An emoji is one of the most useful shorthand communication tools of the 21st century. An emoji can be used to express personality in your email campaigns, or on social media. In fact, nearly half of all comments and captions on Instagram contain an emoji, and using an emoji on Twitter can result in 25.4% more engagement. Ultimately, a properly-used emoji can make your audience smile and feel better connected to your brand. For instance, take a look at this email I found in my inbox on Cyber Monday, from Influenster, a product review site: Or this one, from CB Insights, a machine intelligence platform: As you can see, emojis can take your messaging to the next level and allow you to stand out in a crowded inbox. Additionally, you can use them as a substitute for generic and overused words like "money", making your content both fresh and enticing. But emojis can be confusing, and it's often difficult to discern the difference in meaning -- like between a "🙄" and a "😳" face (trust me, there is one). To ensure you use emojis to properly engage and delight your audience, we've compiled a list of the most common (and confusing) emojis, with examples of how to use them for any of your marketing purposes. At the end, we'll also explain which emojis your business should likely avoid. Sound good 👍?
An emoji is one of the most useful shorthand communication tools of the 21st century.
An emoji can be used to express personality in your email campaigns, or on social media. In fact, nearly half of all comments and captions on Instagram contain an emoji, and using an emoji on Twitter can result in 25.4% more engagement.
Ultimately, a properly-used emoji can make your audience smile and feel better connected to your brand.
For instance, take a look at this email I found in my inbox on Cyber Monday, from Influenster, a product review site:
Or this one, from CB Insights, a machine intelligence platform:
As you can see, emojis can take your messaging to the next level and allow you to stand out in a crowded inbox. Additionally, you can use them as a substitute for generic and overused words like "money", making your content both fresh and enticing.
But emojis can be confusing, and it's often difficult to discern the difference in meaning -- like between a "🙄" and a "😳" face (trust me, there is one).
To ensure you use emojis to properly engage and delight your audience, we've compiled a list of the most common (and confusing) emojis, with examples of how to use them for any of your marketing purposes. At the end, we'll also explain which emojis your business should likely avoid.
Sound good 👍?
To start, let's take a look at some of the faces you might use to convey certain emotions, along with examples of how you might use each in your own marketing content.
1. Heart Eyes Emoji 😍
You might consider using a heart eye emoji to show your love for something, whether it be a new product or a blog article you want to promote on social.
For instance, SoulCycle uses a heart eye emoji in their email subject line, to convey their approval and love for the brands they're now selling online:
2. Side Eye Emoji 😏
This side eye emoji is most commonly used to express a smirk after someone makes a sarcastic or ambiguous joke that could seem serious, out of context. Ultimately, it's a good emoji to use if you want to demonstrate a playful side to your brand, or if you're making a joke and aren't sure whether your audience will know you're kidding.
For instance, you might playfully insinuate you understand most of your readers will be offline over the weekend, by saying in an email, "While we understand you're probably dying to do more work over the weekend 😏, we've put together a guide with suggestions for creating better work-life balance. Check it out here."
3. Eyes Emoji 👀
The eyes emoji is a simple and fun way to draw attention to a link or image you want to share with an audience. Instead of saying "Look at this", you might consider using the eyes as a silly substitute.
For instance, take a look at how GREATS, a footwear brand, uses the eye emoji to elicit excitement and suspense over an upcoming release:
In this case, the eye emoji playfully suggests to the audience, "Keep an eye out -- something new is coming soon".
4. Embarrassed/Flushed Face Emoji 😊
The flushed face emoji is a fantastic opportunity for your brand to demonstrate humility or gratitude for an achievement or award.
For instance, you might show the flushed face if you're sharing an article that lists you as a top company in your industry. Perhaps you'll tweet, "So grateful to have made it on Company A's list of Best Workplace Culture of 2018 😊 Thank you!"
Alternatively, the flushed face emoji is often simply used to express happiness or joy.
5. Thinking Emoji 🤔
The thinking emoji is often used to demonstrate someone deep in thought, or pondering the validity of something. It can be used to express a level of doubt, like "Hmm … not sure about that", in regards to a controversial issue.
For instance, take a look at how Monday.com responded with integrity to a Facebook user who questioned whether Monday.com bought fake social media likes:
Rather than fighting with the user, Monday.com took the high road and used the thinking emoji to express a level of doubt over the accuracy of the user's statement.
