Twitter may still a new marketing channel for many top brands, but they’re slowly learning the ropes. They’re holding contests, advertising new products and increasing their visibility in 140 characters or less.
But how are brands in different countries adapting to Twitter?
Adam Acar (@adamacar), a professor of communication at Kobe City University in Japan, examined how the top 100 brands in American and in Japan have embraced Twitter.
As you can see from the chart below, Japanese brands are well behind their American counterparts when it comes to Twitter adoption. Only 60 percent of top Japanese brands have a Twitter account compared to a whopping 95 percent of American brands, and only 41 percent tweeted in the past seven days (compared to 86 percent of the top 100 brands in America).
And these numbers are actually pretty surprising. A study released last week showed that Japan’s population is more active on Twitter than the US, despite the US having more overall users. But apparently, brands in Japan have yet to seize the opportunity to connect to their social media savvy customers.
And American brands are not only more active on Twitter, they’re more engaged as well.
The chart below depicts a variety of ways that brands can engage and increase their interaction on Twitter, but let’s take a look at a specific example: American brands are happy to @mention another user in their tweets, as 78 percent have done it in the past week. Only 28 percent of Japanese brands, on the other hand, bothered to include a single @mention in their tweets.
The study’s lead researcher, Adam Acar, finds a possible explanation for the different approaches to Twitter between the two countries in their cultures:
“Although American brands give an impression that they are better at engaging consumers in social media, we should also remember that Japan is a culture of reservation, formality, harmony and risk avoidance. Japanese companies are known for their soft selling practices and some marketing executives in Japan might just think it is very intrusive to send out many personal messages or ask questions on Twitter. Another cultural factor we should take into account is the high risk avoidance in Japan. Since operating a Twitter account requires constant supervision to make sure that no risky messages are sent out, for the time being Japanese companies might just be testing the waters before they shift their focus to social media.”