Every movement begins with a moment.

The Power of a Picture

Posted 14 January 2016 9:00 AM by Stephanie Muse @MoxieUSA, @smuseish

It’s a familiar expression: A picture is worth a thousand words. And with the rise of emojis, that statement is truer than ever. Indeed, our method of communicating is starting to move away from words and toward images.

In some ways, the evolution is natural. We’ve all been told that our body language and facial expressions can tell another person more about what we’re thinking or feeling before we even open our mouths. Emojis perform a very similar function in the digital realm. In fact, I’ve had entire conversations over text with friends using only emojis. Ever tried it? If not, you should. And even when words are involved, adding an emoji to the end of a message — a text, email, IM, etc. — helps convey underlying feelings in a more overt manner <insert eye roll here>. They are an easy, fun and playful way to add some personal expression to our digital communications, which is why more and more people are using them. And why social platforms, brands and marketers are taking notice.

On Instagram, emojis can now be included in hashtags, either on their own or with letters and words. Instagram introduced this functionality after a data study showed that nearly half of text on the platform contained emojis. In the U.S., Instagrammers are using them in more than 38% of their texts.

Twitter also uses hashflags, which allow a flag emoji to be attached to the end of a preset hashtag when used on the platform. For instance, World Cup fans could insert a hashtag in support of their home country, and Twitter would append a flag next to it. The hashflags are also created to support historical milestones or current events that may be trending on the platform. You can follow @HashflagList on Twitter to stay updated on the current hashflags.

Social platforms and brands are adopting the trend — together — in order to resonate with younger, more mobile-savvy consumers. Take, for example, Twitter-branded hashtag emojis: When tweeting #ShareaCoke, Twitter automatically generates an image of two Coca-Cola bottles clinking to support the popular campaign. It is reported that there were 170,500 mentions of #ShareaCoke in one day, concluding that the shareability of the product and the nature of the platform resulted in a great match when engaging their audiences.

Snapchat is also hopping on board. The brains behind social at General Electric (GE) created a visual play on the periodic table of elements, designing an Emoji Table of Experiments. GE partnered with NYU’s chemistry laboratory in an #EmojiScience pop-up project where the brand’s followers were encouraged to send their favorite emojis to GE’s Snapchat handle, which then replied with a video experiment that evokes each specific emoji. For instance, a fan who snaps the rocket emoji to GE would receive a 15-second video of a vinegar rocket exploding in return. Nerd status = 

So what’s next for brands in the realm of visual storytelling? We’ll be on the look to find out.


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