If you are on social media platforms like Instagram or Snapchat or if you text young adults, you have seen emojis. These small digital images or icons used to express an idea or emotion in electronic communication are popping up everywhere.
Don’t confuse emojis with emoticons. Emoticons are a group of characters used to represent an emotion—like the smiley face that uses a colon and a paranthesis. Emojis are pictographs—images of things such as faces, weather, emotions, or activities.
The year was 1999. Cellphone users in Japan were increasingly using picture messages as a way to communicate. The trend became noticeable because pictures are much larger than text messages, since a single picture can be the size of hundreds of text messages. Mobile phone companies were already struggling to support the needs of millions of users in a rapidly growing technology. They needed a way to fix this problem. So a group of engineers came up with a solution: Emojis.
Mobile phone companies loved emojis because the research engineers figured out a way to transfer an emoji as a single character. Users relished having pictures at their fingertips. With text character limits, emojis go a long way in communicating.
Using Emojis to Reach More People
Four in ten Millennials (18 to 34 year olds) report that they would rather engage with pictures than with words. Younger Millennials (those 18 to 24 years old) spend an average of 91 hours per month in Smartphone apps like Instagram and Snapchat compared to 73 hours for people aged 35 to 44.
Seeing how much this younger generation uses and responds to emojis, businesses are beginning to use them to engage with consumers. Two recent examples from large companies include:
- In June, Chevrolet issued a press release entirely in emojis before releasing a decoded version a day later. The hashtag was #ChevyGoesEmoji.
- Domino’s Pizza has allowed customers to order pizza simply by texting or tweeting a pizza emoji.
Since Millennials respond better to pictures, including emojis in your social media posts and in your social media advertisements for your books can help you engage this generation of consumers.
Getting Started with Emojis
Since emoticons are just a string of characters, there are an unlimited number of emoticons. People think of new ones every day. However, there are a limited number of emojis, fewer than 2,000. Most iphones and android phones have emojis preprogrammed on them—a phone’s keyboard usually has an emoji option. Users simply need to turn this on to start using emojis.
Unsure of what each emoji picture means? There is help on the Internet. A complete directory of emojis with their meaning can be found at http://www.iemoji.com/meanings-gallery/people. Check it out and then start using emojis in your communication with Millennials to reach more people with your message.