March was a typically successful month for Tourism New Zealand Japan's Twitter profile, with 59 tweets posted and 623 new followers.
"Twitter is huge in Japan - bigger than Facebook, which has itself been growing exponentially," says Tourism New Zealand's Regional Manager Japan and Korea Nick Mudge.
"From the 59 tweets we made in March we saw 728 re-tweets, reaching an estimated 448,000 Twitter users. This momentum continued in April, with 734 new followers added taking Tourism New Zealand Japan's followers above 7,500 for the first time.
"With these results, we are ensuring we make best use of this channel to re-seed New Zealand messaging and gain further exposure in the market."
According to a 2011 article in The Japan Times titled Japan 'the Twitter nation', Japanese was the second language to be added to Twitter menus (following English) and 14 per cent of all tweets globally were in Japanese - second only to English at 50 per cent. In 2013, it's clear that the impact of Twitter in Japan is continuing to climb.
Nick says that the re-tweet feature, when followers re-post tweets to their own followers, is an excellent way of extending the reach of a message and keeping it alive for longer.
"Our Young Adventurers campaign tweet about the starry sky in Lake Tekapo is a perfect example of this," he says.
The tweet was re-tweeted 3,273 times, reaching an estimated 625,000 Twitter users and making it Tourism New Zealand Japan's most re-tweeted message ever.
"Following the campaign which encouraged young Japanese travellers to indulge their fantasies and travel to New Zealand to experience Middle-earth for themselves, we tweeted an image of two young Japanese dining at one of Waiheke Island's wineries.
"From that one tweet, 271 people re-tweeted it and 153 people tagged it as a favourite, reaching an estimated 70,000 Twitter users.
"We know our Young Adventurers - aged between 20 and 35 - are big users of social media. If one tweet can be seen by our 7,500+ followers and then shared and re-shared across their own follower networks, the opportunities to seed key New Zealand messages are vast.
"The 'favourite' functionality - which is when users like a tweet - also shows us that the content we're tweeting is engaging to our followers," says Nick.
Consistent with Japan's interest in the movie, four of Tourism New Zealand's top five most successful tweets in Japan had a Hobbit reference: Hobbiton's Green Dragon, TV One Breakfast' Elvin weather forecast, tweeted twice (tweet one and tweet two), the'Home of Middle-earth' passport stamp and Hobbit cupcakes made by a Hobbit fan.
View @PureNZinJapan and their recent tweets.