Alternatively, you might use the thinking emoji after a question or poll on social media, simply to create a visual that indicates you want your audience to think about something.
6. Sweat Emoji 😅
The smiling emoji with a sweat droplet is typically used to express a close call -- while the sweat depicts a level of discomfort, the smile alludes to someone who's thinking, "Phew! That could've been bad."
For instance, if your coworker emails you moments before a meeting with an urgent, "Wait, where's the most recent reporting deck with all our statistics?" You might send the deck back with a "Don't worry -- got it, right here 😅" response, alluding to the satisfaction you both feel over averting an issue.
7. Hand Up Emoji 🙋
Typically, businesses use the hand up emoji to suggest a level of enthusiasm or participation, like "Sign me up!" For internal purposes, you might use the hands up emoji to get a headcount of people willing to help out.
For instance, if you see your team leader is asking for volunteers to pass out microphones during the next company meeting, you might send back a simple "🙋" as your response.
Alternatively, you might use the hand up emoji to ask whether your social media audience agrees with you. For instance, you could post on Twitter, "Who thinks skittles are better than m&m's? Give me a🙋if you agree!"
8. The Laughing Emoji 😂
Allegedly 2017's most popular emoji in the U.S., the laughing emoji is one of the easiest ways to express humor or amusement. Oftentimes, when a coworker makes a joke in a slack channel, I'll use the " 😂" emoji as an alternative to "haha" or "lol".
Additionally, the laughing emoji is an effective opportunity to demonstrate your brand's sense of humor. For instance, Honest, Jessica Alba's company that creates safe and natural products for the household, uses the laughing emoji in this Instagram post:
In this instance, Honest demonstrates an ability to laugh at themselves and their own cheesiness (with their attempt to re-define BYOB's acronym meaning) -- and makes them seem more human, as a result.
Emoji Symbols or Objects
Along with faces, emojis offer your business the opportunity to use objects or symbols to express meaning, such as the heart symbol (❤️), a check mark (✔️), or a taco (🌮).
Here are some symbols or objects you might consider using in your marketing content:
9. Monkey Emoji 🙈
The hiding monkey face emoji is a cute opportunity to express a level of shyness or embarrassment. For instance, your brand might use the monkey emoji after making a mistake, like this -- "Hope you enjoyed our tool, even though it didn't work the first time 🙈."
Alternatively, you might use the hiding monkey face emoji to suggest you wish you hadn't seen something. This can be humorous, particularly if you share a funny prank video with a "Yikes, that was rough 🙈" caption.
10. Nail Polish Emoji 💅
As you might've guessed, the nail polish emoji can be used to demonstrate a level of casualness or indifference. Some people believe it means "I'm prettier than you", or an expression of arrogance or confidence, but typically, it isn't used for any other reason than to articulate nonchalance or relaxation.
For instance, I might use the nail polish emoji to engage an audience, by writing -- "This weekend is all about rest and relaxation 💅😊 What are your weekend plans? Leave them in the comment section, below."
11. Hand Emojis 👌👏👈🏿
HubSpot often uses various hand emojis to express emotion simply and effectively. For instance, the 👌 expresses the same message as it does in real life -- "that's a-okay," or "fine by me".
The clapping hands (👏) can be used to express congratulations or excitement, such as "Congrats to @CForsey on winning our giveaway contest👏!".
Finally, the "👈🏿" pointing finger emoji is effective for pointing at a link. Particularly when there's a word limit, it's a good idea to use the pointing finger instead of writing, "Check out this link".
12. Waving Emoji 👋
The waving emoji is a playful yet simple way to say "Hello" or "Goodbye". Consider incorporating it into your welcome email to display a level of warmth to your new subscriber.
Alternatively, you might use the 👋 emoji to playfully introduce your audience to a new product or service. For instance, Drop uses the👋 in their email subject line to introduce its email subscriber's to Drop's new app:
13. Thumbs up emoji 👍🏾
The thumbs up is relatively universal, making it a classic emoji to use to either express your business's approval, or to ask for quick audience engagement.
For instance, you might write on Instagram, "What do you think of our new company logo? Give us a 👍🏾or 👎🏾". This allows your audience to engage with your brand with very minimal effort on their part.
