Those small (sometimes animated) characters you often see in group texts, instant messages and social media are showing up everywhere. Emoticons and emojis are hot right now, but they’re not the same thing.

What’s an Emoticon?

The word emoticon is a mashup of the words “emotion” and “icon.” An emoticon is a typographic way of displaying a facial representation to convey emotion. You probably recognize these text emoticon character combinations such as 🙂 to indicate a simple smiley face, 🙁 to indicate a frown and <3 for a heart. But you’ve probably seen more elaborate “kaomoji” sequences such as:




and even a long-stemmed rose @};‑‑‑ @>‑‑>‑‑

Fast-forward to today and these simple smiley faces made out of plain ol’ text have evolved into multi-colored, animated and customizable characters called emojis (sorry, folks…they’re not the same thing).

What is an Emoji?

Smiley Face Emojis

Unlike emoticons, emoji is an actual picture. The word emoji comes from the Japanese (e ≅ picture) + 文字 (moji ≅ written character). An emoji is a single picture that’s used like a character of text. It can be a picture of pretty much anything, from a face with a certain facial expression to an object like a car or a chicken leg.

Emojis are treated like a language for computing purposes—like English or Chinese—that apps and web browsers are encouraged to support. And now you have 72 new emojis to play with from the recent Unicode 9.0 update including new faces, hand gestures, gender pairings, animals, food, drinks and sports.

Variety of Emojis

Should I Use Emojis or Emoticons For my Brand?

All the cool kids are doing it. They’re visually stimulating and they trigger emotional parts of our brains, almost the same way as seeing a smiling face tends to trigger a reaction in our own feelings. So, hey, if it improves communication…why wouldn’t you use them?

Using emojis not only keeps a playful company voice going across all platforms, it can also break up long blocks of text displayed on phones making them very mobile-friendly. And now, we even have trendy emojis for Olympics sports to use!New Trending Olympic Emojis

Know Your Audience

Just look at all those cute little emoji characters, they’re just so adorable. It's not chocolate ice cream, it's a poop emoji.Right? Right? Well, not everyone thinks so… including some of your customers. Only you know your demographics best; would they appreciate cute, youthful shorthand? If so, add this new dimension to your communications and have some fun with it.

As a side note, it’s important to ensure you know what the pictures are supposed to represent, as well. For example, that adorable little brown swirly dollop? It’s not chocolate ice cream.

Connect with Post Café

Let the experts at Post Café help you start your social media journey; call us at 732-218-9377 to learn more and take your social media marketing from ? to ?!!

Images: Unicode 9 Sample Images used in this post above are © Emojipedia.