Social Media Japan

Top Social Media Platforms in Japan: Most Popular Social Media in Japan

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If you’re planning to expand your business to Japan, understanding the unique cultural nuances, communication styles, and content preferences can help you leverage the rigid Japanese market in a targeted and cost-effective manner.

This article dives into the various social media platforms in Japan and how you can use it’s popularity for your business and improve your Japanese SEO.

Social Media In Japan: Top Social Media Platforms

As of January 2024, Japan had 96 million social media users, which is about 78.1% of the population. Leveraging this in the right manner can be huge for your business on a local and global scale.

However, gaining traction on social media is not as easy as it used to be. With new content being uploaded at an insanely rapid pace on all platforms, standing out on social media now requires a more strategic approach.

Social media usage in Japan.

Social media usage in Japan.

And because the Japanese market is far from diverse, you will have to face issues like language and cultural barriers.

Hence, if you want to be a big player in the Japanese advertising space, getting an image of the social media landscape in Japan can help you understand where to put your resources to get the best out of it.

To understand this better, let’s look at the popular social media platforms used in Japan.

LINE Japan

As of 2024, LINE is the most popular Japanese social media platform, having a high usage rate of around 96 million users in Japan as of 2024.

LINE is a popular messaging app created by Naver, a tech company from South Korea. Besides messaging and calls, LINE also has many other features, such as news updates, online games, manga, mobile payments, and content sharing.

LINE usage Japan

LINE is popular across all age groups.

Since LINE began as a basic messaging app, it is still used primarily for messaging and staying connected rather than its other features.

Despite its large user base, advertising on this platform will be difficult for non-Japanese users because you need to have a good grasp of Japanese to navigate the setup process and effectively manage your ads.

In my opinion, unless you can outsource a native Japanese operator to manage your ads on LINE, advertising on this social networking platform can be a task.

YouTube 

Over the years, the average YouTube consumer’s age has drastically shifted toward a younger age group. More vloggers and YouTube are getting famous among crowds mostly under 30.

YouTube penetration rate in Japan.

YouTube penetration rate in Japan.

Fun fact: Japan ranks third globally for YouTube traffic, with almost 5% of all visitors coming from Japan. 

What’s also interesting is that Japanese creators mostly run the top YouTube channels in Japan. Big names like Hajime, with 8.65 million subscribers, and HikakinTV, with 8.45 million subscribers, are making waves in the online world.

Hajime and HikakinTV.

In frame: Hajime and HikakinTV.

In a country where trust in organizations is generally low, vloggers and YouTube personalities offer a direct way to stay updated on current events and explore the world.

Whether it’s daily news updates, product reviews, or unboxing videos, YouTube is a crucial part of the digital space for a high number of active users.

The COVID-19 pandemic boosted social media usage by a huge margin. Users shifted from watching YouTube content individually on their phones or tablets to enjoying it together with their families or partners on TV.

Since then, the trend of staying at home has become more prevalent. Artists and celebrities are increasingly creating their own YouTube channels to connect with their fans and increase engagement.

Twitter

Japan has the largest Twitter user base in the world after the United States. This could be attributed to Japan’s preference for anonymity and privacy on Twitter. Hence, advertising on Twitter can be a very effective strategy to appeal to the affluent, educated, active users in Japan. 

Twitter is a go-to for staying updated on trends, news, and more. Businesses can tap into this by sharing genuine, Japanese-focused content for effective marketing.

Twitter’s platform is also a goldmine for social listening. With its vast user base and real-time nature, Twitter is rich with public opinion, sentiment, and trends. 

Twitter marketing strategy.

Twitter marketing strategy.

By monitoring conversations, hashtags, and trends on Twitter, market researchers can gain valuable insights into consumer preferences, opinions, and behaviors.

Depending on your budget and desired reach, you can choose to promote individual tweets or a full-fledged Twitter Ad campaign.

Instagram in Japan

Instagram’s aesthetic nature goes hand in hand with Japanese people like appealing visuals. Instagram prioritizes photos and videos over text, letting users express creativity, share experiences, and exhibit their interests visually. 

With over 46 million monthly users, Instagram greatly influences fashion and lifestyle trends in Japanese society. 

Due to its ease of use and widespread popularity among younger generations, global and local brands invest heavily in influencer marketing and leverage Japan’s Instagram influencers to help get their brands popular in Japan.

Influencer marketing investment in Japan

Influencer marketing investment in billion Japanese Yen. 

This is because Japanese consumers are more likely to be influenced by the recommendations and endorsements of influencers from their own country than those from abroad.

Facebook in Japan

Unlike others, Facebook (now Meta) is actually used mostly as a networking tool in Japan. This app is ideal for social media marketing because many Japanese professionals widely use it for selling B2B services and products.

Hence, if you have a B2B business, I don’t see why you shouldn’t leverage Facebook to network with potential clients, build brand awareness, and target high-value prospects through its advanced advertising tools.

Facebook Content marketing funnel.

Facebook Content marketing funnel.

Tip: Install the Facebook or Meta Pixel to measure your ad’s performance, track your leads, and enable retargeting. 

Facebook isn’t as popular among many active social media users because its real-name policy challenges the need for anonymity, which is preferred by many Japanese users.

Facebook users in Japan.

Facebook users in Japan.

Facebook also doesn’t have the most user-friendly interface for native Japanese users.

Unfortunately, with each generation having shorter attention spans and a greater attraction to visual content, Facebook has struggled to capture the attention of younger social media users in Japan.

TikTok in Japan

The social media scene thrives on user-generated, visually rich content- which is TikTok’s reason for its quick rise to fame and joining the 1 billion users club.

