While traveling recently, I met and chatted with Reza, a young man in his 20s whose parents were born in Iran before having and raising him in Japan. It’s not every day you get to meet a Millenial from Japan, so I spoke to Reza about Japan’s hottest social network, the Line app. (accessible on mobile devices and PCs)
Line, which launched in 2011, now boasts upward of 560 million users, including 170 million monthly active users. (Source) The app is available on iOS and Android and works across platforms on PCs. It is a communication/messaging app that allows for sharing of photos, calls, and videos, among other things. It has been embraced by Millenials, in particular, and has been Japan’s most popular social network overall since 2013.
Here’s a quick lesson on Line, courtesy of my friend Reza:
— Many choose to use Line for messaging friends, primarily as an alternative to texting. Why? Because it’s like enhanced texting, with photos, videos, and especially, stickers.
— Users have profiles shown as “Timelines,” which are similar to one’s Facebook Timeline. But, Reza told me, most of his friends don’t use Timeline much and instead utilize Facebook for such a feature.
— Timeline is currently the part of Line where brands are playing; they are not messaging with users, for the most part.
— STICKERS are the main draw for users to Line (and a source of revenue for Line, see: Facebook Messenger plans!?). There is an extensive, and ever-growing, selection of Stickers one can use in their messaging and, Reza says, users love Stickers because they can describe thoughts and feelings so easily with the messages and make the communication more fun than just a normal text or message. He has not seen a need to buy premium Stickers.
— All of one’s friends are on Line. This isn’t a secret, but when a social network like Line reaches a critical mass as it has, it becomes almost a necessity to be on there to remain connected. (kind of like Facebook for some)
A quick takeaway for marketers:
Millenials love the beauty and ease of communicating through images. Consider the way emojis, GIFs, Vines, Instagrams, and the like have recently exploded in social and digital media. Line, and its Stickers, very much reflects this. Whether it’s creating custom emoji for your team/brand, finding novel, unique, and surprising ways to enhance the way your fans communicate with each other (and, secondarily, with you) is the insight to consider for brands. And, of course, make sure to maintain and grow a mobile relationship with your fans.
What are your thoughts on Line and what it can teach us about social media? (Learn more)