World Emoji Day: 3 Innovative Ways to Use Emojis In Digital Marketing

Happy World Emoji Day! Today is the day to celebrate the small, expressive images that the world uses to communicate every single day. Whether we want to communicate that we want a fast food lunch, 🍔 🍟 🤤, or to remind your friend not to cry over spilled milk, 🚫 😢 🍼 💦, emojis are a simple and fun way to get your point across.

On Facebook alone, over 700 million emojis are used every day in Facebook posts. If you think that emojis are only exclusive to a few countries, think again. There’s a reason that today is World Emoji Day. In fact, in honor of World Emoji Day, Facebook has revealed the top emojis broken down by country.

Chart of the top emojis used by each country.

(I personally love that all of these top emojis are positive. They’re either laughing, celebrating, or sending some love.)

Emojis were first invented in 1999, but not widely adopted until 2011, in part due to the increase in social media use. Emojis are so commonly used that linguistics experts in the United Kingdom claim that Emoji is now the fastest growing language in the UK!

Celebration emoji with confetti.When is World Emoji Day?

World Emoji Day is celebrated annually on July 17 because this is the day displayed on the calendar emoji: 📅

July 17 is used for the calendar emoji because that is the day that iCal premiered at the MacWorld conference in 2002, and  Emoji Day has been celebrated on July 17 since 2014.

Since then, big names like Facebook, TIME Magazine, and even the Empire State Building have joined in on the fun and celebrated World Emoji Day.

Examples of big names celebrating World Emoji Day.

Source: Facebook.com, Facebook.com/EmpireStateBuilding, Time.com

According to Brandwatch’s recent report, The Emoji Report, the volume of tweets containing a brand name and an emoji has grown by 49% since September 2015. The biggest brands in the world have recognized that 95% of humans online have used emojis and implemented the language into their marketing efforts. Let’s take a look at some examples of these emoji campaigns and how you can use emojis in your digital marketing efforts to help appeal to the next generation of consumers.

Using Emojis to Appeal to Generation Z

Generation Z is the next generation of consumers and higher education students. Compared to Millennials, Generation Z has an even keener eye for advertising strategies that are trying a bit too hard to relate. Keep in mind here that Generation Z is projected to make up 40% of all consumers by 2020.  That’s right, almost half of consumers will be made up of people born between 1995 and 2010. So how can you use emojis correctly to connect with this large chunk of the market?

🎥 Video

Video is definitely the king of content. Pair video with the use of emojis (or Memojis in this case) to help get your point across and you may have a wildly successful piece of content. One of my favorite examples of using emojis in an entertaining and attention-grabbing way comes from Snoop Dogg and Hims.

Snoop Dogg is a top influencer himself, but his Memoji is even more attention-grabbing. Emojis are even used throughout the video when he refers to ‘playas’, ‘cribs’, and talking about how much money you’ll save.

Next time you create video content, especially for social media, consider how emojis might play a role. What topic can you use emojis to explain? They can be used as a modern version of the audience cue card to let your viewers know when to laugh 😂, cry 😢, or even ponder 🤔 a topic you are discussing.

📧 Emails and Press Releases

While emojis are the most popular form of social media communication, they should be used wisely. One example of going overboard with emojis comes from a 2015 Chevrolet press release:

“Words alone can’t describe the new 2016 Chevrolet Cruze, so to celebrate its upcoming reveal, the media advisory is being issued in emoji, the small emotionally expressive digital images and icons in electronic communication. Try and decode this news or watch for the decoder at 2 p.m. EDT on Tuesday. #ChevyGoesEmoji”

2015 Chevrolet Press Release written exclusively with emojis.

Source: Chevrolet

Did you read the press release? Did you understand it?

The major takeaway from this PR blunder is that emojis, while they are used by almost everyone, should be used sparingly – especially when communicating your brand’s important messages.

Emails and press releases remain the more formal forms of  today’s communication. That being said, emojis can positively impact your email marketing campaigns. According to The AppBoy Emoji Study, open rates for emails containing emojis in their subject line have increased 15% year-over-year.

As I’ve said, emails are a professional form of communication – meaning that less is more. Using an emoji can help your subject line and body copy cut through the dullness of an inbox. For example, using a ❤️ in the subject line of a Valentine’s Day campaign will help your email stand out from the rest.

It can be extremely easy to go overboard with emojis in the body copy of an email. Instead, pick one or two emojis to help highlight key points throughout your copy or drive attention to your call-to-action.

For example, Circa’s upcoming webinar email campaign could look like this:

What You’ll Learn:

✅ Understand the current and future opportunity of Artificial Intelligence and its place in higher education

✅ Learn why chatbots and AI-driven platforms are going to change the way we engage with prospective students

✅ See how you can scale your team with the help of intelligent engagement

✅ Understand the cost savings associated with leveraging this technology

✅Learn how AI can help connect with students on an emotional level

📲 Social Media

Social media was in fact the catalyst for the immense popularity of emojis. That being said, brands must be more creative than ever when using emojis in order to appeal to the largest audience possible.

