The Scandinavian countries (Denmark, Norway and Sweden) share a common cultural heritage, which can be seen in the way people and businesses approach social media. It’s also one of the most connected regions in the world. 95 % of the population of Norway are connected to the internet, making it the fourth most connected country in the world. Sweden follows on its heels with a connectivity rate of 94.8 %, and Denmark came in right after Sweden as the sixth most connected nation, with 94.6 % of the country having access. With these numbers, it’s clear that the region is well-prepared for digital business.
In 2017, there were 3.8 million social network users in Denmark, at 67 % penetration, up 9 % since January of 2016. In the same year, Norway had 3.5 million active social network users, at 66 % penetration, also up 9 % since January of 2016. Sweden had the highest number of active social network users at 6.6 million, but hovered around the same penetration as the other Scandinavian countries at 67 %. Sweden recently came first in a global index compiled by the World Wide Web Foundation, which ranked nations according to internet penetration and the social and political impact of internet access. Norway also ranked in the top ten, coming in at ninth place.
- All of the Scandinavian countries have a very high percentage of internet connectivity
- Facebook and YouTube are the most popular social networking sites in Scandinavia
- Twitter is growing in popularity in Scandinavia. Sweden has been especially innovative with its use of the @Sweden account
- YouTube is the second most visited site in Scandinavia, with a mixture of brands and individuals as the most popular channels
According to Alexa, Facebook is the third most popular site in Denmark (behind Google.dk and Youtube.com and ahead of Google.com). Denmark has the highest Facebook penetration of any of the Scandinavian countries at 64.8 %. 54 % of users are 18 to 44, and the largest age group is the 25 to 34 year olds. According to Socialbakers, the top three Facebook pages in Denmark belong to Danish singer Benjamin Lasnier (4,905,404 fans), the Danish page for London-based boy band One Direction (3,597,700 fans) and Danish DJ Martin Jensen (2,650,441 fans).
Facebook is the third most popular website in Norway (with Google.no and Youtube.com as first and second). As of 2017, 63.8 % of the population had a Facebook account. 60 % of users are between 18 and 44, with the most dominant age group in the 25 to 34 range. The three most popular Facebook pages in Norway are: Norwegian drift crew Team Driftmonkey (3,868,930 fans); the Norwegian page for One Direction (2,551,720 fans); and Norwegian DJ and songwriter Kygo (2,456,581 fans).
Facebook is the fourth most popular website in Sweden (Google.se is the most popular, followed by Youtube.com an Google.com). Facebook in Sweden has the lowest penetration of the Scandinavian countries at 62.5 %. 61 % of Facebook users are aged 18 to 44, with the most represented group being 25 to 34 year olds. The most popular Facebook pages in Sweden belong to: Swedish footballer and forward for Manchester United Zlatan Ibrahimovic (26,701,768 fans); Swedish DJ Avicii (19,275,811 fans); and band Swedish House Mafia (7,843,637 fans).
Even the Swedish royal family are on Facebook (nearing 485,000 likes). In early 2012 they use the platform to post the first picture of the newborn Princess Estelle (daughter of Crown Princess Victoria and second in line for the Swedish throne). It has had almost 30,000 likes and more than 3,500 shares since then.
Figures released in 2016 revealed that there had the number of Twitter users in Denmark remained roughly static from 2015 to 2016. In November 2017, Danish tennis player Caroline Wozniacki was the most followed user with 2,922,174 followers, followed by Danish League of Legends player Søren Bjerg (1,184,352 followers) and Danish professional footballer Peter Schmeichel (887,858 followers). Twitter is currently the 12th most visited site in Denmark, ahead of subscription television site Tv2.dk (13th) and LinkedIn (20th) and just behind Netflix.com (11th).
Twitter also launched in Norwegian in December 2011, however, it crowd-sourced the translation of key terms, which resulted in incorrect language use, and some complaints from users. There were approximately 252,200 Twitter users in Norway in January 2012, with around 6,000 new accounts registered each month. By November of 2016, 22 % of the population had Twitter accounts. Twitter is the 13th most visited site in Norway, ahead of Netflix.com (15th) and well behind Wikipedia, which is the seventh most frequented website.
