Emojis are unbelievably powerful in business and yes, it pains me to write this. I’m old school and maybe you are too. Maybe you see emojis as a dumbing down of business communication but the reality is that they are here to stay…at least until our AI assistants start handling the emotions for us. All joking aside, emojis are a powerful form of communication and one you should be embracing(assuming a few things) now as part of your business. Here’s how:
If you have a strong Millennial team in your place of business, it’s likely you’re already using emojis in lots of communications within your organization. But if you don’t have a lot of under 35 employees, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be using them.
In a recent study that was released entitled the 2019 Global Intelligent Information Management Benchmark Report, 82% of employees believed their workplace suffered from poor communication. Part of that is because of siloed information and departments not sharing it, but another part of the poor communication could come from our reliance on email communication in conjunction with the average person’s non-confidence in written communications and an inability to read tone in writing.
Using emojis with employees can create a more jovial atmosphere, convey urgency and tone, and save time in communications. Plus, with the push to more casual work environments and the use of software (like Slack) that supports casual interaction, emojis can be very powerful communicators. You can use them in email bodies or in the subject lines to influence opening.
Still, there are times when you shouldn’t use them. These include:
- An invitation to a meeting of a serious nature
- A serious complaint email
- A professional behavior correction or performance improvement communication
- Sarcasm or irony. Using an emoji to communicate something with the opposite intention. For instance, giving a smiley face when it’s really a very somber subject.
Keep in mind with the rise of social media, emojis are becoming a regular form of many people’s communication habits. It may be natural to encourage such use in the workplace.
Emojis have been found to be very effective in customer communication assuming your audience uses them and would be comfortable with you using them in the business you’re in. (Investment bankers who are taking care of people’s retirement accounts probably want to avoid these type of modern-day hieroglyphics.) Still, even many of us over 40 are embracing this new “language.”
Emojis in subject lines can drive opens and take up much less space than words do. Emojis work very well in social media posts to drive interaction and interest. They quickly convey emotion and grab attention with their colorful faces. Simo Tchokni and researchers at the University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory analyzed social media posts and numerous metrics including follower details, like Klout scores. They found that emoticon features drove actions like clicks.
So should you use emojis in the workplace? That depends a lot on your audience, the message you’re sending, and how you do it. There’s no law that says it’s appropriate or not. But if your business can have some fun without eroding confidence (again certain professions this is not possible–finance and urology come to mind), it may be worthwhile to experiment with how it affects things like your open rates and calls to action. When it comes to your employees, using emojis can help you convey emotion and improve communication when used appropriately. Tell us…are you using them? Will you?