Emojis to Avoid for Business Use
I spoke with Krystal Wu, HubSpot’s Social Media Community Manager, about her stance on emojis for marketing purposes, specifically on social media. She suggested businesses use emojis to express a level of authenticity, and choose emojis they feel align well with the tone of their brand.
However, Krystal advises businesses be wary of using strong emotional emojis, like the kissy face. She told me those types of emojis might express emotions too intense for a business's audience.
Here are a few emojis to be wary of using for business purposes, and the meaning behind them:
14. Kissy Face Emoji 😘
A kissy face emoji is slightly different than a heart eye emoji. While a heart eye emoji shows your love for something, a kissy face emoji demonstrates your love forsomeone.
Typically, a kissy face should be reserved for one-on-one conversations, such as a texting conversation between you and your friend in which you say, "Great job at open-mic last night! You killed it 😘".
A kissy face, despite its innocent nature, is likely too emotionally-charged for your business to use with your audience, unless you truly believe it aligns well with the tone of your brand.
15. Angry Face Emoji 😠
While the angry face is undoubtedly a popular emoji to use with friends and family, it's likely one you should avoid for business purposes. It is typically used to express strong disapproval or dislike for something, which is probably a negative emotion you want to avoid directing at your audience.
You should probably only use the angry face when communicating with a friend, one-on-one. For instance, you might text your friend, "Oh no! The movie is sold out😠so mad!"
16. Bunny Emoji 👯
Dictionary.com definesthe people with bunny ears as emojis used to express "a fun, party-loving spirit ... [and used to] communicate festive and friendly sentiments".
Ultimately, due to the ambiguous and party-loving nature of the bunny emoji, it's likely one you should avoid for your marketing campaigns.
17. Hair Flip Emoji 💁
Until recently, I thought this was an image of a woman flipping her hair. But Emojipedia.orgdescribes her differently, as an "Information Desk Woman" who is holding out her hand, asking how she might help.
Despite the innocent intent, the hair flipping girl is often used to demonstrate sassiness, sarcasm, or even to express disrespect for someone or something (at least, in the U.S.). To avoid any risk of offending or confusing your audience, you want to avoid it in your marketing emails and on social media.
When you're feeling flirty and playful, you can send the 👅 emoji to show your partner that you're in the mood for some sexting. Pair 👅 with other emojis like 🍆 (eggplant), 🍑 (peach), 🌮 (taco), and 💦 (sweat droplets) to make it clear that you're referencing oral sex with your partner.What does 😘 😘 😘 mean in texting? ›
😘 Face Throwing a Kiss emoji
The winky-kissy face throwing a kiss emoji, or kissing face, is mostly used to express romantic affection or appreciation for someone or something.
🔤 Meaning. 😳 Flushed Face depicts a smiley with wide eyes and red cheeks, as if blushing with embarrassment, shame, or shyness. It may also convey a wide range of other feelings to varying degrees of intensity, including surprise, disbelief, amazement, excitement, and affection.What does 🥑 mean in texting? ›
An 🥑 can be as simple as saying, “I love avocados!” If you see this emoji and a picture of food made with avocado, chances are someone really likes avocados.What does 🥒 mean in texting? ›
Social-media posts featuring salads, sushi rolls, and sexy pics are all places you might find the cucumber emoji. In texting, it's as popular as the eggplant in representing male genitalia.What does 3 this mean in texting? ›
This cute symbol is most commonly used to discuss romantic relationships, friendships, or passions when texting, tweeting, or posting. Someone may use a <3 to replace the word “love” in a sentence or to convey warm feelings for someone or something.What do 5 dots in a text mean? ›
As for the meaning of the five dots: it's called an ellipsis, the meaning it as an “An omission of a word, or sentencing without altering its meaning.”What does 🍆 mean in chat? ›
The Eggplant emoji (🍆), also known by its Unicode name of Aubergine, is an emoji featuring a purple eggplant. Social media users have noted the emoji's phallic appearance and often use it as a euphemistic or suggestive icon during sexting conversations, to represent a male genitalia.What does 💢 mean in texting? ›
A red symbol found in Anime/Manga and used to represent the veins popping on a very angry person. Also used in other comic books to indicate a punch landed, perhaps next to the words “Bam” or “Pow”. Anger Symbol was approved as part of Unicode 6.0 in 2010 and added to Emoji 1.0 in 2015.