The most popular Twitter accounts in Norway as of November 2017 are Lorai Deeb, leader of Global Network for Rights and Development (1,407,276 followers) and the Twitter account for the Global Network for Rights and Development (856,263 followers).
Sweden was approaching 20 % penetration of Twitter in the end of 2016. In December 2011 Visit Sweden and the Swedish Institute joined forces to create the Curators of Sweden campaign. Each week, a new nominated Swedish tweeter takes over the @Sweden account and tweets anything they like. This accounts is fairly popular, and has garnered 129,000 followers as of November 2017. Most of the time, having a Swede take over the Twitter account goes well, but a few controversies have arisen surrounding some of the Tweets by one tweeter back in 2012. The organisers handed the account over to a Swedish tweeter who had previously expressed anti-Semitic and homophobic views of her timeline, and she didn’t change her tone once representing the nation – tweeting racist and homophobic messages during her seven days and gaining Sweden a lot of negative publicity in the process. However, as the curators of the accounts have said they will only delete tweets if ‘they violate Swedish law, they promote a commercial brand, or they are a security threat,’ they left the tweets up on the page.
As of November 2017, Twitter was the tenth most popular site in Sweden, ahead of Netflix.com (thirteenth) and behind Reddit.com (fifth). The most popular Twitter accounts in Sweden in the same month were: Swedish comedian and vlogger PewDiePie (13,076,837 followers); Swedish professional footballer Zlatan Ibrahimović (4,699,820); and Swedish designer of Minecraft Markus Alexej Persson, or Notch (3,866,008 followers).
YouTube is the second most visited website in Denmark (Google.dk is the first). According to Socialbakers, the most visited YouTube channel is gaming and personality channel, RobinSamse (143,390,826 video views and 187,966 subscribers). This is followed by the channel for the competitive gaming circuit for Counter-Strike wwwHLTVorg (139,841,430 total video views and 279,607 subscribers); and doll artistry channel LoveMyRebornBaby (106,656,894 total video views and 242,699 subscribers).
It’s also the second most visited site in Norway (behind Google.no). As of November 2017, the most popular channel belonged to Alan Walker, Norwegian DJ and record producer (2,780,703,051 total video views and 9,749,567 subscribers); Norwegian DJ Kygo (1,328,059,587 total video views and 2,791,681 subscribers); and Norwegian television channel TVNorge (1,032,350,443 total video views and 1,530,057 subscribers).
YouTube is also the second most visited site in Sweden, with Wikipedia in sixth place. The most viewed channel in Sweden belongs to comedian and vlogger PewDiePie (16,371,835,005 total video views and 57,810,448 subscribers) followed by Swedish DJ Avicii (4,486,166,125 total video views and 11,118,378 subscribers) and Swedish singer-songwriter ToveLo (1,190,534,505 total video views and 2,222,918 subscribers).
LinkedIn is not quite as popular in Norway as in some of the other Scandinavian countries: it’s ranked as the 50th site in Norway (behind Russian social media site Vk.com). LinkedIn launched a Norwegian language version in July 2012. At the time LinkedIn stated that there were 600,000 Norwegian account holders.
LinkedIn is the 25th most popular site in Sweden (behind illegal streaming site Pirate Bay at 22nd). The company launched a Swedish language version in November 2011, when LinkedIn reported that there were more than 800,000 Swedish account holders.
Norway has a few small social networks that have been popular for several years. Biip.no is a social network aimed at teens (in fact in 2008, the owners claimed that few people over 24 are on the site). It is the biggest internet community site in Norway after Facebook, with over 450,000 users today. Underskog.no is a closed cultural network built around a shared events calendar, targeting individuals who are interested in Norwegian cultural life. Founded in 2005, it was estimated to have over 30,000 users in 2017.
