Bae for brands? Content creation tips for slang and other trendy stuff

December 03, 2015

I’ll admit it—I love emojis. I use them to text my friends, as captions on Instagram, and my boyfriend and I even send each other a certain emoji combination that, to us, means “I love you.”

But as someone who does content creation for a living, I often wonder how emojis, slang, and other trendy stuff fit into my work. Should content marketers embrace emojis, slang (like bae, on fleek), and Internet memes, or is jumping into these trends gimmicky? When are we being current, and when are we trying too hard?

Using pop language can have a place in content creation, but you must proceed with caution. Here are some key considerations as you decide whether or not using emojis and slang is right for your brand.

Depends on your brand

When you’re surfing the ‘net for content creation tips, you’re likely to find a lot of advice on how to stay on brand. When it comes to using emojis and slang, you have to make sure you’re acting like your brand, not like yourself.

For example, I might send a string of emojis in a text message to my best friend, or write “I WOKE UP LIKE THIS” in a Snapchat selfie, but that’s not the persona I use when writing for a B2B software company. If you’re selling an enterprise software solution, you need to be polished and professional, which means selfies and slang terms are probably not appropriate.

Emojis can be used in small doses to get your message across, no matter what sort of brand you are. For example, a tastefully placed Christmas tree emoji in a holiday campaign doesn’t compromise your brand identity.

Don’t jump on a trend

There’s a Twitter account called Brands Saying Bae which exists exclusively to make fun of brands who are trying to be relevant by talking and acting like kids on social media. This account features all sorts of marketing assets to show how ridiculous it is for a large company like Samsung to try to talk like a college student on Snapchat.

Samsung on Snapchat

The account is instructive, but it’s not entirely fair, either. Sometimes, using trendy copy can really work for a brand. Sometimes, it makes sense to say bae. DiGiorno Pizza’s Twitter account is one of my favorites, and it’s because DiGiorno understands its audience, and uses current language and turns of phrases to speak to it:

DiGiorno on Twitter

DiGiorno’s Tweets are successful because they sound like the brand, not because they’re capitalizing on slang talk just for the sake of it.

Keep it relevant

The key to successful use of emojis and slang is to keep things relevant. You shouldn’t add in these modern elements just to connect with Millenials. Instead, you should look for the best way to connect with your audience—emojis or not.

For example, Airfarewatchdog, which sends deals on flights via email, has begun incorporating emojis into its subject lines. The addition of the airplane emoji is fun, relevant, and reminds the audience of why they signed up for Airfarewatchdog in the first place—flights! The image of an airplane keeps the services top of mind, and it’s a successful use of the emoji in online writing.

Airfare WatchDog uses an airplane emoji in an email subject line

When I receive these emails from Airfarewatchdog, I smile. The company is using emojis, but it’s not getting in the way of the brand’s messaging. The emoji addition is effective, and it’s not trying too hard to be… on fleek.

Your goal? Effective communication paired with authenticity

You can implement as many best practices as you want, but online writing is really about effectively communicating with your audience. If emojis, Internet memes, and slang can help you get your message across, then feel free to use them. However, using these trendy devices to come across as hip is a recipe for disaster. No one likes a brand that’s trying too hard—everyone prefers authenticity.

Bye, Felicia!

Whether you incorporate emojis or not, staying up to date is an essential part of our jobs as marketers. My hope is that these content creation tips will help you take your writing to the next level.

This article originally appeared on Skyword’s Content Standard.

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