5 Ways Japanese Small Businesses Can Scale Using Social Media

A couple years ago Google was my client and in that time our job was to develop a content strategy for the larger part of Asia.

During that period, I learned a lot about Japan, specifically about small business here. For example, did you know that something like 80% of Japan is made up of small businesses, the other 20% are the major corporations that drive a lot of the global growth.

This means that being a small business owner or working at a small business in Japan isn’t as unordinary as one would think.

So, if there are so many small businesses in Japan, what exactly are they doing to reach customers, drive growth or even expand their client base?

The answer isn’t much, truth is these small companies struggle to use social media to their advantage. As a result turnover can be high and economically speaking, there the lack of ability to capitalize on consumer spending can hurt the domestic economy.

Given that we work with a lot of small companies to develop digital and social media strategies to grow their business, we decided to provide 5 simple strategies that small companies can use to drive growth, here they are.

Develop a niche customer map

If you’re a small business, you don’t have time to reach everyone, so stop wasting your money trying to. Instead, focus on 2–3 customer personas that you can speak to.

To do this, you can easily use Facebook, Instagram, and even Twitter to develop posts and promotions that reach the persona’s that matter to you most, even if it means targeting people who live across the street, go for it. The smaller and more niche, the better the local sentiment and soon to be future sales.

Create local in-store offers promoted online

Once you have your personas set up, use Facebook or Twitter to develop a series of special discounts or promotions that are guaranteed to drive offline activity.

To do this, think about what your persona’s want most. For example, it could be a coupon redeemable only in store, or even a free lunch and learn workshop held offline but only open to online registrants in that area. Whatever it is, give them something they want and need and you’ll get more store traffic as a result.

Leverage Facebook Live to engage more fans

Believe it or not, people watch Facebook Live. Even if you’re not on Facebook Live, you could broadcast your day as a form of YouTube content. Either way, video engages and converts better than any other form of content.

To do this, say you’re a ramen shop, then what would it be like to do a bowl of the day video? You can do this with your phone and an app, so why not try? The more video you create, the more you have a chance to show off your product or small business to a niche audience in a way that drives engagement that can lead to new customer opportunities.

Create offline incentives that translate online

The truth is everyday someone is in your store they take a photo or post a pic and you’re not rewarding them at all, what a shame. How different would it be if you developed an incentive calendar that rewarded people for those pics?

To do this, think about posting updates or a sign that encourages fans to post pics tagging your location for some kind of coupon or offer. I mean really, how hard is it to give away one free coffee everyday if it brings you 30–40 new customers every week? User generated content is important and free, so take advantage of it.

Create a contact list for social CRM

So, in some ways email is still one of the most valuable forms of content there is, nothing beats reaching a customer directly, personally, and socially. With social CRM, your objective isn’t to spam people with emails but rather collect personalized ways of communicating (Email, DM’s, or even via Line).

To do this, identify which platform works for you from the options above, and identify a to develop a communications plan that reaches individuals across different personas and creates a direct response protocol for keeping them in tune for offers, news, and other ways to personally engage with the brand.

If you’re a small business in Japan and want to get more out of your social media in 2018, this program was designed for you.