Food and Beverage Brands: Use Emojis to Drive Social Media Engagement

By: Sarah Bonkowski, Social Media Supervisor, UNION (

Face it; emojis have invaded our lexicon and they’re here to stay. What’s more, they’re an effective branding tool. According to a study by WordStream, using emojis on your social media profiles can:

  • Increase post engagement by 25%
  • Increase content shares by 33%
  • Increase post interactions by 57%

Emojis help to humanize a brand on social media platforms. In a world of corporate speech and legalese, emojis can help brands ditch the business jargon to connect with their audiences on a more personal level.

Here are four ways your food and beverage brand can harness the power of emojis to drive social engagement.

Mirror your audience

Before you start dropping taco and burger emojis, observe how your target audience is using emojis, the types of emojis they use and the sophistication of their emoji communications.

Do they use only the occasional smiling face? Or do they speak fluent emoji?

The emojis you use on social media should reflect the emojis that your audience is using in a way that enhances a post or a tweet. Don’t select obscure emojis that can potentially confuse your target audience and hurt brand/consumer engagement. Understand what emojis your audience responds to and use them sparingly.

Keep your brand from trending for the wrong reasons by taking the time to understand the meanings and uses behind each emoji… we’re looking at you, eggplant and peach.

Stand out and stop the scroll

Emojis can help break up the monotony of standard social media posts and capture the attention of your audience mid-scroll. After all, there’s only so much you can do with black text on a white background.

A pop of color, an intriguing visual, a compelling story – whatever the application, use emojis to add life to your social media posts.

For food and beverage brands specifically, try incorporating food emojis that are related to a post. For example, drop in a pumpkin and coffee mug if pumpkin spice lattes are a hot topic.

Level up your comment stream

According to a study by Adobe, 90% of global emoji users agree that emojis make it easier for them to express themselves. Providing your social media audience with emoji prompts can help eliminate comment anxiety and improve post performance.

Not only is it easier and quicker for your audience to comment using an emoji (we have all fell victim to autocorrect gone wrong), it also eliminates any language barriers. Emojis are a truly universal language, which can help to broaden your social media reach and engagement on a global scale.

For food and beverage brands, this could mean asking users to comment with specific emojis, like a heart, a thumbs-up, or the drooling face to indicate if they are excited about an upcoming product launch.

Leverage the engagement power of emojis to improve social performance

Emojis aren’t just for organic social posts. You can also leverage them to support and improve your paid social advertising efforts. A test performed by Adespresso compared two nearly-identical Facebook ads. The only difference was that one ad included an emoji.

The results? Adespresso discovered that the ad with the emoji garnered a 241% higher click-through rate.

Conduct your own tests to determine if using emojis in your paid social creative can help improve ROI. Chances are high that they will.

Sarah Bonkowski is a Social Media Supervisor at Charlotte, NC based UNION. Union is a creative & performance marketing agency that creates omni-channel campaigns, unleashing creativity on a data-driven world, helping brands produce memorable, measurable and repeatable results. Our clients expect a meaningful return on their investment and we prove the ROI of our work with quantifiable data. For more information, please visit