Emojis, GIFs, and memes are an important part of social media marketing. When used well, these visual illustrations can effectively grab attention, lighten the tone of communication and clarify intent.

They provide an excellent way to engage with Millennials and are also a type of visual content that social media craves. However, there are a few factors that you need to know before using them.

Know your audience

Knowing your audience will help you to create content that resonates with them. These visual illustrations are known to attract young adults that spend a lot of time on the internet. So if your audience does not consist of this demographic, you had better not use them as it may irritate them since they do not know what you are doing.

Keep your brand in mind

Do not use a GIF or meme that goes against your brand.  Always do your research on them thoroughly to make sure they align with your brand.

Keep it relevant

When it comes to emoticons, memes, and GIFs, you have hundreds of choices. So make sure you choose one that is relevant and fits your social media content.

Context is everything

Even in social media, there is a time and a place for everything. Before using any visuals, make sure your audience is familiar with the context in which you are using it. Make sure the context is appropriate, your audience knows what you are referring to and choose the right visual illustration for it.

Here are a few tips on how to use Emoticons, Memes, and GIFS in your social media marketing


  • Design your emojis to distinguish your brand from your competition
  • Use emojis to boost engagement with your target audience. For instance, you can ask them to vote on a product or service using emoji
  • Use emojis when replying to comments to express your emotion
  • Since emojis speak a universal language, use them to communicate with a broader audience

Things to remember when using emoticons

Keep it simple

No one wants to spend too much time trying to decrypt complex emoji messages. So make them as simple as possible.

Do not overuse emojis

Too many emojis can be distracting. They can easily move your audience’s focus away from the message you want to be delivered. Your audience may also find it annoying.

Do not use emoticons in serious situations

Emojis are naturally informal, fun and cheeky. Hence, avoid using them when handling serious issues or communication in formal environments.


Memes are versatile. They come in different forms, including text, video and even as an image.  Their origin is associated with funny, popular cultural references that are based on sarcasm.

How to use memes in social media marketing

  • They are a great addition to a humor-based campaign
  • They increase engagement with an audience and the shareability of content
  • Use them to answer both negative and positive responses

Things to consider when using memes

Do not try too hard

If you try too hard, your audience will think you are only trying to capitalize on a trend, which could rub them the wrong way.

Memes are short lived

The more popular an emoji is, the faster it will become irrelevant. This is mainly because people tend to get bored of seeing it often. Only use memes when they are still trending.

Content comes first

Remember that the sole purpose of memes is to grab the attention of your target audience and enrich your content. Hence, do not use a meme to replace content.


GIFs are a collection of pictures put together into a single file in succession to create a moving picture. They generally have a higher engagement rate than images and are cheaper to develop.

How to use GIFs for social media marketing

  • Use GIFs to create an animate your logo
  • Use them to describe a process or tell a story
  • Use them to advertise your product or service
  • Use them to drive traffic to a blog post
  • Use them to engage with your audience. You can ask them to tag friends that can relate, or give you feedback using GIFs.

Things to consider when using GIFs

Make them short

GIFs are meant to be used up quickly. So make them short (approximately 10 seconds).


Use good quality GIFs to communicate better.

Follow fair use when creating GIFs from the material you do not own.

Adding memes GIFs or emoticons to your social media marketing is an excellent way to humanize your business and speak more directly to your target audience. However, make sure you understand them well before adopting them.