As the first step of the analysis, we accessed the accounts of the top 100 Japanese on twitter. We observed that almost a quarter of Japanese companies (22 out of 100) had twitter accounts. On the other hand, only 9 of these Japanese companies used the service actively. Softbank, one of the popular telecommunications company in Japan, was the most followed brand with 52, 444 followers proceeded by Ajinomoto (29,370 followers). Although the investigation of Facebook pages is beyond the scope of this paper, we also searched for the brand pages of the companies on Facebook to check if the twitter account was listed there. Facebook usage was almost nonexistent among the top 100 as we only found 2 brand pages on facebook.com.
Since the number of active Japanese companies was rather small in our first sample, we assessed the top 30 most active Japanese companies separately in the second phase of the analysis. Readers should note that not all of the 30 companies we investigated were among the Nikkei Top 100 list. Based on our analysis, the most frequent commercial tweet category in Japan is “promotions” (52%) followed by “dialogues” (43%) and “news” (13%) (See Graph I).
A further analysis of hashtags (#) and @ signs indicated that Japanese companies do not shy away from initiating or maintaining direct conversations with their followers as a quarter of the messages were directed at individual users (@ signs). Hashtags, which function as chat sessions were also quite common (See Graph II).
This study was completed by March 9th, 2011.
Top 100 Corporations list was obtained from http://markets.nikkei.co.jp/ranking/keiei/uriage.aspx