Emojis hit screens in the late 1990s on Japanese mobile phones, before making their appearance internationally on Apple’s 2011 iPhone. Emojis are everywhere and are definitely a trend here to stay, cemented by the fact that Oxford Dictionaries named emoji the Word of the Year in 2015. Crazy right?

Social media is absolutely dominated by emojis, with Tweets and Facebook posts showing an increase in engagement by 25% when included. With this, it’s no wonder why they are becoming increasingly more visible in brands social media and marketing campaigns.

But as with anything, it’s not just as simple as adding a cheeky wink or thumbs up emoji to the end of your copy. Using them within social media is an art form in itself… and one you need to learn. As the old saying goes, a picture paints a thousand words. Well in this case, so does the emoji!

The use of emojis is way deeper than any of us ever expected it to be. As Dr. Owen Churches explains in his book ‘One of them’, “the human brain reacts to emojis in the same way as it does to real human faces. People’s brains have learned to recognise emojis, such as the smiling face emoji, since they interpret this often. Accordingly, this has become a learned neurological cultural response.”

Further investigations into the world of emojis reveal that using them helps to amplify any message that we want to transmit. For instance, adding a smiley face or an angry face to the end of a Tweet transforms the meaning of the message.

In all honesty, I am a fan of sending a laughing face to the besties, just to show my complete appreciation of how their texts about the night before made me giggle, or the occasional sign of horns gesture when i’m feeling rock and roll sharing Insta snaps of gigs. But i’m not so convinced that reverting to crazy minion-style characters is a massive advance. What happened to that little thing called words?

Nevertheless, with the future of emojis ever bright, here’s some tips on how to use them successfully on social media…

1) Be clear on what emojis mean.

Like with people, sometimes it’s the quiet ones that you need to look out for. It might be the cutest little aubergine you have ever seen, but it also might have another meaning in the emoji world. Get clued up before using them!

2) Using emojis to engage and interact.

More and more brands are using emojis to personify themselves and add a human aspect to their brand. Adding a couple into a Tweet or Instagram post is always fun, if appropriate.

3) Keep it simple.

The whole point of an emoji is to simplify a bulky sentence. Don’t overload your copy with a gazillion emojis, keep it simple.