The majority of people agree that it means 'shy'. As if you were twiddling your fingers together, nervously. The emojis can often be paired with the emoji too, for extra nervous vibes. The emoji sequence can be used if you're about to ask someone a soft, yet risky question, or if you're just feeling hella shy.
🤤 Drooling Face emoji
Whether you desperately desire a delicious meal, a nice pair of shoes, or that cutie sitting across from you in the coffee shop, you might look like the drooling face emoji: 🤤. This emoji is used to convey such lust and longing as well as naptime—a less sexy time to drool.
The weary face emoji, 😩, cries out: “I can't handle this!” It marks content dealing with a very wide range of overwhelmed feelings, from genuine exhaustion to ironic self-pity to being overjoyed.What does this emoji mean 📌? ›
A thumbtack (drawing pin), as used to pin documents on a bulletin (notice) board. Depicted at a 45° angle with its red, flat head to the upper right. Often used as an icon for Pinterest or metaphorically pinning content online.What does 👌 mean in texting? ›
👌 Ok Hand emoji
The OK hand emoji has a range of meanings: It can stand in for the word OK, (or the OK hand gesture) communicate strong approval, mark sarcasm, or combine with other emoji to represent sex.
The 🍃 emoji is usually a stand in for weed on TikTok.
If you see the 🍃 emoji popping up on TikTok, especially if it's paired with the 💨 emoji (used as a symbol for smoke), there's a good chance it has something to do with weed. “#🍃💨”
Hang loose is the symbol made by folding down your middle three fingers, and rotating your wrist side to side while your thumb and pinky remains at attention. It's also this emoji, added to Unicode in 2016: 🤙.What does this emoji mean ✊ 💦? ›
✊ Raised Fist emoji
It is also used to convey various ideas of empowerment, political protest and resistance, and civil disobedience. Sometimes, the emoji is used to represent a fist bump, similar to the Oncoming Fist 👊, Left-Facing Fist 🤛, and Right-Facing Fist 🤜 emoji.
🍑 - butt. 🐱 emoji of any kind - female privates. 👅 - oral sex. ✌️- Pimp Control. 16 - Pimp.What does 🤟 mean? ›
What does 🤟 I Love You Gesture emoji mean? A universal emoji! Or … is it? The love-you gesture or I love you hand sign emoji is the American Sign Language gesture for “I love you,” showing a hand with a raised index finger and pinky (little) finger and an extended thumb. It comes in a range of skin tones.How do you respond to emoji 🤪? ›
Send emojis back.
Maybe that's a few “😂” of your own, or a “😉” if you're feeling flirty. If you're texting your girlfriend or boyfriend, reply with a “🤗” or “😜” for a not-so-subtle flirt. If you're texting a friend, try sending them some “😝” or “😋” to be silly back.
Send the same thing back. Reply with a 😏 of your own if you want to mirror their sass or sexy energy. This will signal to the person you're talking to that you're both on the same page.What does 💕 mean in texting? ›
The two hearts emoji is used frequently in text messages relating to love. While it is a symbol of romantic love, it can also be used to show affection for other close relationships, such as with family and friends (e.g., I 💕 to the moon and back).What does ICL mean in texting? ›
I can't lie
For example, your friend may post, "ICL, I'm divorcing Michael." However, the confession may not always be so dramatic. For example, you might text your friend, "ICL, the burgers are a little overdone."
Who uses 💜 Purple Heart emoji? Like the many other heart emoji such as Red Heart ❤️ and Blue Heart 💙, the Purple Heart emoji 💜 is generally used to convey love and other strong, affectionate, positive feelings.What does 3 periods mean? ›
An ellipsis ( ... ) consists of three evenly spaced periods and is used to indicate the omission of words or suggest an incomplete thought.What do 3 dots above a letter mean? ›
The ellipsis ... (/ɪˈlɪpsɪs/, also known informally as dot dot dot) is a series of dots that indicates an intentional omission of a word, sentence, or whole section from a text without altering its original meaning.What does it mean when someone puts periods after a word? ›
“We've agreed that putting a period after a one-word response in a text conveys something like abruptness, annoyance, negativity.” These findings held true with positive (“yeah” or “yup”), neutral (“maybe” or “alright”) or negative (“nope” or “nah”) responses.What does 🌷 mean in texting? ›
The Tulip emoji 🌷was approved as part of Unicode 6.0 in 2010 and added to Emoji 1.0 in 2015. Used in social media wherever beauty, romance, flowers, and gardening themes are prevalent, the Tulip emoji 🌷 also appears in texting on occasion to represent female genitalia due its soft, pink petals.What is XD stand for? ›
XD Definitions and Synonyms
an expression used in text messages or e-mails signaling happiness or laughter. XD is an emoticon. X represents closed eyes while D stands for an open mouth. OMG!
