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7 countries where social media is not what you would expect

If you only have experience of social media in a typical Western country, your mind probably jumps to Facebook first, followed by maybe Instagram or Twitter.

But social media looks very different in certain other countries.

Some countries have their very own homegrown social networks, and some have unexpectedly found Facebook knocked off the top spot by alternatives.

This blog post will look at seven countries where the social media landscape is not what you would expect, based on the latest data from Webcertain search and social report 2021.

1. China

The Chinese social media landscape looks totally different from anywhere else in the world. Popular Western social networks like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest have all been blocked, and local alternatives thrive in their place. The most popular social network in China is WeChat, followed by Weibo and Baidu Tieba. WeChat is sometimes referred to as a “super app”, as it allows users to do a huge range of activities, from social networking, to booking tickets, to buying products, and much more. Your social media strategy must be completely altered to cater for the Chinese social media landscape, if you are to succeed in China.

To read the Webcertain search and social report 2021 for China, click here.

2. Russia

Russia is another country where the social media landscape looks totally different. The most popular social network is VK, followed by Instagram and Odnoklassniki. VK is sometimes referred to as the Russian version of Facebook, as it looks and works very similarly. Meanwhile, Facebook itself is used more as a professional social network in Russia, something that can partly be attributed to the fact that LinkedIn is blocked in the country. Odnoklassniki allows people to connect with classmates and old friends, and most of its users are over the age of 40. It is important to localise your social media strategy for the Russian market, as simply copying your home market’s strategy will not work there.

To read the Webcertain search and social report 2021 for Russia, click here.

3. Japan

The most popular social platform in Japan is one you may not have heard of before: LINE. LINE started life as a messaging app similar to WhatsApp, but has since diversified its offerings to include a mobile wallet, entertainment, lifestyle and shopping features. LINE is the main communication tool for many Japanese families, as it is popular across generations and genders. If you are targeting Japan, it is a good idea to open an official account on LINE, as this will allow you to advertise on the platform and reach your Japanese target audience.

To read the Webcertain search and social report 2021 for Japan, click here.

4. South Korea

The most popular social platform in South Korea is KakaoTalk. KakaoTalk allows users to send messages, make calls, organise their calendars, search for content, make mobile payments and more. Furthermore, the popular South Korean search engine Naver has various “social” features such as Naver Blog, Naver Post and Naver Café which should definitely be taken into account when targeting the South Korean market.

To read the Webcertain search and social report 2021 for South Korea, click here.

5. Turkey

The most popular social network in Turkey is Instagram, with 90% of internet users having used the platform in the last month. The usually-dominant Facebook comes in at second place, with only 79% having used it in the last month. When targeting Turkey, it is therefore vital to make sure you are giving Instagram the attention and budget that it needs.

To read the Webcertain search and social report 2021 for Turkey, click here.

6. Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia is another market where we see Facebook knocked off the top spot, in favour of Instagram. Here, the competition is much tighter, with 76% of internet users having used Instagram in the last month, compared to 74% for Facebook. When doing social media marketing on Instagram in Saudi Arabia, remember that it is a very religiously conservative country, so you may need to adapt your content and imagery when targeting this market.

To read the Webcertain search and social report 2021 for Saudi Arabia, click here.

7. Taiwan

And finally, Taiwan is another market where LINE is popular. LINE is the second most popular social platform in the market, with 88% of internet users having used it in the last month. With such a high proportion of people using LINE, it is well worth being on this platform when targeting Taiwan.

To read the Webcertain search and social report 2021 for Taiwan, click here.

I hope this blog post has given you an interesting insight into how social media differs around the world. For more in-depth information about international social media in 49 countries, check out Webcertain search and social report 2021!

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Elin Box

Content Marketing Manager at Webcertain
Elin is a Content Marketing Manager at Webcertain. She is responsible for Webcertain's self-learning platform, producing in-depth guides on a range of international digital marketing topics. She is also part of the Webcertain TV team, where she writes scripts for short educational videos and helps with the day-to-day management of the YouTube channel. She also supports the Director of Marketing with a wide range of other marketing tasks, as and when required. Elin is from the UK.

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