Japan Facebook and motorcycles

posted Jun 11, 2011, 12:34 AM by Loose Tube   [ updated Dec 28, 2011, 1:34 AM ]

Japan is well renowned for its popular obsession with mobile communication and gaming and so it may come as a surprise to see it markedly down in terms of facebook up-take compared to other countries. 

Total Facebook Users:

3 608 880

Penetration of population:

2.85%

Position in the list:

35.

Penetration of online population:

3.64%

Although Japan Facebook has doubled its users to 3.6 million in 6 months, it is still ranked only 35th in the world and way behind the other leading social media services; Mixi, Gree and Mobage-town which have over 20 million users each. These Japanese social media based sites allow anonymous user profiles and the last two incorporate gaming. Having established a large following each of these providers is attempting to defend their position by replicating some of Facebook’s strengths. We will see whether these measures and the handling of the sensitive privacy issue which differentiates them from Facebook will inhibit the latter’s growth.

So when we attempt to apply Jeremiah Owyang’s "8 success criteria for facebook page marketing" to Japan’s motorcycle industry we find the results rather poor.


Honda, Suzuki, Yamaha, Kawasaki, BMW Japan, Harley Davidson Japan, MV Agusta Japan and Piaggio Group Japan do not have a facebook page. Of the other brands currently Triumph Japan has 454 followers, KTM Japan 386 and Ducati Japan 307. Only Triumph and KTM are on twitter.

Nevertheless, by applying the 8 success criteria framework, where 5 equals the maximum score, the following results emerge:
 

 

Triumph

Ducati

KTM

1. Set community expectations

 0

 0

 0

2. Provide cohesive branding

 1

 1

 1

3. Be up to date

 3

 2

3

4. Live authenticity

 0

0

0

5. Participate in dialog

 2

1

1

6. Enable peer-to-peer interactions

 0

0

7. Foster advocacy

 2

1

1

8. Solicit a call to action

 2

1

1

 

 1.25

0.75

0.875



The evaluation of each site's performance was also dependent on that of the others which of course makes these scores relativistic in nature rather than absolute. Irrespective of the approach, the results are not good.

KTM and Ducati's wall postings are predominantly links to their own web pages or in KTM's case, its own blog site. Only Triumph incorporated postings from individual users and in fact its postings were more varied, drawing on multiple sources, not just its own web site. None of the sites appeared to respond to questions, although some postings attracted multiple comments. 

Considering the cultural sensitivity associated with privacy, the "live authenticity" parameter could be ignored, as it can be considered impossible that a Japanese staff member ever individually signs a comment.

The three active brands are members of the foreign manufacturer community distributing in Japan, implying that these pages are an extension of projects initiated in markets where facebook is already established. Despite the prospect of more efficient targeted marketing that facebook represents, all three of the sites function only as micro-sites on behalf of their primary homepage, harnessing the engagement capabilities of facebook to share information with their followers more efficiently. They appear not to be nurturing any other type of objective at this time, perhaps waiting for an increase in facebook popularity before making additional investments.

Even though Yamaha Japan has no facebook page, Yamaha Indonesia has a very popular page called Yamaholigan with 1,192,185 followers, despite the not so politically correct name. The lack of facebook's overall popularity in Japan serves as a brake for manufacturers. Only when it becomes more popular will it be taken more seriously by the industry.

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