Should you use emojis when communicating with clients?

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Should you use emojis? What did your gut tell you when you first read the question? My immediate response was, “it depends.” Even now, my stance hasn’t changed, as any action you take should ultimately focus on your particular target.

The same way that you don’t take your first-time homebuyer with a pre-approval of $400,000 to see a $1.5 million home, you may not use emojis to communicate with a client who would never do the same.

As always, you have to ensure the process makes sense for your client.

What agents said

In an informal poll I conducted, via Facebook, text and conversation with agents across the country and in Canada, 60 percent of real estate agents said emojis were unprofessional, while 40 percent said they use emojis and find them to be engaging.

Gloria Singer, managing broker of Boca Expert Realty, likes to keep her client interactions extremely professional. Therefore, she refrains from using emojis in her text messages with clients.

Singer said the use of emojis with clients takes the conversation to a casual level that she is not comfortable with. This isn’t to say that she isn’t friendly — her clients tend to become life-long friends, and she loves to treat them to a good time. However, she also takes pride in professional communication.

Other agents depend on emojis to keep the conversation friendly.

Samona Rosenberg, a Realtor at Stein Posner Real Estate in Boca Raton, Florida, frequently uses emojis and feels they are essential in her toolkit. She says emojis go a long way to humanize and soften non-verbal communication.

Discussing sensitive topics over text messages can make an already stressful conversation very dry, and Rosenberg overcomes this by inserting appropriate emojis whenever possible.

She wasn’t the only agent who admitted relying on emojis to help them communicate with clients.

For many agents, emojis are an easy go-to for connecting on a deeper level and keeping text conversations light.

Still other agents, like Patricia St. Macary, believe that it’s best to proceed with caution and use them only when a client uses one first.

Even then, she still seeks to keep the conversation professional. Emojis have proven to be a smart connection tool with some clients, but others might find it completely off-putting.

What clients said

I conducted a similar poll with consumers, and 67 percent of the clients I polled found that emojis in communication with their agent are unprofessional. The same number reported not wanting an agent to use emojis when communicating with them at all.

Other clients did feel they felt more engaged when their agent used emojis to communicate with them. Women were more inclined to hold this opinion.

Nearly all males responders contended that real estate agents handling such a critical purchase should skip the emojis and keep the conversation to finances and negotiations.

My analysis

Ultimately, whether or not to using emojis is right for you depends on two factors:

  1. You must consider who you are as an agent. Are you overly friendly? How do you position yourself in your market? If using emojis in communication is part of your charm, don’t feel inhibited.
  2. It’s important to also note who your target market is. If you mainly deal with a sophisticated and very traditional real estate community, it likely doesn’t make sense to use emojis. If your target is a town of young first-time homebuyers who revel in text communication and frequently use emojis, it makes sense to do so.

At the end of the day, it all comes down to your comfort level, as well as your client’s. When it comes to communicating with clients, there is never a one-size-fits-all solution.

Laura Ure is the CEO of Keenability, a marketing agency specializing in lifestyle marketing that targets the affluent buyer. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.