With the globalization we have seen an increase of usage of social media everywhere.
According to Nielsen research (January 2010), global consumers spent more than five and half hours per month on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter in December 2009, an 82% increase from the same time last year.
However there are great differences on how people use social media in different countries. For example Brazilians are the top social media users worldwide according to another global survey by Nielsen (June 2010). People in Brazil communicate mainly in Portuguese. The social network made by Google, Orkut, has been adopted by 50% of Brazilians internet users but is not very popular in the United States.
For global marketers and people who want to develop both local and international networks, it is important to determine how people from different countries interact with social media.
There are five main driving factors that determine the choice of platforms and content:
1. Purposes of using social media
2. How open the culture is to share information online (privacy and security)
3. Online purchasing behavior
4. Languages other than English used
5. Number and types of social media users among total population
Global Usage Of Social Media
Following points are summary and analysis of the results of large global consumer surveys on social media conducted in 2009-2010Please see sources at the end of the article
I-Regional and country trends on purpose and ways of using social media
1-Asia-Pacific region: Social media usage has seen unprecedented growth in Asia-Pacific in the past year and is now one of the most critical trends in the online sector, online product reviews are the third most trusted source of information when making purchase decisions, behind family and friends. Japan is the first Asian Twitter nation, and second worldwide after the US, with 18% of messages worldwide according to a “geolocation” study of tweets by Semiocast
China: staying in touch with a friend is the most frequent use of social media
Japan: people use mainly social media to research products to buy. Japanese people have the least appetite for Facebook with 3% of users on it. The most popular Japanese platform is Ameba. It is visited by 38% of Japanese people online. Blogging is very popular in Japan
South Korea: staying up-to-date on news and events was the most popular. South Korea is in the top ten markets in the world when it comes to internet population. Naver, is attracting 95 percent of the Korean Internet population.
India: researching for work topped the social media usage motivation. 70 percent of social media users in India identify Orkut as their preferred social media site.
Australia: staying in touch with friends is the most common activity. Australia leads the world in social media engagement, with the highest global average for time spent per month engaging with social media, averaging over seven hours per month. LinkedIn has seen one of the fastest growth trends amongst social media sites in Australia, with unique audience numbers increasing by 99 percent from July 2009 to May 2010
2-Europe: Facebook’s reach is the widest in Italy, (69%) followed by UK(66%) Spain(57%), France (57%)
U.K.: researching product purchases
France: staying in touch with friends is the dominating motivation
The Netherlands, Italy, Spain, and Russia: staying current on news and events leads the way
Brazil’s motivation to use social media was unique and focused on “researching how to do things.”
The US, ranked researching products to buy as the number one motivation of social media activity. Watching video online is surprisingly low in the US compared to other regions.
II-Global Trends On Business and Personal Use
Based on the aggregate data from all the countries, the results show that 85 percent of respondent uses social media for business use and 97 percent for personal use.
The top three reasons for using social media for personal use are:
- Connecting with friends and family
- Reading social media content
- Connecting with like-minded people
The top three reasons for using social media for business are:
- Building networks for business contact
- Reading social media content
- Highlighting personal and professional expertise on social media
Other leading reasons included job search, identifying potential leads, and finding product and service information.
III-Languages spoken on Social Media
Facebook reached 500 million users around the world and it is a good indicator of the trends on languages used on social media.
Facebook’s #1 language is English, with over 52% of the site’s total user base accessing the site in that language. Spanish is second with a usage rate of around 15% of the total user base. After Spanish, the drop off is much sharper, French is third.
Consumers’ behaviors are changing very fast on social media. Here’s a look at growth rates for Facebook’s Top 10 languages:
Conclusion: On Social media, “One-Size-Fits All” content and ethnocentric (mainly USA) communication strategies are no longer sustainable. To become truly global or even just to adapt to global forces that are shaping the world’s economy, the most important factor for developers, advertisers and marketers is not how large the global audience is but to know how to reach users in established and fast-growing markets through localization strategies including making content with cultural sensitivity, adjust to online behaviors of target audiences at country level and languages.
- Global Social Media Usage and the Language Factor. Findings of large-scale surveys on global social media users and their motivations summarized in a white paper published by Lionbridge Technologies, Inc.
- Nielsen Researches in 2010:
- a- Nielsen’s Asia-Pacific Social Media Report
- b- Nielsen’s Global Time Spent on Social Media
- c-Social Networks/Blogs global usage
- Why Businesses Can No Longer Ignore Social Media (onesocialmedia.com)