Quote EndQuote Cross-Cultural Strategy

LINE me!

Posted by QEQ Intern | 08.02.13

Since I came to Vancouver to study English, I’ve been finding many differences between Canada and Japan such as the many cultures, food, people and customs. Differences in using social media is one of them. In Japan, we call social media Social Network Services (SNS). I was surprised that SNS is really popular for everyone in North America, even for business use. While I was doing research on SNS during my internship at QEQ, I could see most companies in North America are using Facebook and Twitter proactively. I even found Facebook and Twitter logos on their company websites.

In Japan, we usually use SNS, such as Facebook, Twitter, Skype, mixi and LINE, for communicating only with our friends and family. Although LINE has become very popular for texting messages and phoning for free like Skype in Japan, we mainly use it for texting. Mixi was our original Japanese online social networking service, however nowadays Facebook’s popularity has exceeded mixi.

According to an article about Japanese SNS users, as of December 2012, total internet users in Japan is 95.6 million, and 52% of them (49.7 million) are SNS users. Also it projects that SNS users in Japan will grow to 63.2 million by 2015.  According to a recent survey of 12,000 Japanese SNS users, Facebook ranks first and second is LINE. Among Smartphone users, however, the top SNS service used is LINE and the second is Facebook. (Source: ICT Reseach & Consulting)

SNS Users in Japan

As you can see, Facebook and LINE are the top rankers in Japan. In my opinion, younger Japanese are more familiar with SNS, older people, like my parents, are not so much. In addition, we are not as familiar with SNS in business as Canada and USA, though that might be changing. My friends and I usually don’t follow people who are not our friends, because SNS is one of the most important tools for communicating with close friends.

Through my work at QEQ, I now realize that SNS is the best way for organizations to let people know a lot of information. Corporations in Japan should learn from North American businesses how to use SNS to connect with their customers and provide interesting information for them. 🙂

— contributed by Chizuru Misawa, marketing intern from Japan