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. Over 97 per cent of the population of Norway are connected to the internet, making it second only to Iceland in global connectivity. Sweden follows on its heels with a connectivity rate of over 92 per cent, and Denmark was the ninth most connected nation, with 89 per cent of the country having access. When you consider that the December 2011 report lists UK internet penetration as fourteenth and US as twenty-seventh in the world, it’s clear that the region is well prepared for digital business.
When comScore analysed traffic in May 2012, it recorded Sweden as being the most active online of the Scandinavian nations. 6,305,000 Swedes were online during the month, spending over 24 hours on the internet. During the same month, 3,719,000 Danes were using the Internet, spending an average of 22 hours online in May, and in Norway 3,310,000 people were online, spending an average of 29 hours online. 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 10, coming in at ninth place.
- All of the Scandinavian countries have a very high percentage of internet connectivity
- Facebook is the most popular social network in Scandinavia
- Twitter is growing in popularity in Scandinavia. Sweden has been especially innovative with its use of the @Sweden account
- YouTube is the fourth most visited site in Scandinavia, with a mixture of brands and individuals as the most popular channels
- LinkedIn is growing in popularity in the region
- Google+ is popular in the region, with 18-24 year old students from capital cities being the most represented users
According to Alexa, Facebook is the second most popular site in Denmark (behind Google.dk and ahead of Google.com). SocialBakers* ranks Denmark forty-ninth in the world for Facebook penetration, with 53 per cent of Danish people on Facebook. Fifty-four per cent of users are 18 to 44, and the largest age group is the 25 to 34 year olds with 612,305 users.The top three Facebook pages in Denmark belong to Volbeat (a band, with 962,666 likes), tennis star Caroline Wozniacki (478,851 fans) and transport and freight company Maersk Group, which has 467,724 fans.
Facebook is the most popular website in Norway (with Google.no and Google.com as second and third). SocialBakers* ranks Norway fifty-fifth in the world for Facebook penetration and just over 61 per cent of internet users have an account. Sixty per cent of users are between 18 and 44, with the most by July dominant age group aged 25 to 34 (568,340 users).The three most popular Facebook pages in Norway are beauty brand Lancôme with 2,994,689 fans, band Dimmu Borgir (854,765 fans) and fashion brand OnePiece with 734,722 fans.)
Facebook is the second most popular website in Sweden (Google.se is the most popular, with Google.com in third place). SocialBakers* ranks Sweden 36th in the world for Facebook penetration. Just over 57 per cent of internet users have a Facebook account. Sixty-one per cent of Facebook users are aged 18 to 44, with the most represented group being 25 to 34 year olds, with 958,024 users. The most popular Facebook pages in Sweden belong to the band Maher Zain (4,867,462 fans), footballer Zlatan Ibrahimovic (3,688,664 fans), and band Avicii (2,561,355 fans). Even the Swedish royal family are on Facebook (nearing 84,000 likes). In early 2012 they posted the first picture of the new born crown princess Victoria to their Facebook account. It’s had over 30,000 likes and more than 3,600 shares since then.
Figures released in December 2011 revealed that there had been a 100 per cent increase in Twitter users in Denmark in 2011 (from 28,000 to 55,000 users). At the time 625 of the most active Danish users were creating half the tweets originating from Denmark, and 22,000 tweets were being sent every day. Tennis player Caroline Wozniacki was the most followed user with 247,000 followers, with NATO secretary general Anders Fogh Rasmussen a distant second with just over 27,000 followers. (By September 2012 Wozniacki’s follower count had risen to 405,320,while Fogh Rasmussen’s followers now number 111,285). By March 2012 the number of Twitter accounts in Denmark had risen to 70,000, possibly partly due to Twitter launching a Danish language version in December 2011. Twitter is currently the eighteenth most visited site in Denmark, ahead of wordpress.com (twenty-fifth) and just behind blogspot.dk (seventeenth).
