Germany has much lower social media figures than other developed countries. This is partially due to Germany’s older population, but it’s also because of Germany’s complicated history, which has produced a concern for personal data and privacy. 

Despite these factors, social media use is growing rapidly among German speakers, particularly among young people. Over 80% of German millennials now use social media. Therefore, it’s important to know what social media platforms to use and when and how to use them to best connect with your target market.

FACEBOOK IS KING

Facebook is the undisputed leader of German social media, with a market share of over 90% and more than 27 million users, 41% of whom use the site weekly (source: ARD/ZDF). This platform is particularly useful for its advertising potential.Without an active presence on Facebook, you’ll limit your online reach from the start.

For maximum impact, it’s important to localize your content for the German market. This means not only writing in German, but also getting your tone right. Avoid dramatic claims as the biggest and best and go for a more modest approach. Humorous marketing is also a plus for Germans.

TWITTER VS. GOOGLE+

German is known for its long and convoluted words, making Twitter’s 140-character limit a less-than-ideal platform for communication. Instead, most Germans use it primarily to find information than tweet, especially journalists.

Google+ is a better choice because it allows you to write longer, more descriptive posts. It has proven especially attractive to international businesses drawn to B2B sales, thanks to its ability to create communities and easily integrate with other Google tools. BMW, for example, has capitalized on the Google+ site, establishing a large international following.

LINKEDIN VS. XING

Germany’s Xing platform is four years older than its rival, LinkedIn. Xing has been growing steadily, with a reported 10.6 million members in the DACH region in 2016 – significantly more than LinkedIn’s 9 million users in the same area (source: Digiday)

However, that doesn’t mean you should abandon LinkedIn. Xing is primarily used for recruitment purposes – job seekers normally sign up and then abandon the site when they no longer need it. This makes Xing useful if you’re looking to hire new people, but for B2B potential, LinkedIn is the clear winner, with more than enough users for you to make an impression in the German business world.

TRIPLE THREAT: PINTEREST VS. SNAPCHAT VS. INSTAGRAM

Mobile broadband plans are expensive in Germany, so Germans are choosy about how they use their mobile data. That’s why you should optimize your website and social media content and avoid posting lots of videos and media so that they don’t require a lot of data to view content.

Instagram takes the lead in media-driven social networks, with an expected 26.2% growth to 11.2 million users, or roughly 14% of the population (source: eMarketer). It’s popular among the 18-24 age bracket, over half of whom visit the site at least once a month.

Pinterest is also growing, having supposedly tripled its German users in 2015. It primarily targets female users over 30, which could prove useful for fashion and design brands focused on appealing to older women.

Snapchat has shown a 207% increase in the number of daily users since 2015, according to eMarketer reporting. This platform is growing rapidly and is popular among the 14-29 age group.

FINAL THOUGHT

While Germans have a higher income and level of education, only 40% are active on social media. That’s why if you’re selling luxury products or targeting exclusive clientele, you should focus on optimizing your website and PPC campaigns, as well as leveraging more traditional channels. However, social media is starting to rival search among a younger audience. So it plays an important role if you’re targeting millennials.