What businesses around the world can learn from Japan

By Joe Wadlington

We chatted with Kentaro Morita, Twitter’s small business marketing expert in Japan. Kentaro told us what Twitter is like in Japan and how businesses can learn from his market.

(photo credit @mwindow)

Introduce yourself!

Hello, I am Kentaro Morita, a marketing manager at Twitter, based in Tokyo, Japan. Our customers feel most comfortable when they have a lot of context, so I lead in-person seminars (about 70 a year) to teach small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) everything they need to know about Twitter Ads.

What are some of the nuances of Twitter’s Japanese audience?

In Japan, much more than other countries, people use Twitter to discuss products. Many websites’ reviews may not accurately depict what a product is really like, so Japanese people use Twitter like a search engine to see what real people are saying. Because of this, Japanese businesses have a lot of success promoting their merchandise on Twitter.

Businesses here also tend to create Twitter accounts before they make a website for their business. Websites can be expensive and tedious to maintain. But a free Twitter account gives businesses the internet presence they want, and a customer service portal.

What’s something you’re working on, that you’re excited about?

We currently appear on a J-WAVE radio morning show, every Monday–Thursday. On Mondays we talk about Twitter Ads, on Tuesdays we highlight what celebrities are doing on Twitter, on Wednesdays listeners join contests with a specific hashtag, and so on. The host, Mr. Bessho, is a really well known actor. It’s exciting.

Check out a video from the show!

Any advice from Japanese businesses that could be adapted globally?

Talk casually. Japanese people can find it pushy if companies Tweet only about their products, and businesses have learned to vary their Tweets. Around 80% of your Tweets should be about your environment: current events in your city, industry, or country, the weather, your staff, holidays, etc. The remaining 20% should highlight products and services. The exact balance is probably different in every country, but it’s something to keep in mind.

What is one of your favorite Japanese businesses on Twitter?

On the rare days that there isn’t a wait, Himitsudo Tweets to let their customers know. 

Himitsudo” means “Secret Place” shaved ice shop. They are a small, single-location shop in Tokyo. The owner told us they were getting so many phone calls about the “flavor of the day” that the ice would melt while they were on the phone. So they started broadcasting daily menu changes, new flavors, and what they’re about to run out of on Twitter instead. By limiting their flavor releases to Twitter, and having an active presence, they have grown to 30,000 followers. They always have a line out the door and they finally have enough time to serve everyone.

Try out these tips by creating Twitter Ads of your own. Create a campaign today.

Ready to advertise on Twitter?