The use of emojis in business communication can be a somewhat controversial subject. There are many who believe it’s the feminine way to do business, whilst others argue that it’s not professional. However, it isn’t that clear cut – here’s why.
It’s an initial Judgement of other women and how they run their business
I recently witnessed a rather lengthy and heated discussion on a Facebook post. A business woman posted a status, basically saying that women who use emojis are cheapening their professionalism and using flirting to get business. It went on to state that they were ‘crying out for rights, whilst crying for attention’.
Needless to say, a rather heated discussion ensued.
Regardless of your view of emoji use, it’s the initial judgement of how other women do business, that gets my back up. Because, yes – it is primarily women who use emojis. But slating women for how they do business is also something that women in business are often seen to be doing. Instead of helping raise other women up, we seem hell-bent on tearing them down!
[ctt template=”12″ link=”Ud7LX” via=”yes” ]It is primarily women who use emojis, but slating women for that & how they run their business generally is something we need to stop doing![/ctt]
Emoji use – is it all sugar, charm and sex appeal?
I know a lot of women who use emojis in business – I for one, tend to use them. I also know women who don’t use them and, as much as they think emoji use equates to a post that’s all a bit too sugar-laden for their tastes – I don’t believe they think that the driving force behind the use of emojis, is one of charm, flirting and sex appeal.
Emojis are popular with certain age groups and niches
For starters, the use of emojis is one that is driven by age. Most emoji use seems to be with those women who are 35 years old and younger. It’s also more prevalent in particular niches – women coaching women, artistic and crafty-based niches, alternative therapies, heart-based businesses and female entrepreneurs who are already quite feminine by nature.
However, just because you use emojis or work in a feminine environment and in a feminine way, it doesn’t automatically mean you’re all girly and pink either! There are many successful female entrepreneurs who work in these niches that do (and don’t!) use pink, and who also have an aversion to hearts, flowers and aren’t your typical girly stereotypes.
Your use of emojis will depend on your background
Something else to factor into the equation is a persons background. If you’re more feminine by nature, you’ll naturally be drawn to using emojis – it’s the same if you’re creative and emotion/heart led.
Emojis are often used to demonstrate your personality and general terminology. If you’re used to calling everyone lovely or beautiful, and often tell your friends and family that you love them, the chances are you’ll use an emoji or two, to illustrate this.
It’s the same with how you view the world generally. If you view it as a loving place – hearts, rainbows and flowers beautifully illustrate this. Done something stupid? An emoji can illustrate this too. Feel angry, annoyed or find something hysterical? An emoji can illustrate, what words can’t adequately portray.
The use of emojis is dependent on how you want to do business
There are different ways of doing business, and this is something that also needs to be factored in. It’s the ongoing ‘feminine-versus-masculine’ at play. The feminine way of doing business IS different to the masculine. Women DO often run their businesses in a different way – from the terminology they use, right through to how spiritual, emotional and intuitive they are.
It also depends on the niche you’re in too. Women tend to dominate the alternative therapy niches. There’s a lot of female coaches out there who only work with other females. There’s also a lot of women who help other female business owners to run business in heart-based ways.
Emojis are being used by women who work in these industries, as their clients react positively to them.
Who do you want to do business with and who do you want to attract?
Your use of emojis needs to be based on who you want to do business with and who you’re looking to attract. If your clients react favourably to emojis – continue using them. Yes, there are women who ten to overuse them – but again, it works for them and grows their business – why would they stop?
[ctt template=”12″ link=”a02aN” via=”yes” ]Your use of emojis needs to be based on who you want to do business with and who you’re looking to attract.[/ctt]
However, if you’re looking to attract and work with men generally, you may want to change your emoji use – as the masculine way of working isn’t one based on hearts, flowers and kisses! Not only does it come across as unprofessional, it can also be misconstrued as being too forward and flirty – and potentially opening your friendliness up to misinterpretation.
Your message, branding and the platforms you’re using
Another question that arises, when discussing the use of emojis, is whether they’re ok on all platforms. Social media platforms are the place to show both your professionalism and your personality. If that includes emoji use, then go ahead and use them. However, if you’re writing a business email – would the same rules still apply?
I believe this also comes down to who you’re looking to attract. If you’re mailing list is full of your ideal clients – then yes, continue interacting how you’d usually interact. Why? Because it comes down to how you’re branding yourself. If your message is one of love, light and all things positive, images and emojis can say so much more than words ever can. However, if you’re sending your business banking team an email – you’ll want to give emoji use the heave-ho.
Add in a dose of professionalism and common sense
It’s about being flexible over how you show up and using your common sense. If it’s important to get your branding and message across, be consistent. When you’re interacting with a member of the opposite sex – how will your emojis be interpreted? Looking to be professional – are your emojis working for you?
Emoji use, is like any other business strategy, is about knowing what works for you. It’s about testing the different platforms, your message and your general branding. Are emojis working for you? How will you know, if you’re not testing interaction and usage, on the different platforms?
Why emojis might not be a smart move for you
There are times when emojis really aren’t a smart move to make. We’ve mentioned them already, but for the purposes of clarification, here’s a summary:
- If you’re in a corporate focussed environment (such as banking or legal) – avoid using emojis
- Working in a male dominated industry (such as construction or plumbing) – avoid using emojis
- Working with primarily male clients? It’s best to leave out the emojis – or at least think very carefully about how they could be interpreted, before you use them.
Why does the use of emojis trigger you?
Finally, if you’re a female entrepreneur who finds themselves judging another women’s usage of emojis – it’s worth looking at why that’s triggering you in the first place. If someone else’s behaviour is bothering in you, why? Is it truly affecting you or is it bringing out a side of you, you’re not acknowledging? Do you have a belief that it’s rubbing up the wrong way or does it threaten you in some way? Is it highlighting an issue or wish you have, over how you’re being seen and treated?
What is it triggering for you? Do you wish you were taken more seriously? Is it down to how you view masculine and feminine ways of working? Traditional versus modern business methods? How about how you view creative and feminine? What fears does it bring out for you?
And, if you believe emoji use is all down to personal choice and preference – why is it even triggering you at all?
Do emojis work for you?
Bottom line, emoji use is a personal thing. The use of emojis, as with inspirational quotes and cute cat videos, is down to personal preference and how your audience reacts to their use. For some, they’ll increase conversions; for others, they won’t. Emojis can also accentuate what you want to say, better than any words could. Don’t like to swear in business (another controversial topic!)? An emoji could say it so much better.
It’s about using the tools that are available to you, so you can find what works for you and your business – and letting others do the same.
Now it’s over to you. What are your views on emoji use in business? Do you love your emojis – or does their usage set your teeth on edge? Does today’s post resonate with you or trigger you? I’d love to hear your thoughts and opinion, so why not share them in the comments box, below!