Emojis became popular in casual texting between friends and family years ago, but they’re finding a place in professional communications as well. These colorful, expressive icons–from smiley faces to winks and hearts–are popping up in marketing campaigns and workplace emails, text messages, and social media. So how fluent is your emoji-talk and how much should you use them in your business?
To Use or Not to Use Emojis
Though it seems like everyone uses them, you have to remember that not all your clients will understand the icons, creating the potential for miscommunicating or for appearing unprofessional. A University of Missouri-St. Louis study tested how the “smiley face” emoji was perceived in a work-related email versus a social media to determine the level of tolerance for emojis in the workplace. Researchers discovered that in both instances, the emoji made the email recipient like the sender more and feel as though the sender liked them more.
Avoid Using Them When the Topic Is Serious
If your buyer’s home inspector uncovered mold in the house they’ve put an offer on, it’s not the time to text a smiley face. “Emojis aren’t appropriate when they detect a negative side to the transaction,” California Association of REALTORS® President Ziggy Zicarelli says.
Use Them on Social Media
Using Facebook’s “Reactions” emoticons on posts or incorporating emojis into your tweets may actually bring more attention, some studies say. According to a study in the UK, “Emoticons and Phrases: Status Symbols in Social Media,” researchers found that individuals who use emojis– positive ones, in particular—tend to be more popular or influential on Twitter.
Don’t Overdo It
“If you’re using [emojis] as substitute for words and not giving your message the content it deserves, you could upset your customer,” Marchetti says. You could also be viewed as lazy. “Emojis can be a fun way to add emotional, demonstrative context to things, but it’s not a complete substitute 100 percent of the time. Transactions are too complex and sophisticated for that. Once the offer is accepted, that is good news, and that’s when a fun emoji may be more appropriate. With bad news from a transaction, however, it’s always best to deliver that over the phone or in person, and don’t make light of the situation.”