In part one of our blog last week we looked into three active and interesting marketplaces regarding their social media usage - the UK, USA and Hong Kong. In today’s blog we will delve into the social media in three very different countries - Germany, Norway and Singapore - highlighting key consumer behaviours across each.

Germany

More than 75% of all Germans over the age of 14 use the Internet in some way, with more than 75% of these registered on at least one social network.

A few years ago, Germany was not well known for social networking however, there are now 22 million German Facebook users - the tenth highest number of Facebook users in the world. The lesser known XING hits number two in the popularity polls for social networks in Germany, accruing 4.2 million users, although Facebook still hold the highest market share by a considerable sum. Launched in 2003, XING is described as a social platform that enables a small-world network for professionals, similar to LinkedIn.

Generally speaking, research shows that Germans like to keep things private when it comes to the web - 60% use social media for private purposes and 70% value the ability to set privacy controls to avoid prying eyes. In 2010, many Germans expressed their discontent towards Facebook regarding changes that they felt compromised their privacy online, however 14% have since stated they were accustomed to Facebook advertising and welcomed it for learning about brands/organisations.

In Germany, research shows that Facebook, XING, Twitter, YouTube, blogs, LinkedIn and Google+ (listed according to frequency of use) are the social media tools of choice for businesses, who use such tools primarily for representing the business and building awareness in the online space.

Norway

Facebook user penetration in Norway is the highest in the world, where there are currently 2.9 million Facebook users, comprising a huge 61% of the Norwegian adult population. YouTube has the next largest market share with 27.2% in Norway.

Differing from the research on Germany, Norway is reported to be extremely open when it comes to the web and has accepted social media with open arms, with the main focus on content absorption rather than content production. It is worth noting that as Norwegians are focused on content absorption, engagement levels may be lower than in other countries, however this is the norm and does not mean that your campaigns are not reaching your target audience.

The figures show that social media is more popular amongst younger demographics and it was found that younger females are the most likely to adopt newer forms of social media, such as Snapchat and Instagram.

Analysing social media user growth in Norway by network, it is the newer, less-saturated social platforms like Snapchat (21.2% of internet users) and Instagram (23.2%) that appear to be picking up the pace the most.

Singapore

Singaporeans are some of the most active social media users in the world and the republic has the world’s second highest social penetration rate at 59%. Users in Singapore spend on average 2.2 hours on social media every single day and are more connected to the Internet than the rest of the world on average.

YouTube rules the roost in Singapore, with a massive 3.93 million users spending on average 11.6 hours per month on the platform. Facebook closely follows YouTube with 3.22 million users but overtakes it in terms of time spent on the network every month at around 19.6 hours. This suggests that Facebook users are far more active and engaged than those browsing YouTube. Although there are more users on YouTube than any other platform, this doesn’t imply that YouTube has the highest market share, as more Singaporeans are active on Facebook.

Twitter has attained some 2.56 million users, who spend on average 7.7 hours every month on the network. This figure for dwell time is high considering the nature of Twitter and the way other marketplaces engage with it - as a far more brief encounter to quickly digest bite sized chunks of information.

Social media marketing has proven impact in Singapore - 46% of singaporeans research pre purchase whilst 51% frequently use social media to make a purchase decision. This opens up considerable opportunities for companies wishing to optimise on these channels for marketing.

Social Media Around the World

This two-part blog has looked at countries with a consistent lean toward Facebook as the social network of choice, however this is not the case across the board. Take China, for example, where strict regulations on mainstream social platforms has resulted in a completely different picture of social media penetration (we’ll look at this in more detail in another blog coming soon).

Where Facebook is prevalent, it offers a very attractive opportunity. Large American brands such as American Express and Coca Cola received billions of impressions through Facebook advertising and noticed an increase in ROI of 3.6 times, whilst Media Markt Germany, SAS Norway, Huggies Hong Kong and Singapore’s Ministry of Retail have all experienced recent success using the Facebook advertising platform. As Facebook advertising can be monitored on a daily basis with as small or as large a budget as you wish, it is a great place to begin reaching out to potential customers who you know spend most of their time online there.

Wherever in the world you are looking to market your business, you must consider the differing norms of consumer behaviour, culture, language, reach and connectivity before you jump in. Success lies in being prepared - so do your research and set measurable objectives.