Despite a few reports last year about Social Media in Germany being in decline, this is far from the truth.
German social media usage is growing! and becoming more diverse across a wide range of networks. More than three-quarters of Germans use the Internet in some way during their day. Research has shown that 75% of them are signed up to at least one social media network and use it for around one-quarter of their online time. That’s a massive audience!
Future growth is set to continue with a solid uptake from the younger generation, with 90% of 14-year-olds to 29-year-olds registered on at least one social media platform.
German Social Media
As shown, in 2017, the social media networks do not differ majorly to those that are most popular in the UK.
Surprisingly, however the social media networks have a different ranking and are used differently in Germany. Facebook is still the most popular, with Instagram following rather far behind.
Interestingly, Xing, the German equivalent of LinkedIn is still ranking above it. Furthermore, Google+ is much more popular than it is compared to the UK. The most surprising finding is however, that Twitter is not included in this ranking.
Twitter, never managed to gain the following it has in other European countries, unlike in the UK and the USA Twitter is not used for political, debate or research purposes. German’s use of Twitter is unique due to the German language and the limitation of the characters that you can use in a tweet.
There is a Russian joke that says:
“Twitter can’t be popular in Germany because 140 characters are basically two words in German.”
German is very descriptive, and the longer length of German words makes it hard to create punchy engaging tweets. As a result, Twitter is used in a more passive way, just to find out information rather than to share information.
We have seen an increased use of Germans tweeting in English to get around the limitations. When using Twitter for German audiences you can, therefore, use a combined strategy of factual German posts with more engaging English tweets.
Recent reports have indicated that Twitter is to stop counting photographs and links within its 140-character limit within the next two weeks, which could help to give more space for German tweets. It has now changed to 280-character limit, it is to be seen whether this will impact the use of Twitter in Germany.
Image Social Platform Use
Photo and image sharing platforms in Germany like Instagram and Pinterest are growing in use, with Instagram having more users in Germany than Twitter.
Image sharing is also easier if you have limited language resources as they require less text content to support them.
Google+ is Surprisingly Popular
The number of Germans using Google+ especially businesses has grown, perhaps because of the freedom to write longer posts. German businesses are using Google+ to position themselves internationally and some big German companies like BMW have a large following and are very active users.
If your reach out to a German audience especially if that’s B2B then you should include Google+.
B2B German Social Media
Here there are two big options XING – the German equivalent of LinkedIn and LinkedIn itself. XING with over 10 million users is more popular than LinkedIn, but both can be useful. About every fifth worker in Germany, Austria and Switzerland is now an XING member.
If you’re looking to connect with German language businesses and professionals, then you need to make skilful use of XING and LinkedIn. I would suggest maybe adding a German showcase page to your LinkedIn and having a dedicated account on XING. Since most German’s have good English skills this should give you a good balance with enough tailored language specific content.
Germans are Cautious
Whilst there a strong use of social media in Germany there is also more caution in its use.
There is a growing trend for Germans to use fake names or abbreviations instead of their real names. Another example is a strong hesitation for signing up to or liking social media pages of businesses as German people do not want to give out too much information.
This behaviour is making it harder for companies to quickly build large followings like they can in the UK. Your social campaigns should work to build trust and credibility.
Influencers and German Social Media
A popular use of social media in the UK is to reach out to influencers like bloggers and journalists who may help you promote your products and services.
Journalists in Germany have a different attitude to social media. Indeed, in the UK 72% of journalists are engaged with social media, in Germany, it is much lower at 42%.
While you can still use social to connect with German influencers you may still want to employ some traditional PR techniques to have the maximum impact.
German Social Media Strategies
If you try to replicate your UK social media strategy for a German audience, then you will struggle.
Your German social strategy needs to:
- Be tailored to how each channel is used by your target audience
- Work to build trust and credibility
- Promote products and services on quality and ability, not price
- Make use of some traditional PR as well as reaching out through social
Tools you will need:
- German social accounts on the top networks for your audience
- German language website to host content and assist conversions
- German translations or better custom German content targeted at your audience
- Someone to plan, execute and maintain your German social campaigns
ExtraDigital offers comprehensive German online marketing with our in-house native specialists. For help with your German online marketing, call us on +44 (0) 1227 68 68 98 or tell us more about your plans below.