With 45% of Japan’s population active on social media, and tons of companies flocking to social media for their marketing needs, how do you get (or stay) ahead and make your voice heard?
Below we have compiled a list of tips for using social media effectively in Japan. These tips are related specifically to Japanese users and networks. Strategically applying these tips can help your brand or product be seen, and allow you to gain real results via social media.
Tip #1 – Find Your Target’s Favorite Networks
Proper targeting is obviously a must for digital marketers on all platforms. For social media, identifying the social network that attracts the most of your target users in one place is a great way to make your promotions more effective.
For example, if you want to reach young women in Japan, Instagram would be a great network to use. Targeting teenagers? Twitter is generally where they hang out, while Facebook is more popular with 20 somethings and young professionals.
Once you have established who you want to reach, use the information in our SNS report to go right to their favorite networks and get your voice on their feeds.
Japanese leather outfitter @Tsuchiya_Kaban‘s Instagram account provides a great example of a campaign that found the right social network to spread it’s content effectively.
Tsuchiya Kaban sells handmade leather bags, and fits within Japan’s diverse fashion industry. 70 of Japan’s top 100 business-owned Instagram accounts are fashion related, giving Tsuchiya Kaban an easy way to find fashion-focused individuals who are conveniently all on the same network.
The nature of Instagram’s fashion centric content allowed Tsuchiya Kaban to reach over 500,000 users. This helped raise their overall brand awareness and established a base of followers to directly communicate with for future promotions. The case study below is a perfect example of successfully choosing a social network to focus promotions on, based on the characteristics of its users.
Tip #2 – Utilize Influencers
If you don’t have many followers now, but are looking to get good exposure, why not borrow someone else’s followers? Using a voice that is already trusted can be a very strong way to connect to your target demographic.
If you’re not Japanese, it can be very difficult to fully understand the intricacies of Japanese culture and communication. To that extent, Native speaking influencers help you to:
- Connect more personally with target users
- Integrate your product/service deeper into the Japanese market: (i.e. localizing)
- Incorporate that influencer’s “brand” into your offering
- Spread brand awareness and content to more people
As you can see, there are a lot of merits to using influencers. They can give you more exposure through spreading your content or product organically among their followers.
By combining tips #1 and #2, you can target influencers who your target market is listening to, and utilize their reach to increase your own. Twitter has begun using new advertising methods to increase the likelihood of organic content to spread in this manner, making it easier for users to spread your content among their followers.
Tourism New Zealand made excellent use of influencer marketing. They held an influencer campaign where 5 Japanese influencers, with over 50,000 followers on their combined networks, received a weeklong trip to New Zealand. Those influencers documented their trips and shared their meals and activities with pictures and videos on social media. Among their results included one image alone with over 7,000 engagements. Not only did Tourism New Zealand receive a huge boost in awareness, they also have loads of content for further campaigns to continue their momentum.
Tip#3 – Be Mobile Friendly, on All Platforms
When linking social content to your company’s website, be sure that your site is mobile friendly, and easy to read on all devices. Over 75% of social network users in Japan are accessing social media through smartphones, so it’s arguably more important to optimize your website’s mobile platforms than desktop platforms. As a side note, having a mobile ready website can also help your Google search results.
A successful post on social media can bring loads of traffic to your website, and it’s important to be ready for that. If a user clicks your link and finds it difficult to read or navigate, they will likely pass and go back to browsing their social feeds instead of engaging with your brand or incorporating into your conversion process.
Below is a good example from our client Venture Republic’s Instagram account. Users can easily view and consume the information that Venture Republic wants to share, and this leads to a higher chance of user engagement for Venture Republic.
Tip #4 – Consider Using Paid Advertising
Sometimes campaigns might need a bit of a push to be successful. Combining your content strategy with paid tools can transform your social media campaign into a highly targeted, effective way to deliver your message. Optimizing your paid content to be easily spread can give you a higher return on your cost per impression, especially when picked up and shared by users.
For Facebook ads in Japan, the social network boasts some of the highest rates of targeting accuracy and ad conversions in the world. As mentioned above, Twitter is optimizing its paid offerings to better target influencers who can help spread your message to their expanded networks.
One successful example of this is the campaign of a Japanese cosmetics brand, Dejavu. With the help of paid Twitter promotions, targeted to young women in their teens, they received over 9,000 tweets on their sponsored hashtag. This also increased their follower count from 800 to 6,000 people in the process. With over 100 billion yen spent on Social Media advertising in Japan in 2014, we expect that number to be much higher by now with even more success stories to be seen.
Tip #5 – Cross-Promote With Other Mediums
Social Media is important, but it’s rarely going to cover all of your company’s promotional needs. It won’t even cover all of your digital marketing needs. BUT, synergizing your marketing efforts with social media can be extremely powerful.
Here’s something to think about: Japanese Twitter users consistently break records whenever a specific Hayao Miyazaki movie is played on TV. This phenomenon has also happened on holidays and other national events in Japan. As social networking sites are becoming a more natural means to express interests and communicate, using other media to promote social interactions can be very powerful. Plus it has the added potential benefit of being spread among users after being posted.
Panasonic Japan made use of similar tactics via Facebook video ads to pre-launch a TV commercial campaign. Facebook ads were launched a day before the TV ads to raise awareness, and were geo-targeted to users who lived close to the shooting location of the videos. The videos were made to promote awareness of Panasonic’s support of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Along with highly accurate targeting rates, 99% on the first video, the company received boosted rates of awareness of their cross-promoted campaign.
Tip #6 – Be Japan Unique
Cute, weird, strange, or gross content can do wonders for a social media campaign when applied correctly. While we’re here trying to build our brands on social media, there’s a dog with 2 million followers in Japan and a cartoon pear with 1 million Twitter followers.
What’s even more surprising is how such animals and characters are used to promote everything from insurance to toys. When characters such as these become famous they can spread like wildfire on social media, and their followers can be reached through these characters’ endorsements.
The point is that finding or producing creative material in Japan is uniquely different from doing so in other countries. Promotional content doesn’t have to be blatantly directed to your product or service to be successful. Do the research and find out what will best gain the attention and compel your targets to engage on social media.
Following these tips can help you create a buzz and get your voice heard in Japan, but they don’t cover everything. Whether you’re just starting out, or trying to change your current plans, we’d love to have a conversation and answer any questions you may have about social marketing in Japan. Feel free to drop us a line, and be sure to subscribe to our blog by email to stay informed about digital marketing and design in Japan.