more important than ever.
If you want to engage them, you’ll have to speak their language—of which emojis are a primary part. But with 1,800+ emoji symbols supported on current platforms, the task is easier said than done. And there’s nothing more embarrassing than an emoji faux pas.
Luckily, here to guide you in the treacherous realm of emojis is one Millennial native, who is actually an emoji app developer giving us an inside look at emojis straight from the source.
Meet Thomas Ma, a recent college grad and the co-founder of Sapphire Apps, which creates custom-branded emoji keyboards for celebrities and influencers. Though the company launched just one year ago, Sapphire Apps boasts an impressive rolodex of clients, including Lindsay Lohan, Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman, and YouTube sensation Bart Baker, who has 9M+ subscribers.
This week on the Unconventional Life Podcast, Ma shares how brands can leverage emojis to increase brand awareness and engagement among Millennials.
According to Ma, he was able to enroll high-profile clientele as a startup company with cold emails because of the sheer amount of Millennial interest there is around emojis.
“Imagine you are a celebrity with 1M followers. I would contact your agent and say ‘Hey, I noticed you have a lot of followers and that’s great but you can do better if you have a personalized app with your name on it’,” Ma says.
The emoji insider says all brands today can benefit from becoming emoji-savvy and implementing them in strategic ways. The average client Ma works with experiences a surge in visibility and engagement after introducing emojis, which ultimately boosts revenue.
Below, learn seven powerful ways you can use emojis to grow your business.
1. Put Emojis In Email Subject Lines. Brands who use emoji in their subject line experience a 56% higher open rate than brands who don’t. Emojis stand out in a crowded inbox—they are compelling and eye-catching. Plus, they can convey emotion and save space on a subject line, helping you target 49 characters or less to increase click-through rate by 75%. Make sure the emojis you use are relevant to your subject, and remember fewer emojis are better.
2. Introduce Emoji Hashtags. If you want to engage your social media audience, using emojis in a hashtag can help increase your brand awareness drastically. The American Music Awards #AMAs hashtags featuring emojis of stars like Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, and One Direction generated 14 billion impressions. Create a signature emoji hashtag for your brand to promote more engagement.
3. Create An Emoji Call To Action. Remember when Domino’s Pizza gave customers the ability to place an order by texting a pizza emoji and it went viral? Talk about understanding your customer. You can replicate Domino’s success by introducing an emoji call to action for your brand. Pair an emoji with a popular product you sell and allow customers to rapid-order the product by sending your company a text via cell phone or Facebook Messenger.
4. Get Rapid Customer Feedback. Emojis are ‘fast data’—they can help you understand how your customer feels in an instant. “There’s a huge data implication around emojis,” says Rob Pace, founder of the tech platform HundredX, which recently launched an app that collects customer feedback through emojis. You can capitalize on emojis to help you improve your products and services by sending out surveys with emotion-based emojis.
5. Launch A Branded Emoji. There’s a reason why top companies like General Electric, Dove, Mentos, and Comedy Central have released branded emoji keyboards. They allow you to connect and relate to your audience in a more personal way, ultimately leading to more sales. Not to mention, you can retail a branded emoji keyboard on the app store as an additional revenue stream—messaging app Line generates $270M+ a year through emoji sticker sales.
“When I got in touch with a couple of our early clients, I told them they needed to take advantage of this great opportunity. We launched 3 [custom-branded] apps this year,” Ma says.
6. Don’t Go Overboard. While emojis can help your brand, they can also hurt it when used incorrectly. When Goldman Sachs tweeted 20+ emojis in a single tweet, user’s comments indicated they weren’t impressed; many were put off and felt the company was trying too hard. Be tactful in your emoji usage by limiting your content to just a few emojis.
7. Lean Towards Popular Emojis. In order to get the most engagement, use popular emojis that your audience will recognize and love. Obscure emojis are less likely to result in engagement, so steer clear. 2016’s most popular emojis were the laughing face with tears, the red heart, and the clapping hands. The most-used emojis change by month, according to seasons and holidays, so factor festivity into your emoji content for the best results.
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