The Stupid-Simple Secret Ingredient to Better Engagement on Twitter

November 19, 2015
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Every day, for hours on end, social media teams across the country — around the world, even — toil away in poorly lit rooms, snacking periodically on stale donuts and swilling hours-old cold coffee, trying to come up with new ways to solve one huge, gaping problem plaguing marketers of all stripes:

No one cares about our social content enough to give it a like, a retweet, a comment, or even a share.

All is not lost. I’ve stumbled upon a stupid-simple way to dramatically increase your social engagement, and it’s actually a lot of fun. Ready for it? It’s emojis!

Emoji for Twitter

An Emoji Is Worth A Thousand Words

Emojis are super-powerful because they allow us to communicate so much more than we could with words alone. (An emoji was even declared word of the year!!) People are apt to respond positively to your messages when you form an emotional connection, however brief.

Emoji for Twitter Larry Kim fistbump tweet

That’s a fist-bump emoji, in case it’s not clear.

Think of the sheer volume of words people sift through in a day, especially online across media, websites, email and text messages.

People are overwhelmed with words.

We know that people process visuals 60,000 times faster than plain text, and emojis are a great way to tap into that image power in your social posts, where space is at a premium.

Using Emojis on Twitter Without Being A Total Cheeseball

Emojis only get a bad name when people abuse their emoji powers. I’ve pretty much memorized the entire emoji character set and try to introduce them in conversations wherever it makes sense.

There are so many opportunities. And there’s so much more to a smart emoji strategy than just throwing in a smiley face.

Just do a Google search and check out which emojis are available on your device or operating system:

Emoji for Twitter list

Instead of throwing around emojis haphazardly, consider contextual relevancy. If you’re talking about junk food, you can use a donut. A conversation about an event in a specific country allows you to insert an emoji of the flag.

Social Networks & Operating Systems Know the Power of Emojis

Emojis are so impactful that Facebook has spent an inordinate amount of time and resources developing and testing a set of six additional emoji-like “reactions” to join the thumbs-up button.

Emoji for Twitter Facebook reactions

Image source: Facebook

Right now, they’re being tested only in Spain and Ireland, but they may eventually roll out to all users worldwide.

Apple released a slate of new and updated emojis for iOS 9.1 last month, adding a burrito, a middle finger, a robot and even a unicorn to the mix.

Emoji for Twitter Apple emoji

Image source: Apple

If you look at my Twitter and Facebook feeds, I never do an update without at least one emoji, and often I’ll do replies and updates completely lacking in words, with just emojis.

Seriously, with such a selection across platforms, who needs words? Think about it — how weird would it be in real life to have a conversation with someone without showing any emotion at all? Emojis help solve a major problem in online communications: the missing context of emotion.

Posts With Emojis Increase Social Engagement

The key to doing both paid and organic social is to get those engagement rates up. In organic social, this helps your content get more exposure.

Unfortunately, when it comes to organic social media marketing, it’s super-hard to figure out which update does better or worse because there are so many different variables at play.

However, in paid social, it’s super-easy to do a split test of the same promoted post with and without emojis to the same targeting group at the same time.

Here’s just one small example, between this tweet with no emoji and the same image and message plus emojis:

Emoji for Twitter engagement

As you can see, the emoji version has 25.4 percent higher engagement (11.06 percent vs. 8.82 percent) and a 22.2 percent lower cost per engagement ($0.18 vs. $0.14). Remember: Twitter Quality Score rewards higher post engagement with lower CPEs. So using emojis will not only increase engagement, it will decrease your costs, too.

Like I said, we’re seeing this as a trend consistently across tests (Sometimes the emoji variant beats out the non-emoji promoted post by as much 3x), but I’ve noticed that it’s key that your emojis are relevant to the update.

Test it out for yourself!

This post originally appeared on Marketing Land, and is republished with permission.

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Comments

Pooja Deshpande
Nov 20, 2015

Hey Larry Kim, I completely agree with you. Emojis play important role in communication. I use it in my regular conversation with my clients on whatsapp. However, I find it little difficult to use in social media posts. I am worried wrong message is not passed. Anyways thanks for sharing it.

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