Emoji Best Practices for Event Planners

How to best convey a universally-spoken language to attendees

Around 3,200 B.C., ancient Egyptians used the symbols and images of hieroglyphics to tell stories and convey (often elaborate) emotions, theories and explanations. Considered holy text, the writers (often priests, nobles or kings) were revered in society. 

Fast-forward a few centuries later, and while that brace-faced teenager walking next to you on the street sending upside-down smiles and tacos to his friend via smartphone message probably isn’t of noble blood, he’s telling a story with the help of visual aid––a widely understood visual aid-oriented language––all the same. 

On any given day, some 60 million are speaking the “language of emojis” on Facebook, while five billion are expressed via Facebook Messenger, according to Adweek. And the ways to describe your mood, favorite food or plan of action are only expanding: To date, there are more than 2,800 images to choose from. 

With so many visual options, planners need to learn how to talk the talk, so to speak. Instate the following emoji best practices for event marketing that is, well, a thumbs up.  

Understand Who You’re Speaking To 

Despite the fact that they’re nearly ubiquitous on our social media pages, our phones and in pop culture, having an event marketing campaign packed with emojis won’t necessarily behoove each type of meeting you organize. You need to understand who you’re speaking to first. 

Nearly 36 percent of millennials (aged 18 to 34) thought that emojis express their emotions more efficiently than words do over text and social media, according to Time. That was nearly double the percentage of individuals over 65 who said the same. People across age groups, however, said they felt more connected when the person they were having an exchange with used emojis and gifs in dialogue––so that doesn’t necessarily mean you should be nixing all image-based communication for a meeting full of Boomers. Rather, it might dictate the frequency (so, obviously, a more generous helping of emojis for millennials and less so for Boomers). 

Keep Them to a Minimum…

One of the biggest mistakes businesses can make when mapping out an emoji marketing plan is trying to do too much––like creating a series of emojis for users to decipher a code. Keep your emoji use to a minimum when promoting your event, both before and after it’s over. 

…Unless You Have Something More Creative in Mind 

That said, if you can creatively and eye-catchingly combine those emojis into something both aesthetically pleasing and easy-to-read, go for it. Many brands have used emojis to create a larger piece of art to promote via social media. No time for a complicated mosaic? Consider promoting emojis to match a particular theme or color. A city-themed Destination event, for instance, should be paired with culturally specific food and beverage emojis, such as champagne and baguettes for Paris

Consider Using Emojis for Practical Ends 

Emojis have become a language in and of itself—so let them do the talking. For example, one prominent U.S. pizza brand, Domino's, allowed customers to order an entire meal with a single Tweet featuring the pizza emoji. For your own event, consider tapping into that same logic by sending out texts or tweets prior to your event that ask attendees to reply with their preferred beverage: either beer, wine or cocktails (all of which are paired with a fun emoji). If you’re using Twitter, just ask that attendees preface their emoji with a hashtag so it’s easily traceable for your team.