The present research proposes a conceptual framework to examine the effect of emoticons on online WOM persuasion. Using a laboratory experiment, we demonstrate that emoticons enhance recipients’ empathy for the communicator, and this effect is moderated by message valence. Enhanced empathy heightens perceived trustworthiness of the communicator and perceived quality of the message, both of which lead to an increase in the persuasiveness of the WOM message. We conclude by discussing the contributions of this research and identifying the directions for future research.