Who uses 🙌 Raising Hands emoji? Two raised hands are often used to signal a “congratulations!” or “we did it!” The raised hands emoji then is used in posts and texts that relate to a victorious personal moment, a sports win, or a moment of pride.
Adding this emoji to a text indicates you are flirting or sending a suggestive message. On social media it can also mean you are feeling smug and self-satisfied because you just did something baller.What is the difference between 🤘 and 🤟? ›
What is the difference between 🤘 and 🤟? 🤘 = You Rock! or Rock On! 🤟 = Love You! Enter the Latest RockMerch Sweepstakes!What does 😮 💨 mean from a girl? ›
Used to represent relief, exhaustion, or as a sigh of disappointment or displeasure.What does 🙏 mean in texting? ›
🔤 Meaning. Depicting two hands pressed together and fingers pointed up, 🙏 Folded Hands is variously used as a gesture of prayer (religious or secular), thanks, request, and greeting as well to express such sentiments as hope, praise, gratitude, reverence, and respect.What does 😶 🌫 mean? ›
😶🌫️ Face in Clouds
A face that appears surrounded by clouds or a haze of smoke. Ambiguous in appearance, this may represent a foggy state of mind, confusion, or even a sense of calm bliss. May also be used to indicate the presence of smoke.
Smiling Face With Hearts depicts a yellow face with smiling eyes, rosy cheeks, and several hearts floating around its head, as if in a cloud of love. It commonly conveys warm and fuzzy feelings, especially feeling loved or being in love with someone or something.What does mean? ›
Woozy Face emoji
The woozy face emoji means you've had a few too many, or many too many. It can also mean that the user is tired, overly emotional, or plain confused.
Meaning widely varies, but commonly conveys intoxication or infatuation. Its dazed expression may also represent such feelings or states as bewilderment, irritation, disgust, exhaustion, wackiness, or complete satisfaction.What does this mean from a girl 😏? ›
As its official name reveals, 😏 Smirking Face represents the facial expression of a smirk. It's used to communicate a range of feelings, including smugness, self-confidence, self-indulgence, mischief, cheeky humor, and general satisfaction. 😏 Smirking Face especially implies, however, flirtation and sexual innuendo.What is the meaning of this emoji ❤? ›
It can be used to express gratitude, love, happiness, hope, or even flirtatiousness.
The phrase means something like 'be yourself' or 'do what you want,' and it is typically identified with contemporary youth/millennial culture and vernacular; see, for example, Pulitzer prize winner, Colson Whitehead's 2015 Op-Ed.What is the meaning of a mean person? ›
If you describe a person or animal as mean, you are saying that they are very bad-tempered and cruel. [mainly US]What does 😮 💨 mean? ›
😮💨 Face Exhaling emoji
The Face Exhaling emoji 😮💨 depicts a face blowing a puff of air. The emoji is used to represent feelings of exhaustion, smoking, and exhaling a big sigh.
Instead of using a ❤️, they may use a 🍎. This is a cute and unique way to show love and affection. If your partner sends you a single 🍎, it could be them saying, “I love you.” “You're the best🍎” “I love you to the moon and back🍎”What does 🤪 mean? ›
A yellow face with its head tilted, its tongue hanging out of a big grin, and wide eyes in a wild, cockeyed expression. Generally used to express silliness. Commonly represents acting goofy, having fun, and partying and is usually used in a positive manner.What does 🦖 mean in text? ›
What does 🦖 T-Rex emoji mean? Depicting an image of a friendly-looking Tyrannosaurus Rex dinosaur, the T-rex emoji is used to share information or enthusiasm about dinosaurs … in general. Related words: t-rexed. t-rexting.What does 🍃 💨 mean? ›
The 🍃 emoji is usually a stand in for weed on TikTok.
If you see the 🍃 emoji popping up on TikTok, especially if it's paired with the 💨 emoji (used as a symbol for smoke), there's a good chance it has something to do with weed. “#🍃💨”