The Power of the Emoji: Building Engagement and Trust Through Brand Personality

July 22, 2022By Megan MackintoshInsights

Earlier this month, C8’s Natalie Young wrote about the importance of creating fun, “beautified” social media copy to catch the eye of the 57% of LinkedIn users reading on their smartphones. In honour of World Emoji Day, celebrated on the 17th July, we thought we’d deep dive on one of the biggest debates in B2B social media: should you use emojis on LinkedIn?

Originating in Japan in 1997, emojis have quickly become an inseparable part of online written communications. Since their addition to the Apple keyboard in 2011, the pictographic keyboard was an immediate hit across messaging apps and social media platforms Instagram and Snapchat. By 2015, its huge adoption rate and quickly-evolving meanings led to the keyboard being described as Britain’s fastest growing language by linguistic experts.

The popularity of emojis has since made its way into the business sphere, permeating even our most professional workflow platforms. From Slack, which has championed emojis since 2016, to Microsoft Teams’ newly-added 3D emoji, there is clearly change afoot in how workplace messaging and networking platforms are using emojis. This redefining of what is, and isn’t, ‘professional’, surely extends to LinkedIn. So, on World Emoji Day, allow us to make the case for embracing emojis even on B2B brand profiles – tastefully, of course.

LinkedIn Approved

LinkedIn, itself, certainly seems to have made up its mind on emojis. The platform is a big advocate of their power to better communicate sentiment and boost engagement, adding the option to use emojis in LinkedIn profiles as early as 2016. Three years later, LinkedIn aimed to harness our growing familiarity with emojis as communication tools by introducing LinkedIn Reactions, which just recently saw the addition of the new ‘Funny’ react.

When COVID-19 made in-person meetings and networking impossible, much of the world turned to platforms like LinkedIn to evolve many of their now-remote working relationships The situation made people value their work life balance and this started to be reflected more in their LinkedIn posts. The old adage, “people buy from people” has always been true. However now professionals are bringing more of their personality into their LinkedIn profile than ever before. In turn, they are expecting the same from the posts in their feed.

Building trust

Personality has not just become important for individual professionals; it is also a growing must-have in any brand’s online presence. A distinct voice, personality, or ethos is essential in building customer trust, and emojis are one of the most effective tools in your belt.

Psychological studies have found that, by using images of real, smiling people on marketing assets like landing pages, brands can boost conversion rates by up to 95%, and more recent research has suggested emojis have a similar effect. In 2017, research found that even emoji faces elicit genuine emotions within their readers, in the form of an ‘emotional contagion’, building trust and affinity with a brand.

Less is more

Despite their many advantages, emojis should still be handled with care. Even on a practical level, a LinkedIn post saturated with emojis is ultimately difficult to read, and can be viewed as flippant or light-hearted, encouraging audiences to scroll past. For B2B messaging, relevancy and clarity will always be a priority. The aim is to break up copy with relevant, appropriate emojis designed to catch the reader’s eye, boosting engagement in turn.

So, this World Emoji Day, why not branch out with a well-placed emoji or two? You might just find that you build trust within your network, boost your engagement, and even that writing posts becomes far more enjoyable.