Japanese people are insane, my foreign friends often taught me. Japan is in an isolated position, surrounded entirely by oceans which historically affects our culture. We are known for being independent, systematic, punctual and more.
Like many other countries, social media is also prevalent in Japan, but Japanese people also have a distinct way of using social media. Facebook, Twitter, Amazon and other global giants could succeed in this market, but to do well, they have to understand how Japanese use social media in their daily lives.
3 characteristics for Japanese usage of Social Media
1. Facebook is not only for Private, but for Business
People often ask for the connections through Facebook which are tactics to promote their own brand. As such Facebook has become not just a tool to connect friends and families, but also for businesses to grow their reach.
On the other hand, LinkedIn is not popular among business usage as it has been positioned more as a recruiting tool. Conventionally, Japanese do not jump from jobs to jobs often. However, when Japanese decides to change companies, talking to agencies is the preferred method. Therefore, Facebook is far more popular for both private and business use.
2. One opening message platform LINE has huge presence
With regards to messaging apps, there are platforms like Whatsapp, Facebook messenger, or Wechat. However, approximately over 90% of Japanese use Korean brand LINE for messaging. Chatting with friends, family, we often send messages or call through LINE.
LINE group also works well for business delivery, schedule setting, reporting or any other business requirements. LINE also broadcasts news in real-time, helping people to stay updated. In crisis like earthquake and tsunami, LINE was used by local victims to communicate or seek information about what’s occurring around them. Like Wechat in China, LINE is being used by all kinds of business from gaming to payment, calling taxi, delivery, recruiting and E-commerce.
3, Twitter is the place to complain daily
In Japan, when someone tweets, it’s usually complaints and they are always blaming. Negative tweets are often fuelled by more people posting negative comments in response. When there is negative news of celebrities, athletes, politicians or other people of influence, they may face a negative social media storm in Twitter. While businesses might not want to use Twitter for promotions and marketing, it is essential for them to understand it if they get caught with negative social and know how to deal with it.
2 hints for reaching online communities in Japan
1. Use the Local Language
If you’re planning to do business with Japanese people, you should try to speak as much Japanese as possible. Most Japanese prefer to communicate in our local language and are reluctant to adjust to other languages. If you are able to converse well in Japanese, you will be able to impress us.
2. Localizing Content and Social Media is a Key Factor
Many large international brands often rely on global content for their social media. However, any good social media strategist knows that it’s important to localize the content and social media posts. More so in Japan where we have such a distinct culture. For example, topics like anime, manga and Japanese icons are great ways to engage with the younger crowd.