- Scandinavian brands account for the three most liked brands on Facebook in Denmark
- Norwegian brands top the league for responsiveness to customers on Facebook
- Sweden was the third most responsive nation on Facebook
- The most followed brands on Twitter seem to be national brands rather than global
- YouTube is popular for viewing mobile brand videos
The most ‘Liked’ brand pages in Denmark are Scandinavian rather than global brands. Transport and freight company, Maersk Group (2,452,578 fans) is the most popular brand page in Denmark. Scandinavian Airlines or SAS follows with 1,224,853 fans, and kitchenware and interior design retailer Søstrene Grene is third with 315,598 fans.
Luxury Danish chocolate brand Anthon Berg used Facebook to celebrate generosity (while spreading good vibes about the brand), when it set up a pop-up chocolate shop for a day and gave away free chocolate. The only ‘condition’ was that the recipient had to agree to carry out the good deed on the label (such as providing breakfast in bed to your partner). The customers used in-store iPads to log in to Facebook and agree to the promise, which was then posted to their wall. The customers then posted pictures of them keeping the promise. The campaign created a lot positivity associated with the brand, as well as generating a lot of media coverage for the product.
According to a report by Socialbakers, Norway has the most socially devoted brands on Facebook, which is say that Norwegian brands have an impressive 87 % response rate to questions asked to them on Facebook (for context, the UK is ranked sixteenth with 45 % and the USA doesn’t even make the top twenty with a mere 22 % response rate). Over 47 % of the largest 500 companies in Norway have an active Facebook presence.
The most popular brand on Facebook as of 2017 is Scandinavian Airlines, which has 1,224,853 likes. This is followed by the Aurora Borealis Observatory with 620,474 likes, and Norwegian telecommunications company Telenor Norge (482,842 likes).
Visit Norway used a Facebook app to increase its fan base from 12,000 to 31,000 in just 45 days back in 2012. As well as using daily questions and quizzes, the campaign offered the chance to win a free trip to Norway. The agency behind the campaign reported that travellers were 80 % more likely to book a trip after liking a page than they were from responding to traditional advertising.
Sweden ranked third behind Norway and Kenya in Socialbakers most socially devoted top 20. Brand’s had a 77 % response rate to fans’ questions on Facebook. The most popular brands on Facebook in Sweden are mobile gaming company G5 Entertainment (2,285,147 fans), Scandinavian Airlines (1,224,853 fans), and Swedish-language page for music-streaming site Spotify (536,715 fans).
Laundry brand Ariel’s Facebook ‘Fashion Shoot’ campaign, designed to increase engagement in a very low engagement area, featured a live installation in Stockholm Central station with a robot arm controlled by Facebook fans. The robot was used by fans to shoot jam and other food stuffs at moving targets – clothes. Fans won each item of clothing that they hit. Another example of a successful social networks branding campaign was the ‘defy the darkness‘ promotion by Sony Ericsson, designed to cheer people up during the dark winter days in Sweden. Over four days, people could use Facebook, mobiles and web apps to enter messages which were then displayed on the big screen at Stureplan in Stockholm during Sweden’s darkest hours, captured on the new Xperia ray handset and sent to the intended recipient. There were over 3,000 greetings sent (which included 11 marriage proposals), as well as 14 million page impressions and mentions on influential blogs.
Twitter statistics are often difficult to attain at a national level, because Twitter doesn’t require users to identify their home country when they sign up. According to Socialbaker, the three most followed brands in Denmark as of November 2017 are: Scandinavian Airlines (100,746 followers), sound design company B&O PLAY (54,096 followers), and gaming company Io-Interactive (43,206 followers).
According to Socialbakers, the most followed Norwegian brands on Twitter as of November 2017 are: Scandinavian Airlines (100,746 followers), Norwegian Airlines (82,439 followers), and the Norwegian-language page for the South-Korean multinational conglomerate, SamsungNorge (34,077 followers).
Socialbakers reports that as of November 2017 the most popular Swedish brands on Twitter are: Swedish car manufacturer Koenigsegg (198,600 followers), Scandinavian Airlines (100,746 followers), and Swedish fashion and accessories company Jo & Lyd (62,132 followers).
The most popular brand channels in Denmark as of November 2017 are: Danish travel agency Spies Rejser (23,106,776 total video views and 8,260 subscribers); Danish telephone operator TelenorDenmark (15,690,517 total video views and 2,055 subscribers); and Scandinavian Airlines (15,613,589 total video views and 7,768 subscribers).