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 (as well as participants). There were approximately 252,200 Twitter users in Norway in January 2012, with around 6,000 new accounts registered each month (it’s estimated that the number of accounts had increased to 284,997 by July 2012). By May 2012 11 per cent of the population had Twitter accounts, with 410,000 people logging on once a week in the first quarter of the year. Twitter is the fifteenth most visited site in Norway, ahead of Blogspot.no (sixteenth) and well behind Wikipedia, which is the eighth most frequented website.
Sweden was approaching 300,000 Twitter accounts in May 2012, with more than half of them created in the previous year. Intellecta Corporate’s annual report, the Swedish Twitter census, found that the number of accounts created in Sweden had tripled in the year since the previous census, with more than 50 per cent of the accounts active in the month before the report was published. 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. (The organizers handed the account over to a Swedish tweeter who already had a timeline full of questionable opinions, 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.) As of September 2012, Twitter was the seventeenth most popular site in Sweden, ahead of WordPress (twentieth) and behind illegal streaming site Pirate Bay (fourteenth).
YouTube is the fourth most visited website in Denmark (Wikipedia is the sixth). According to socialbakers, the most visited YouTube channel is gaming review channel, gamereactorTV (nearing 13,500,000 channel views). This is followed by fast food brand McDonaldsDanmark with over 654,500 channel views, and mobile operator TelenorDanmark which is approaching 619,000 channel views.
It’s also the fourth most visited site in Norway (the next most popular social site being Wikipedia, which ranks eighth). The most popular channel has over 526,000 views, and is about long range shooting. The second and third most popular channels both belong to mobile operators. Chess has over 252,500 views and netcommling has over 136,200.
YouTube is also the fourth most visited site in Sweden, with Wikipedia in sixth place. The most viewed channel in Sweden is gaming fan channel tejbz (nearing 81,157,000 views). That’s followed by engine4600, which has almost 5,669,000 views and doesn’t seem to have a dedicated subject matter. The third most popular channel in Sweden is mobile community swedroid (nearly 4,909,000 views).
LinkedIn is currently the eighth most popular website in Denmark. Socialbakers figures published in December 2011 revealed that there were 2.5 million Linkedin Users in the Nordic region (Finland, Norway, Denmark and Sweden), with 806,134 users in Denmark (ranking it just behind Sweden in the region). It did, however, have the highest level of penetration at over 14 per cent.
LinkedIn is one of the fastest growing social networks in Norway. It’s ranked as the twenty-first most popular site in Norway (ahead of Pirate Bay at twenty-two, and behind Blogspot.no). 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 thirteenth most popular site in Sweden (behind Blogspot.se, which is eleventh, and ahead of Pirate Bay at fourteenth). It launched a Swedish language version in November 2011, when LinkedIn reported that there were more than 800,000 Swedish account holders. As of June 2012 it had risen to over one million users.
There are approximately 368,700 users of Google+ in Denmark. Over 73 per cent of them are male, and over 48 per cent are between 18 and 24 years old. The majority of users are students, and most come from Copenhagen.
Norway has almost 320,800 users on Google+. Again, over 73 per cent are male, and the largest age group are people between 18 and 24 (over 57 per cent). Most account holders are students, and a sizable majority come from Oslo.
Google+ is much more popular in Sweden, which has over 502,000 users (almost 75 per cent male). Around 52 per cent are aged 18 to 24, and most are students and from Stockholm.
Norway has several small social networks that have been running for a while. 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). User numbers are pretty static, there were 447,247 in November 2011 and the figure had only increased to 447,356 by July 2012. Origo is a network about local communities and it’s divided into areas where users can interact with each other. It’s grown from 174,136 users in November 2010 to 293,854 users by July 2012. Under Forest is a cultural network built around a shared events calendar. Founded in 2005, it was estimated to have had over 21,000 users in quarter three of 2011.
- Danish 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 related videos
The most ‘Liked’ brand pages in Denmark are national, rather than global brands. Transport and freight company, Maersk Group (467,724 fans) is the most popular brand page in Denmark. Støt Brysterne – the official page of the Pink Ribbon Cancer Society’s campaign against breast cancer – has 428,147 fans, and men’s fashion brand Jack & Jones is the third most popular brand with 352,067 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 of word-of-mouth positivity about the brand, and it generated a lot of good media coverage for the brand.