One innovative use of emojis that I’ve witnessed is in Facebook and Instagram ads – especially in higher education. What better way to appeal to the next generation of students than by using emojis that inspire them to take the next step in furthering their education? 👩‍🎓 👨‍🎓 🎓 📜

Facebook Ad for Tulane University's Masters of Social Work program that uses a muscle emoji.

When Circa’s PPC and creative teams worked together to created a new paid social campaign for Tulane University’s Master of Social Work program, they wanted to implement a fresh and standout tactic: Emojis. In this case, they’ve followed the rule of less is more. By adding the 💪 emoji the ad not only catches their audience’s eye, but effectively emphasizes the feeling of empowerment and resilience – the exact emotions they are looking to coerce from their audience to inspire them to continue their education in social work.

When using emojis in social media ads it is important to follow the same rules as emails. Use emojis sparingly to highlight keywords and phrases or call-to-actions.

There are more than 2,800 emojis at your fingertips. What will you say? 🤔 Share your emoji marketing ideas with me in the comments below! I’d love to hear how you or your agency is using this new form of communication to spice up commonplace marketing tactics.

GIF of different combinations of emojis with different hair colors, hair types, and skin colors.

Source: Apple

Audrey-for-siteAudrey is an account manager and Social Media Lead at Circa Interactive. She currently manages multiple high profile social media accounts, including Circa Interactive’s own social media presence. As a graduate of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and a past president of their Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) chapter, her passion for innovation and connecting like-minded individuals is driving Circa’s social media strategy into the future. Connect with Audrey on Twitter: @audgepauge93

Learnings (and Mistakes) that Have Shaped My Communications Career in Higher Education

With almost 20 years on the marketing and communications side of higher education, I’ve learned a great deal from key stakeholders and my brilliant teams. But I’ve learned from myself and my mistakes, too. It’s amazing what can grow from a few blunders, helping you lead a more productive, informed and fulfilling career.

Following are six of the biggest lessons I learned from my own failures:

Communicate with everyone.

During my early years in higher-ed communications, I would communicate with one audience at a time. My approach was not as inclusive; and, I sometimes left out key audiences that needed to be informed.

Lesson learned! As higher-ed marketing experts, identify every possible communication channel to disseminate updates through a mix of university websites, videos, email, newsletters and live discussions, as well as through external media, social media, community partners and education outlets. Different audiences receive information from a variety of sources, so accessibility is important – accommodating the way they are informed. Transparency helps reach key audiences; so they are not only informed, but so they feel part of the conversation.

Delegate, delegate, delegate.

During my first job out of college, I tried to do it all. I wanted to prove to myself and others that I was capable and effective.  So I took on more work than I should, and, eventually, I started missing details – and I was not being very effective (and didn’t feel very capable). While I had good intentions, I was missing deadlines, making mistakes and feeling overwhelmed.

Delegation is important to a successful outcome. Your team is just that… a team, and delegation empowers all team mates to have a role and to feel involved in project success. When the right mix is involved, work gets done more efficiently and successfully. Delegation is a great way to coach and mentor, as well.

Give back – and Get Back.

In my early career, prior to getting involved in higher education, I was stuck, frustrated and not learning very much in my job. I was craving professional development and new challenges, and I made a mistake by waiting too long to satisfy this craving.

Then, I got involved with the American Cancer Society as a volunteer. With the sole intention of giving back to the community, I actually “got back” so much more from this experience.  Volunteering gave me the professional development I needed, while enhancing my communication and leadership skills.  Most importantly, I met a board member from Metropolitan State University of Denver (MSU Denver), and that introduction led me to higher education and long-term communications role at my current organization. So, expand your community, and more will come.

Course Correct.

We’re familiar with the expression, “Life is what happens while we are busy planning it.”  Well, the same holds true with our careers. I wrote a plan for a previous president, and then I got so focused on sticking to the communications plan — and then I missed a few opportunities.

While it’s important to have a plan, I also learned that it’s helpful to step back, evaluate, adjust and course correct when new opportunities develop – and challenges occur. I now accept that plans often need to be adjusted, and that’s a good thing.

Listen to All Stakeholders.

It’s easy to isolate yourself and your team in your work. I’ve done that many times, and learned the hard way about isolated thinking. Big mistake!

Learn from stakeholders from all sides — from students to donors to staff members to the community, as they all have something to teach you. They wear different hats and can collaborate and add perspective to university outreach and strategies.

Model and Mentor.

