Compared to Europeans or North Americans, my foreign friends say, Japanese people are insane. Japan is isolated, surrounded entirely the ocean, which has historically affected our daily lives. However it brought some independent cultural quirks, manufacturing systems, team associations, and tendencies. By and large, Japan tends to be original sans effort.
Adapting to the Internet age is also original in developing our market style. Global giants Facebook, Twitter, and Amazon could succeed in this market, but there is a stark contrast in how they’re used in relation to the English speaking world. There is a gap between the Japanese and Western perspectives when it comes to online services and social media.
Here are 3 characteristics for Japanese Social Media use:
3 Characteristics of Japanese Social Media Users
1. Facebook is not only for Private use, but for Business too
Conversely with Western social media users, we often make business connections to promote our brands in addition to personal connections through Facebook. Linkedin is not popular among businesses for networking, due to its direct recruiting tool. It’s unconventional in our culture to change jobs instantly through the western recruiting process.
We often make business connections to promote our brands in addition to personal connections through Facebook. Linkedin is not popular among businesses for networking.
A few foreign branches challenged this style, but the Japanese tend not to transfer to a new position, or talk to other agencies, or transfer to a new company. Thus, LinkedIn’s positioning, as far as recruiting potential, was poorly adapted to the Japanese market. Because of this, Facebook became more popular for business communication. Interestingly, there is a mix between personal and business life on the social network in Japanese posts.
2. One message platform with a huge presence: LINE
When it comes to messaging apps, Western users are quick to cite Whatsapp, Facebook messenger, or Wechat. However, over 90% of Japanese social media users choose Korean app LINE over these other messengers. It’s used for personal text chat between friends and family, voice call chats, and LINE group chat/call for business. LINE can also handle business in other ways via scheduling, reporting, news, etc.
LINE was launched in 2010 and gained popularity in 2011 when the earthquake and tsunami disasters in Japan knocked out power lines. This forced government officials and citizens alike to resort to online communication for news, updates, and finding friends and loved ones after the disasters.
Today, LINE boasts 200 million users and is the primary messenger for Japanese personal and professional chat. LINE is broadly expanded in Japan, but it was originally launched by Korean company, Naver, of their Japanese branch. Most of the stakes are occupied among Korean business teams, and the Japanese has a little authority. Even if it’s similar to Wechat, LINE is a beautiful example of developing for Japanese personal, business, gaming, taxi, payment, delivery, recruiting and e-commerce needs.
3. Twitter is the place to complain in daily communication
When it comes to getting news and updates, Twitter is still the king. The Japanese follow influencers, business trends, technology, and news with the social media platform, much like in Western countries. Active multiple accounts are popular among Japanese users for parallel product promotion reaching diverse communities of followers.
As with western users, there are often bursts of posts around a tweet. When someone tweets something controversial, users tend to jump on the tweet and create buzz around it. High profile accounts such as celebrities, athletes, politicians, and CEOs are particularly susceptible to criticisms, as with western users.
By and large, Japanese users are following westerners in Twitter trends and use. However, for those who don’t speak Japanese, the Japanese twitter community can seem a bit closed to foreigners, as the Japanese tend to not be open to Tweeting in foreign languages.
The Japanese twitter community can seem a bit closed to foreigners, as the Japanese tend not to communicate on Twitter in foreign languages.
These are some trends among Japanese social media users. With the increasing penetration of the Smart Device, Japanese users stretch their presence into the online world. Social Media is an inevitable tool that reflects Japanese tendencies and activities, in terms of market research. We sometimes deal with both business and personal communication as well as e-commerce through different social media platforms like LINE and Facebook. These trends can be obstacles for westerners looking to penetrate the Japanese market, but if you become accustomed to our style of communication, the market can be quite friendly.
Tricks to Reaching Japanese Users
Use the Local Language
If you’re planning to start business with Japanese people, you should use Japanese as much as you can. Not all of us speak English fluently, and are reluctant to adjust in other languages.
It’s strongly recommended to rise to the challenge of Japanese, starting from the greeting that impresses consumers; you have to learn to communicate not only in the language, but in the Japanese way.
Local Social Media is a Key Factor
Even if you attempted to reach out to Japanese communities on Linkedin, you won’t have much luck. Nor with selling the products Snapchat, which is the same story. Instagram is buzzing among young girls, but you should carefully understand your target. We have different identity, between elders and young people, which is the same with Social Platforms. If I could give you the advice for detecting our voices, manga or anime is a good crash course. Mutual topics is a key factors to starting the conversation with us.
It’s important to be careful when reaching out to new cultures, and reaching out to Japan is no different. Being able to understand how the Japanese use social media and why the use it is the first step to understanding their buying tendencies and creating a line of dialogue with the Japanese market. Want to know more about the Japanese market?
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