Ultimate Guide

Ultimate Guide to Line For Business (May 2019)

By February 4, 2019 May 24th, 2019 No Comments
Ultimate Guide to Line For Business (May 2019)

If you're interested in the Japanese market, this is the guide for you. The Line app is a messaging app created in Japan for Japanese people. Since Line is a little different than your standard messaging app, we've gone into a little more detail than others. This is your ultimate guide to Line Official Account for Business.

This post is designed to help you with your Line Official Account research, we're going to be answering questions like:

What is Line?

The 4 Main Screens of Line App
The 4 Main Screens of Line

The Line interface is similar to WeChat. The first tab is a discovery area. This is where you can find Line apps, receive friend recommendations, create groups and see a list of friends and official accounts that you follow.

There are 3 additional tabs. One for chats, it lists all your conversations in chronological order as well as notifications from the Line company. Another is a newsfeed that shows posts from friends and from Line Official Accounts you follow. The last tab is a news aggregator that show news based on your location.

Line Pay

You can use Line Pay to pay on the line store, pay for music and movies, pay online and pay in store.
Ways to Use Line Pay

Similar to WeChat Pay Line Pay is designed to replace all the payments you need to do in your life. This includes paying for items on the Line Store, paying at physical retail locations, paying online and sending money to your friends.

Line Pay has seen moderate success, a large portion of Line's active users are using the service for some of their purchases. Interestingly, Line Pay has actually become the biggest payments provider in Taiwan. Even banks are complaining that is has taken away a significant portion of their transaction-based business.

Recently, Line has taken a cue from the success of Chinese payment providers AliPay and WeChat Pay and promised to adopt a QR code payments system. While currently using an RFID system like that used by Apple Pay, QR codes will allow much smaller merchants to be able to take payment electronically using only their smartphone.

Line Friends & Stickers

This is what line friends look like.
A Selection of Line Friends

What article about Line could be complete without the mention of Line Friends? What are Line Friends? They are your friends… from Line. Does it make sense? Not to me. I don't let companies provide friends for me. But hey, maybe I'm old fashioned.

Putting the name Line Friends aside I like to think of them as the Japanese cousins of emoji. In fact, that is the that is the way Line Friends got their start. Custom emojis that Line users could send to each other. The key difference is that each Line friend has their own version of each emotion.

My personal belief is that Line Friends took off because they are a little way people can differentiate themselves in a society where conformism is the prevailing trend. Using Line Friends is like saying, we may experience the same emotions but we express them differently.

Did I forget to mention that Line friends are incredibly successful? So much so that there are physical stores dedicated to selling nothing more than Line friends merchandise and these stores even exist outside of Japan.

Why Use Line for Business?

the amount of Monthly Active Users on Line in Indonesia, Thailand, Taiwan & Japan
Monthly Active Users on Line in Indonesia, Thailand, Taiwan & Japan

Line has over 600 million registered users of which about 220 million are monthly active users. 165 million of these monthly active users are located in Line's four primary markets which are Japan, Taiwan, Indonesia and Thailand. Line has been so successful in these countries that the Line annual report actual breaks figures down per country. An interesting tidbit from the annual report is that even though the amount on monthly active users on Line is shrinking ever so slightly, the profits of the company continue to increase.

Realistically speaking, if you are considering creating a Line Official Account you should be targeting consumers who are located in Japan, Taiwan, Thailand or Indonesia.

Types of Business Accounts on Line

There used to be two types of Line business accounts, [email protected] accounts, and Line Official Accounts. In 2019, Line simplified its business account system. Now there is only one type of Line Business Account: Line Official Account. If you're looking to start messaging customers on Line, the Line Official Account is now your only choice. Previously line used to have the [email protected] account type.

Although Line did simplify the accounts system. There are still several tiers of Line Official Accounts:

Unverified Accounts are easy to set up, it only takes a few minutes, but you'll receive a grey badge next to your name, and your account won't appear in search results.

Verified Accounts appear in search results, but you'll need to pass Line's verification which takes a few business days. You can only apply for a verified Line Official Account in Lines key markets: Japan, Thailand, Indonesia & Taiwan.

Premium Accounts are for companies that are on a paid plan or chose to pay for a premium id. These accounts also appear in search results.

This tables describes the difference between a unverified Line Official Account, Verified Line Official Account & Premium Line Official Account.
Line Official Account Tiers

Line Official Account Subscription Plans

Although Line does encourage you to pay for your Line business account with things like Premium ID, you can get started with a completely free Line Official Account.

The only real limitation with the free tier is that you'll only be able to send 1,000 broadcast messages per month.