In my early years, I wanted to show my bosses and leaders that I could figure it out by myself.  While sometimes I could, I also found that I made some mistakes along the way and that I could have benefited from some extra guidance.

Eventually, I started working with a mentor who taught me new leadership skills. In return, I mentor students and professionals, to help them grow in their careers and foster new partnerships. After all, higher education is about teaching others, and it’s important to mentor and model throughout your career.

We can learn from so many teachers and leaders in higher education, including ourselves.  So embrace the blunders, and celebrate the lessons. There’s plenty to learn from our slip-ups!

About the Author

As the Chief of Staff and Vice President of Strategy for Metropolitan State University of Denver (MSU Denver), Catherine B. Lucas, APR, redefined MSU Denver’s brand in the higher education marketplace; spearheaded the legislative approval process to offer master’s degrees; and led the name-change transition from “college” to “university.”  She has earned a reputation for brand and reputation management, collaborative decision making and community engagement. 

5 Tips for Effective Client Communication

In the marketing industry, understanding how to deliver desired results for your clients is crucial to a successful business relationship, but a study shows that 46 percent of employees regularly leave meetings not understanding the next steps. Below are a few helpful communication tips that will ensure that both parties always leave a conversation knowing how to proceed, making discussions with clients more productive and effective.

Ask the right questions

In any communication setting, the person asking the questions is the one that steers the direction of the conversation and ultimately has control. The trick here is making sure that you are asking the questions that give you a better understanding of what your clients are feeling and what they want. Questions that prompt yes or no answers will not further a conversation, but rather put the client in a corner where they cannot fully explain what they are feeling. Deploy ‘what’, ‘why’ and ‘how’ questions that require a more elaborate response than a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’. For example, “how can we improve the illustration?” will get you much further than “do you like the illustration?”, because it requires a more detailed explanation of why the client satisfied or unsatisfied. Knowing how to frame your questions will also help resolve any problems or conflicts between you and your client. You can gain a better understanding of how your client feels about the work and how you can improve and grow in the future. Here are some other great ways to stage questions that will help you get to the root of a problem: https://wavelength.asana.com/develop-effective-communication/

Set the tone from the start

Make sure your style of communication is professional, yet personable. You want to show your client that accomplishing their goals is paramount, while simultaneously establishing an air of trust among both parties. Additionally, don’t be afraid to use informal conversation as a way to build the relationship. Make it known that the relationship is conducive to constructive criticism and feedback and that both parties are free to openly share their thoughts, ideas and opinions. Setting this tone will make collaboration easy and will keep the clients happy.

Be empathetic

 Show your client that you understand their concerns and recognize that they are human. If a client is upset about something, or seems like they are having a bad day and are taking it out on your work, refer to tip number one and start asking questions tailored to their concerns. Make it known that you are here to listen to their concerns and that you want to help them solve problems. You can also use “it seems” phrases to show the client what you’re understanding from their communication. By doing this, you are relaying your understanding of their problem, while also allowing the client to hear the tone that they are emitting. For example, if a client gets upset and says, “I cannot quite work out this illustration” and provides no other feedback, you can say “it seems like you want changes to be made to the illustration. How can we change the design to better suit your goals?”.

Do your homework

Preliminary research is not only useful for current clients, but also potential clients that you may be trying to court. Go into a weekly client meeting with new, potentially useful resources and a knowledge base of what your client has wanted in the past. Following the same idea, step into a potential client presentation with solid knowledge of their business and a strong idea of what their past work looks like. Be as prepared as possible. This shows the client that you truly care about their goals and are ready to help accomplish these. As a higher education marketing company, our public relations team leverages professors within our client’s degree programs in order to land media opportunities. We interview the professors before doing outreach on their behalf in order to get a better understanding of their passions and expertise, but before the interviews, we research the professor and tailor our interview questions to their individual work and interests. This establishes a rapport with them from the start, and they appreciate that we do not waste their time by going into the interview blind. Doing your homework upfront is a time-saver for everyone involved and shows the client that they are important to you.

Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone

In the digital age, much of the communication that occurs in a business setting happens via email or through some other digital medium. While this is convenient and generally effective, studies show that face-to-face communication is much more productive in terms of accomplishing one’s goals. While face-to-face communication with clients is not always possible in a digital company like ours, a phone call is the next best thing. Having a spoken conversation can solve problems and demonstrate a sense of urgency on your part to resolve an issue. Additionally, It is much faster and a more direct way to get to the root of a problem or miscommunication, leaving less room for things to get misinterpreted in the midst of a client crisis. Good old-fashioned speaking often gets the job done better than an instant message ever could.

 

Shannon black and white 2 Shannon has been contributing to the growth of the Circa team for nearly two years and recently graduated from the University of San Diego with a degree in Communication Studies. Shannon’s creativity and passion for public relations and content marketing has contributed to Circa Interactive’s digital marketing value.