Norway’s most viewed branded YouTube channels as of November 2017 are: Norwegian mobile network provider Chess.no (32,871,929 total video views and 5,921 subscribers); Norwegian mobile phone operator Telia Norge (27,108,733 total video views and 2,681 subscribers); the Norwegian-language version of American fast-food company, McDonaldsNorge (16,294,917 total video views and 1,957 subscribers).
The most viewed brand channels in Sweden as of November 2017 are: Swedish grocery retailer ICA (53,377,634 total video views and 34,949 subscribers); Swedish travel agency Ving Sverige (44,910,029 total video views and 28,178 subscribers); and travel company TUI Sverige (44,496,447 total video views and 54,062 subscribers).
Language and Culture
- The three Scandinavian countries all place a high value on equality and modesty
- Hygge is a celebration of abundance in Denmark, where people gather around friends to eat and drink
- Norway is a leading force in human rights and hosts the Oslo Freedom Forum
- Sweden’s concept of Lagom means that Swedes base their entire lives around moderation rather than excess
Denmark has a diverse population that includes Scandinavian, Inuit, Faroese, German, Turkish, Iranian and Somali nationalities. Danish is the official language, and English is the most prevalent second language. Faroese, Greenlandic (which is an Inuit language) and German are also spoken.
Denmark has a strong culture of equality. For example, a law giving homosexual partners the right to marry in church was passed in June 2012. However, wealth inequality is getting worse in Denmark, but upward mobility is still relatively high. Modesty is deeply ingrained in Danish culture. Jante Law, published in 1933 by a Danish-Norwegian writer Aksel Sandemose, was used for years to promote modesty in Scandinavian cultures. The impact is still evident today. The Danish tend to try not to do anything to be seen as better than anyone else. Hygge is a Danish cultural tradition where people gather family and/or friends around to socialise, eat and drink. Punctuality is also an important cultural trait. The national sport is football – in fact, the sport is taken so seriously that the national coach even banned the team from Twitter during Euro 2012 to keep them focused.
Norway’s population is over 94 % Norwegian (including around 60,000 Sami – indigenous Arctic – people), other European makes up 3.6 % of the population, with other nationalities comprising 2%. Bokmal and Nynorsk Norwegian are the official languages, but there are also small Sami and Finnish speaking populations.
The Royal Norwegian Embassy in London carried out a social media campaign in 2011 in an effort to help change the perception of Norway. The Embassy was concerned that the nation had a boring image, and set about promoting Norwegian designers, musicians and cultural events to the rest of the world.
Norway shares many cultural traits with Denmark, including the national tendency towards modesty and punctuality. Non-traditional families are very common and are not considered to be taboo. In addition, children are taught to be independent from a young age.
Equality is taken very seriously in Norway. Both state-owned and private businesses are required to have a minimum of 40 % representation of both sexes due to a law passed in 2003. In 2011, the Equality Minister proposed putting health warnings on airbrushed billboard ads. Furthermore, the constitution was amended in 1990 to allow the first-born child of the monarch to become heir regardless of gender. In 2008, Norway legalised gay marriage and artificial insemination via the gender-neutral marriage law. Norway has a strong reputation for human rights, and is home to the Oslo Freedom Forum.
Sweden’s population includes a significant number of Finnish and Sami minorities. Foreign and first-generation immigrant populations include Finns, Yugoslavs, Danes, Norwegians, Greeks and Turks. The official language is Swedish, with small Sami and Finnish-speaking populations.
Sweden, like Denmark and Norway, has a strong culture of equality. Boasting is seen as unacceptable and children are not raised to be competitive or see themselves as exceptional. Consensus is very important and even stretches into the business world where leaders get everyone’s opinion on a matter before making a final decision. Swedish people don’t like to give a definitive answer without due consideration, preferring to discuss and find common ground. Lagom, the concept of ‘everything in moderation’, is one of the most pervasive cultural traits and stretches to all spheres of Swedish life.