According to a report by Socialbakers, Norway is the most socially devoted nation on Facebook, which is say that Norwegian brands have an impressive 87 per cent response rate to questions asked to them on Facebook (for context, the UK is ranked sixteenth with 45 per cent and the USA doesn’t even make the top twenty with a mere 22 per cent response rate). Over 47 per cent of the largest 500 companies in Norway have an active Facebook presence.
The most popular brand on Facebook is the Norwegian page of global beauty brand Lancôme, which has over 2,992,000 likes. This is followed by two national brands, Norwegian fashion brand OnePiece (almost 736,000 likes), and a Norwegian photographer’s page TSO Photography (approaching 309,500 likes).
Visit Norway used a Facebook app to increase its fan base from 12,000 to 31,000 in just 45 days. 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 per cent 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 per cent response rate to fans questions on Facebook. The most popular brands on Facebook in Sweden are gaming brand Free Lunch Design (nearing 557,000 fans), chocolate brand marabou (around 386,500 fans) and Halloween candy brand Hallonlakritsskalle (around 359,500 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. Then there was the defy the darkness campaign by Sony Ericson, designed to cheer people up during the dark winter days. 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 Swedens 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), 14 million page impressions and mentions on influential blogs.
Twitter follower stats are difficult to attain at a national level, because Twitter doesn’t require users to identify their home country when they sign up. According to Atcore, the three most followed brands in Denmark are: gaming accessory maker SteelSeries (it had almost 38,000 followers by September 2012); toy maker LEGO (around 34,500 followers by September 2012) and digital publishing tool provider Issuu (heading for 18,500 followers as of September 2012).
According to socialbakers, the most followed Norwegian brands on Twitter are mobile provider @NextGenTel with 1634 followers, followed by online magazine @Datamagasinet (736 followers) and cruise company @StenaLineNorge (188 followers) – although it has been reported that over 29 per cent of the 500 largest companies in Norway are on Twitter.
Socialbakers reports that the most popular Swedish brands on Twitter are; cruise line @stenaline_se (1028 followers); mobile operator @halebop_sverige (979 followers) and telephone operator @Telia_foretag (843 followers).
The most popular brand channel in Denmark is the Danish presence of global fast food brand McDonalds, with over 654,500 channel views. That’s followed by two national mobile operator brands, Telenor (over 618,700 views) and Telia (over 54,600 views).
The most viewed brand channels in Sweden are mobile community swedroid (nearly 4,909,000 views), toy brand legosverige (over 3,686,200 views) and fast food brand mcdonaldssv (approaching 1,438,000 views). Cider brand Rekorderlig launch a viral ad campaign during August 2012. The Rekorderlig Swedish School videos are designed to teach cider drinkers the culture, traditions and heritage of the Swedish cider. The channel is getting close to 124,000 views.
- 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 dialect) 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 Danish word which is hard to translate into English, it’s a Danish cultural tradition where people gather family and/or friends around to socialize, eat and drink. Punctuality is also an important cultural trait. The national sport is football – the national coach even banned the team from Twitter during Euro 2012 to keep them focused.
Norway’s population is over 94 per cent Norwegian (including around 60,000 Sami – indigenous Artic area – people), other European’s make up 3.6 per cent of the population, with other nationalities comprising two per cent. Bokmal and Nynorsk Norwegian are the official languages, 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 not taboo at all. Children are taught to be independent from a young age.
Equality is taken very seriously in Norway. Both state owned and private businesses must have a minimum of 40 per cent representation of both sexes due to a law passed in 2003. In 2011 the Equality Minister proposed putting health warnings on airbrushed billboard ads. The constitution was amended in 1990 to allow the first born child of the monarch to become heir, male or female. 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 brought-up to be competitive or see themselves as special. 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 a common ground that way. Lagom, the concept of ‘everything in moderation’ is probably the most powerful cultural trait and stretches to all areas of Swedish life.