June 16, 2015 / Melissa Faudree

Brands are using social media to not only engage with their customers and also market their business. Social media allows us to share photos, videos, links, promote products, express our opinions, and much more. Along the lines of expression, comes the usage of emojis and emoticons. Is there a difference? Yes, there is!

Emoji vs. Emoticon
People often get the two terms confused. I know I’ve been guilty of confusing the two before. I think it is important to discuss the difference between the emoji and emoticon.

An emoticon is a visual representation of a facial expression that conveys an emotion through your keyboard using letters or symbols. Like:
: )
; )
: P

Emoticon is short for emotion + icons. Scott Fahlman is credited for using the first smiley emoticon in 1982 on a bulletin board at Carnegie Mellon University. The bulletin board said:

“I propose the following character sequence for joke markers: : -)
Read it sideways.”

Emojis are actual images or icons that can be used to convey an emotion or communicate a message. They were first used in Japan in the 1990s. In Japanese, emoji means, “picture character.” To make things more confusing, some emojis are emoticons too. With certain apps and devices your letters or symbols will convert into an emoji. For example, if I typed ; ) into the Facebook Messenger app, it would create an emoji that was winking. Like so: 😉


Emojis can be more than just a yellow smiley face. They can be animals, vehicles, weather, food or other activities. Currently, there are 1,281 emojis characters in the Unicode. It is worth noting that the Unicode Consortium does not design the emoji images. They provide character code charts in black and white to different manufacturers and vendors. Then it is up the vendor to design and add colors.

Should Brands Use Emojis?
Ever since the news about using emojis as passwords, it got me thinking about brands. Should brands be using emojis? I see people using emojis on social media all the time, including myself! But how often should brands incorporate emojis into their social media? Should they?

Emojis are fun way to communicate to your audience. They are very popular among Millennials however; many others are joining in on the fun too! Emojis not only enhance your message, but it shows your audience that you are current with communication and technology trends. The use of emojis also helps portray emotions to your audience. We know that customers want to purchase from other humans and emojis give you more personality. However, you should know that emojis are not for every business. You should always test and monitor your marketing before you include it in your marketing strategy. Just because emojis are popular and trending, does not mean it is the best fit for your business.

Brands in Actions
If you look at Domino’s Pizza, they have added new ways to complete orders. Customers can now place orders through a variety of ways with their campaign called Domino’s AnyWare. Customers can place orders in the following ways:

  • Text
  • Tweet
  • Voice
  • Smart TV
  • Car
  • Smartwatch

With texting and tweeting, you are able to use the pizza slice emoji 🍕to place an order. However, to generate an order, you must have completed your Domino’s online profile. You will need to save your favorite order as an Easy Order. This will allow you to use the pizza slice emoji for all your future orders. Easy and fun, right?


Of course, Domino’s Pizza isn’t the only brand using emojis. I’ve seen brands such as Starbucks, McDonalds, Bud Light, among many others, using emojis on their social media accounts. I’ve also seen smaller businesses that incorporate emojis into their posts. Personally, the emojis grab my attention. Many of them are small enough that it forces you to stop and read the post. I’ve seen brands that use it for generating more awareness about contests, promotions, products, or events. Emojis, if used for the proper audience and in the right context, can be a great way to have fun and interact with your customers.





What brands do you see that use emojis into their marketing strategy?

Posted In: Blog