To emoji or not to emoji? [With pro tips!]

emojis image for blog

It’s been word of the year and a movie. The emoji has become a social media darling.

“Because emoji aren’t just a silly way to decorate messages. They’re a complex, robust form of digital language—one that continues to evolve,” says Wired, in their Guide To Emoji Etiquette.

But not everyone agrees. I 👍 them, my daughter 👎 them. And we’re not alone. The use of emoji in digital communication is a hot topic amongst social media users, experts and researchers.

The general consensus seems to be:
• For personal communication: good
• For professional communication: bad
• For social marketing: good, but use with care

Personal communication

More than 90% of us use them. Emoji help us express emotions where text cannot, and replace text altogether. This study has quantified the impact, finding that “the time and effort involved in using emojis may help maintain and enhance social relationships.”

Professional communication

Readers’ Digest calls it an absolute “no no” to use emoji at work, such as in an email to the boss. Why? Because it may make you “seem incompetent,” according to this study. And this study shows that emoji can create miscommunication.

Social media marketing

Experts recommend using emoji to promote your business or brand on social media. Social Media Today reports that emoji generate:

  • 25.4% more engagement on Twitter
  • 57% more likes, 33% more comments, and 33% more shares on Facebook

Top five pro tips

Careful and creative use of emoji can help your business stand out on social media:

1. Keep it fun and simple: Use emoji to promote a stress-free product or service (think fast food not funeral services). The good: You can order online by texting a pizza emoji to Domino’s. The bad: Chevrolet’s overly cryptic “crack the code” campaign.
2. Consider the risks and benefits to your brand: Mitigate the risks by knowing your target audience and using in the right place at the right time.
3. Learn and follow the ever changing rules of emoji etiquette: For example, Reader’s Digest reminds us that used in a list, “order matters” – “we weep first and then we have a broken heart.” And when writing about them, remember “emoji” is both singular and plural (though you can also say “emojis” because the usage is evolving).
4. Avoid miscommunication: Use emojipedia to find the best emoji (and what it means) to promote your message and your brand. For example, you may want to think twice before using the peach, unless you’re actually selling peaches!
5. Don’t go it alone: Learn how other businesses have successfully used emoji in their social media campaigns.

How to use:


How not to use:

chevrolet emoji

The emoji isn’t going anywhere. You can even submit a request for the creation of a new emoji.

I think that’s a good thing. I love that we are creating a new language – and a non-text based one at that (great if you’ve got a reading disability).

Do you love or hate emoji? Do you use them at work, just with friends, or both?

Facebook: To emoji or not to emoji? [With pro tips!]
Twitter: To emoji or not to emoji? [With pro tips!]

[Post by Anne Boys]

6 thoughts on “To emoji or not to emoji? [With pro tips!]

  1. Great blog! I try not to use them at work too often however, I sometimes have clients emailing me using emoji’s and my need to respond with one is just too overbearing lol I don’t think it is completely unprofessional but does depend how and when it is being used. Personally, I cannot live without using emoji’s. I use them every day with friends and family, but it could be rather annoying when you are expecting a great response from someone and all you get is a “Thumbs Up”

  2. Great post, made me giggle! I do not use emoji’s in a professional conversation and only use for personal conversations. Emoji’s can be great and fun to have in a personal conversation. I am addicted to Bitmoji’s these days! Have you tried that?

    Once, I received a resume from a potential applicant and I was amazed to see that on cover letter instead of using words, he tried using real emoji’s to say hi, bye, thumbs up, thumbs down, shuttle driver etc. I scanned his cover letter and till today I show it in a classroom on first day of class telling students what they think as that starts and leads to a great conversation about keeping personal and professional lives away!

    • Hello Anuj, That’s a great story! Just goes to show that emoji are for fun, but if you use them incorrectly it can have a negative affect on your career! Thank so much for your comment, Anne

  3. Great post. I do not use emoji’s at work but have received many communications from colleagues and even some bosses with them. I was not aware there was an etiquette and will be certain to share with those who abuse them.

    • Hello Farrah-May, thank you for your comment. Based on the comments on my post, it seems that lots of people are using emoji at work! Yes, I think it’s good to know the etiquette — just as we follow style guides for writing/editing. Best wishes, Anne

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