In Japan, TikTok now has almost 17 million users, overtaking Instagram as the fastest-growing social media app.

If your brand is aiming to reach a younger audience in Japan, TikTok is a great choice since it’s hugely popular with teens and young adults. With users spending an average of 45 minutes on the app, more advertisers are seeing its potential as a powerful way to connect with this demographic.

However, there’s a catch.

Potential Fate of TikTok

As of late 2022, TikTok was banned from all government devices used by millions of American government employees. Now, if that ban were to spread and TikTok were axed from every smartphone and app store in the country, there would be some serious ripple effects.

It could set a precedent for other countries to consider similar actions, potentially leading to a fragmented global internet landscape with different apps and services available in different regions.

LinkedIn in Japan

LinkedIn users by age group.

LinkedIn users by age group.

LinkedIn, similar to Facebook, caters to a smaller, niche audience in Japan with around 2 million monthly users. Japanese consumers use LinkedIn to conduct business, connect with other professionals and B2B marketing.

LinkedIn’s content in Japan is largely focused on industry news, professional achievements, company updates, and thought leadership articles. Users engage with content relevant to their professional interests and career development.

Facebook vs. LinkedIn on B2B marketing.

Facebook vs. LinkedIn on B2B marketing.

Social Media in Japan: Understanding Japanese Social Media Trends

We noticed some social media trends in Japan that may be useful to you. Let’s examine them more closely.

Niche> Normal

The digital marketing scene is huge in Japan. Individuals or groups who can cater to specific, specialized audiences are becoming increasingly valuable.

This could be due to factors such as their ability to engage deeply with their audience, their expertise in a particular subject matter, or their capacity to build strong communities around specialized interests.

Finding your digital marketing niche.

Finding your digital marketing niche.

Hence, I recommend performing in-depth market research to identify niche digital creators whose content aligns with your target audience and brand values.

Tip: Analyze metrics such as engagement rates, reach, and conversions to understand what resonates best with the audience. Use this data to refine your strategies and optimize future campaigns.

Japanese SNS = News

In Japan, many folks turn to social media for their news fix. Widely used social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter are where people rush to get the latest scoop.

Create content that aligns with trending topics and current events. By staying updated on what’s happening in Japan and globally, you can tailor your content to resonate with the audience’s interests.

Encourage user-generated content by running contests, challenges, or campaigns that keep up with the popular trends to prompt followers to increase engagement and brand awareness.

Enhanced Localization

Your business will go nowhere without focusing on localization in a culturally rich and homogenous country like Japan.

Use the Japanese language in your social media posts, captions, and comments to resonate with local users. Incorporate culturally relevant references, symbols, and imagery into your content to make it more relatable and engaging for Japanese audiences.

Tip: DO NOT rely on machine translation. It can be unreliable and may result in awkward or nonsensical translations that could harm your brand’s reputation. 

Difference between translation and localization.

Difference between translation and localization.

Another pro tip that works wonders in Japan is staying updated on local trends, holidays, and events and adding them to your social media content calendar. This could involve creating themed posts or promotions that align with popular cultural or seasonal themes.

Popular Social Media Strategies for Japan

By understanding Japan’s unique culture, language, and consumer behavior, you’ll be well-equipped to make a significant impact.

Use Japanese Social Media Platforms Wisely

Focus on the top social media platforms in Japan, like LINE, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Advertising in Japan can be made easy by leveraging their new, integrated e-commerce features, making shopping easier and more convenient for consumers.

Also, take advantage of major e-commerce sites like Amazon Japan, Rakuten, and Yahoo! Shopping.

These platforms are great for social media marketing and play a key role in e-commerce, providing a smooth shopping experience. Use these features to maximize your engagement and drive sales.

Mobile Optimization

Japanese consumers who use social media are especially focused on mobile devices. To boost your brand, prioritize creating mobile-friendly content and make sure your website is optimized for smooth mobile use.

Benefits of a mobile-first strategy.

Benefits of a mobile-first strategy.

Master Cultural Nuances

Boost your brand’s appeal by creating content that is compatible with Japanese language and culture. Work with linguistic and cultural experts to ensure your translations and messages are accurate and culturally relevant. This will help you build a genuine emotional connection with your audience.

Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is booming in Japan. Since Instagram users are more likely to pay attention to products and services endorsed by local influencers, it’s wise to harness the power of local influencers to connect with their loyal followers and build strong trust in your brand.

Understand The Japanese Market

Take the time to perform a thorough market research and understand the preferences and behaviors of your target audience. Use this valuable information to create detailed customer personas and develop a content strategy that resonates with their unique interests and needs.

At SERPninja, we specialize in helping brands connect with consumers and understand the market, helping them to develop strategies that boost their bottom line.

Final Thoughts

With 96 million social media users in Japan, leveraging high usage platforms like LINE, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and LinkedIn can significantly boost your brand’s visibility and engagement.

To stand out, create culturally relevant content, stay updated on local trends, and prioritize mobile optimization.

By tailoring your approach to the Japanese market, you can unlock new opportunities for growth and success in this dynamic landscape.

Gaby Alexander

Gaby Alexander

Gaby is a search marketing enthusiast with a passion for helping agencies improve their ROI through effective link-building strategies. With expertise in Google Campaign Manager, HubSpot Inbound Marketing, and SEMrush, Gaby provides valuable insights and guidance to optimize search marketing campaigns.

Gaby Alexander

Gaby Alexander

Gaby is a search marketing enthusiast with a passion for helping agencies improve their ROI through effective link-building strategies. With expertise in Google Campaign Manager, HubSpot Inbound Marketing, and SEMrush, Gaby provides valuable insights and guidance to optimize search marketing campaigns.

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