If you'd like to send even more broadcast messages, you can pay for the Light Official Account tier or the Standard Official Account tier. I if you're curious to learn more about the Line Official Account price, there is more information in the table below.

This table shows the difference between the free Line Official Account, Light Line Official Account & Standard Line Official Account tiers. It shows the Line Official Account Price.
Line Official Account Subscription Plans

Premium ID

When you create you free unverified Line Official Account you'll be given a random string for your Line ID. The Line ID is the unique identifier for your account. A free Line ID will look something like @anfr321.

The Premium ID is an option that allows you to personalize your Line ID for a price. The Premium ID costs 12 US dollars per year. You can upgrade to a premium ID in the Line Official Account Manager by going to Settings > Activity & Billing. The premium ID option is at the bottom.

This image shows how you request a Line premium ID in the Line Official Account manager.
Requesting a Line Official Account Premium ID

Line Business Connect

Line Business Connect is additional functionality that you can buy on top of your Line Official Account. We weren't able to figure out how much it costs but we do know about the additional functionality.

A key element of this functionality is the ability to connect Line IDs with your own customer records. With this, you'll be able to send notifications and other promotional information programmatically from your companies ERP or Marketing Suite directly to your Line users.

Other features include additional UI elements that can be used in the chat. The Line Business Connect API will allow you to create buttons, confirmation prompts and carousels much like those in Facebook Messenger. We are at a loss as to how Line is able to charge corporations for these features, but hats off to them.

Getting Started With A Line Official Account

If you're wondering how to make a Line business account. To start messaging customers on Line, you'll need to create a Line Official Account. You can create a Line Official Account here.

You can sign up for a Line Official Account using your personal Line account or an email. The process is straightforward.

1 Add your basic business information.

This screenshot shows the basic business information you need to add in order to create a Line Official Account
Create a Line Official Account – Business Information

2 Your Line Official Account has been created. This is when you'll receive your business account Line ID.

This image displays the success window which you will receive once you've created you Line Official Account
Create a Line Official Account – Success

The Line the Official Account Manager

Once you've created your Line Official Account, you'll be taken to the Line Official Account Manager, this is where you can adjust the settings of your Line Official Account.

An image of the Line Official Account platform
LINE Official Account Manager Platform

For you prefer using an app to manage your Line Official account there is a Line App for business on the Play Store. Some would call this a Business Line App, but on the Play Store it is just called Line Official Accounts.

How To Benefit From A Line Official Account

Now that you've created your Line Official Account we're going to describe how to get the best out of it in marketing, sales & customer service use cases.

We'll start with the best ways to generate leads of acquire contacts for your Line Official Account.

Generate Leads Using Line Official Account

You might be interested in Line for business because you are interested in finding new customers in Japan, Taiwan, Indonesia or Thailand. To understand the best ways to attract users to your account you'll need to understand the ways users can find your account.

Generate Leads Using Line In App Search

It is possible to search for unverified Line Official Accounts on the Line App; however, you have to search for its ID, otherwise you won't find it. When I clicked on the friends icon on the bottom left of my phone and typed in Rocketbots, nothing appeared. You'll need a premium or verified account for Line users to be able to find your business name through search.

Searching for an unverified Line Official Account using Line In App Search
Searching For An Unverified Line Official Account

Generate Leads Using Line Official Account Links & QR Codes

This is how you can create a direct link, or QR code from the Line Official Account Manager
Line Official Account QR Codes

Since the only way people can find you is if they search for your ID or if they receive a recommendation, you'll need some alternative tools. You will find those tools under Home > Gain Friends. There you will see the QR code that you can use on your web pages or physical advertising. Once Line users scan your QR code, they will automatically start following you. If you're operating a physical location, you'll want to print it and place it in a visible area so customers can easily follow you on Line.

On the bottom left corner, you'll find a code for the Add Friend button. This will allow your website visitors to be taken to your QR Code at the click of a button. Inside the snippet, for the button, we've found there is a URL you can use to achieve the same effect. So with that, I humbly offer you to join the Rocketbots [email protected] account.

When Your Press The Add Friend Button It Takes You To This Page
When You Press The Add Friend Button It Takes You To This Page

The key difference between this link on Line and on other messaging apps is that you will not be able to add references these links on Line. Therefore it will be hard to track which links that you put out there users actually came from.

You can share your Line@ account through your website by creating Line Social Plugins.
Line Social Plugins

One last note. There are several different styles of Add Friend buttons you can use and create. However, for these custom buttons to work, your web URL must be whitelisted. Line has actually created a whole separate website to create the code for these buttons called Line Social Plugins.

