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Using emojis in client communication

Putnam Investments , 3/31/2017


Emojis, the colorful smileys, hand gestures, animals, and symbols hidden in our smartphone keyboard, have soared to popularity with the rise of mobile devices in recent years. Depending on which platform you use, there are over 1,800 emojis currently available at your fingertips.

Emojis are picture characters used to express feeling, emotion, or status. While emojis have their limits in terms of language subtext, they are a universal method of communication. A smiley face means ‘happy’ whether you are viewing it in North America, Europe, or Asia.

Social media has been a key factor to emojis’ rise in popularity. On Twitter, professional sports leagues like the NFL have implemented emojis for team-specific hashtags, and Hollywood uses them for movies, TV shows, and awards events.

You may have also noticed emoji-like symbols in your Facebook feed – last year Facebook released a new way to “like” posts. Instead of the single “thumbs up” button, you can now express reactions such as Love, Haha, or Wow, each of which has its own unique emoji symbol.

Should financial advisors use emojis?

Emojis are everywhere and can be a fun and lighthearted way to communicate.

Inserting emojis into a timely social media post can go a long way in reaching prospective clients, staying connected with existing ones, or building your business. Reacting on Facebook to your network updates can also be valuable. Consider using an appropriate “Laughing” emoji or congratulating clients on a new job with the “Yay” emotion, for example.

Putnam’s advice is to always remain respectful and tasteful when using the vast array of emojis available. Symbols carry great and varied meaning across social and cultural groups, so steer clear of any that may carry nuances that are not immediately apparent.

Staying compliant

In our regulated environment, language is categorically unambigous and well-defined. It is important to remember that, unlike words, emojis can infer great meaning. Avoid using emojis that could be construed as promissory.

Emojis to avoid

Not all inappropriate emojis will be as obvious as these examples. Think carefully before you select an emoji, and think again before you hit “send.” And when in doubt, leave it out.

 

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