Organizing Contacts on Line Official Account

You can organize your Line Official Account contacts using tags. To create a tag you first have to go your Chat tab > Chat Settings > Tags.

Creating a Tag on the Line Official Accounts Platform
Creating a Tag on the Line Official Accounts Platform

To add tags to your contacts use the chat icon on the left corner of your screen, click on a contact, and then user the +add tag green button right below their profile picture. You can also organize your chats into the folders provided: inbox, follow up, and resolved.

Assigning a Tag to a Contact on the Line Official Accounts Platform
Assigning a Tag to a Contact on the Line Official Accounts Platform

Sending Broadcast Messages One The Line Official Accounts Platform

Broadcasts on the Line Official Accounts Platform
Broadcasts on the Line Official Accounts Platform

To create a broadcast message go to your Home tab > Broadcast > New Broadcast. There are several types of rich message broadcasts you can create. Aside from sending your basic text, emoji, and pictures, you can create and send coupons, do a prize draw, create an actual rich video, or a rich message email marketing style and even send polls or surveys.

To send these kinds of rich messages you'll need to go to the rich content section and create the messages before you can send them. We're not going to go through all that with you but we've played around with it a little bit and it works as advertised.

There is something about Line Official Account broadcasts that we have never seen before, though, there is no targeting, we've checked in several places in the Line Official Account Manager. You can only send broadcasts to all the followers of your Line Official Account.

With your free tier Line Official Account, you will only be able to send 1000 messages which means 1000 broadcast messages. Remember, when you send 1 broadcast to your 5 followers that counts as 5 of your messages.

Customer Service on Line Official Account

Line Official has the potential for customer service. Unlike the WhatsApp Business App, there can be several users logged into the back end at the same time.

Greeting Message on Line Official Account

To create your Greeting message go to Home > Automated Messages > Greeting Message.

Creating a Greeting Message on the Line Official Accounts platform
Line Official Account Greeting Message

As on other messaging app business account platforms, setting up a greeting message is easy. Type in the message that you want users to receive upon first taking to your Line Official Account and you're done. As on the WeChat Official Accounts Platform Line reuses the same message builder everywhere. That means you can greet users with an onboarding survey or even a coupon if you like.

Away Message on Line Official Account

To send an auto-response message (or away message) go to Home > Automated Messages > Auto-response Message.

Away message on the Line Official Accounts Platform
Line Official Account Away Messages

To set up an away message on Line Official Account you'll need to use the auto-response messages function. Although, you could use this as an all-purpose auto-response message like the name suggests it is really designed to be used as an away message. You can choose to send the message on a specific date, at a specific time, every day or all the time.

Unlike other platforms, you can actually set up several different auto-response messages. You can have different messages to cover weekdays and the weekend. Although, auto-reply message on Line Official Account is sent with every successive message so it can be somewhat annoying to the user if they keep typing while you are away.

Responding to your Customer Chats on Line Official Account

This image shows how to respond to chats on the Line Official Account Manager
Responding To Chats on the Line Official Account Manager

Line Official Account lets you respond to customers requests one on one, through their app Line Official Account, available at Google Play, or through the online platform. Aside from responding, there is not much that can be done. There doesn't seem to be any way to assign a contact to another team member if you're helping people in a team setting.

Keyword Based Auto-Response on Line Official Account

You can create keyword based auto responses by navigating to the Automated Messages section of the Line Official Accounts platform.

Keyword Based Auto Responder on the Line Official Accounts Manager
Keyword Based Auto Responder on the Line Official Accounts Manager

Last but not least, Line Official Account has one additional killer customer service feature, keyword-based auto-responses. Each auto-response can have a seemingly unlimited amount of additional keywords (we tried 15) and you'll be able to send responses with the same rich message builder as broadcasts.

These tools create some rather interesting options. For example, assemble a series of keywords that indicate a person is unhappy with your company and send them a satisfaction survey. If you set up a keyword auto-response and an away message the keyword based auto-response will always prevail. Overall Line Official Account has the most powerful keyword based auto-response system that we have seen.

Is That Everything You Can Do With Line Official Account for your Business?

We've covered all the messaging features of Line Official Account except for posting to the Line News Feed. If you're familiar with posting to Facebook, Instagram or WeChat this will be a familiar process. Something you might want to try is giving out coupons to your Line Official Account customers.

Iaroslav Kudritskiy

Iaroslav Kudritskiy

Iaroslav is the Chief Operating Officer at Rocketbots overseeing growth and operations. He is a graduate of the MBA program at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and his previous roles include positions at Kodak Alaris, Xaxis & Light Reaction.

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