Across the globe, word of mouth has been shown to influence between 20 to 50 percent of all purchasing decisions. In the ever-changing world of social networking, this extends well beyond recommendations from friends and family into the realm of online influencers. As social media channels continue to evolve, there is still a fundamental need for human connection. These important connections have grown significantly with the advent of social networking.
Despite the closeness social networking can provide, there are still some fascinating behavioral quirks that exist online across the globe. When a business is embarking on a social strategy, it is important to understand how various regions view, and use, social media. Businesses looking to push their social media presence globally should invest in cultural intelligence resources like GlobeSmart to understand the cultural differences at play on- and offline.
Nearly 30 percent of the global population is on social media. Over 2.03 billion people worldwide are active social media users. This reach on a global scale is nearly one billion people more than the entire population of China. Due to the Chinese government’s block of Facebook and Twitter, China’s social landscape is unique. The second most popular social networking platform in the world is China’s online messaging platform QQ, with nearly 820 million users. However, by far the most popular social networking platform worldwide is Facebook, with 1.3 billion monthly active users.
Cultural customs impact the adoption of social media networks and how they are used. For instance, according to the World Economic Forum, as of January 2017, Japan is the only country where Twitter is the most popular platform, with 35 million active monthly users; while Facebook has 25 million. Japanese society usually sees a high level of social conformity. Because of this, social networks may take some time to become popular. Also, Japanese culture tends to discourage boasting or self-promotion, and most Japanese prefer to use pseudonyms online. In 2017, Facebook was only used by 22.9 percent of the population of Japan. According to research by Social Media Today, it’s more commonly used as a professional tool, similar to LinkedIn. By contrast, 94 percent of the population in India has a Facebook account.
Instagram, which has 600 million active global users, is runner-up in 37 countries and Twitter is second in the US and most of Western Europe. The second choice for Indians is LinkedIn, while social news aggregator Reddit took the number two position in Australia, Canada, Denmark, New Zealand and Norway.
Social media strategist Vincenzo Cosenza has been charting the most popular social networks by country since 2009. His January 2017 World Map of Social Networks, based on traffic data from Alexa and SimilarWeb, reveals that Facebook is still the leader in 119 out of 149 countries analyzed.
Research from Twitter shows that 49 percent of consumers seek purchase guidance from social media influencers, and nearly 40 percent of Twitter users said they had made a purchase as a direct result of an influencer’s Tweet. On Instagram, brands are investing billions in influencers.
A study by integrated communications agency Waggener Edstrom examined brand engagement trends within the Asia Pacific region. The research found that 78 percent of consumers in the APAC region get information about products and services on social media, and 68 percent share that brand-related information on social channels.
It’s clear this burgeoning economy of social media and online influencers is continuing to evolve and become increasingly important, worldwide.
Recently, Forbes launched its global “Influencer List”, a quarterly feature spotlighting power players from around the world, who have turned their social media audiences — on platforms like Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and Instagram — into empires.
Today, we’ll look at some of the top social media influencers from across the globe, and what makes them so popular within the social networking realm of their home countries and beyond. These influencers built their fame strictly from the internet, rather than celebrities who happen to have large online audiences.
Nikkie De Jagar, Netherlands
This Dutch makeup artist has over 7.2 million Instagram followers since uploading her first video in 2008. In 2017, she has collaborated with makeup line Ofra and boasts 6.6 million YouTube subscribers.
Shannon Harris, New Zealand
With over 3.9 million Facebook and YouTube subscribers, nearly 500,000 Instagram followers and over 90,000 Twitter followers, Harris is one of Australasia’s most popular beauty influencers.
Kayla Itsines, Australia
The 25-year-old top online influencer in the fitness category has over 8 million Facebook followers and 5.5 million Instagram followers. Her “Sweat With Kayla” app generated $17 million in revenue in 2016.
Chiara Ferragni, Italy
The 30-year-old Milan native launched her fashion blog, The Blonde Salad, in 2009. By 2015, such was her success that Harvard Business Review ran its first-ever case study on a fashion influencer.
Bryan Yambao, Philippines
Fashion blogger Yambao started his successful Bryanboy blog in 2004 from his family home in Manila. The former web developer soon became a force in the fashion blogosphere, showing up front row at shows across the globe, with Marc Jacobs an early supporter.
Evan Fong, Canada
An online gaming influencer, Fong dropped out of the University of Pennsylvania to pursue his online career full-time. On his YouTube channel, which boasts 21 million subscribers, he chats and makes jokes while playing games like Call of Duty or Grand Theft Auto.
Abhishek Asthana, India
Engineer turned Marketer for a multinational company, Gurgaon-based Asthana has gained over 1.23 million Twitter followers over the years with his highly engaging, opinionated posts tending to surround everyday life, Indian politics, Bollywood, and cricket.
Shivya Nath, India
With over 24K Twitter and Facebook followers, Nath is one of India’s most wanted Influencers in the travel segment in India. She left her corporate job with the Singapore Tourism Board to start her own Travel Blog, “The Shooting Star”.
Camila Coelho, Brazil
Camila Coelho is a renowned Brazilian blogger and social media star. While most recognized for her expertise in beauty, makeup, and fashion, Coelho shares broader aspirational visual content of her daily life on Instagram, where she has 6.7 million followers.
Mirjam Flatau, Germany
Mirjam Flatau is a German lifestyle blogger known for her minimalist, fun, and creative style. Since finding success on Instagram, Flatau has partnered with fashion and beauty brands including Calvin Klein, Chloe, Bare Minerals, and more.
Social networking is now the new norm, making our world even smaller. No matter where you are, there are social media outlets that will bring us all together. Influencers in this online world are an important part of business conversations. Understanding cultural nuances and the social networking matrix of what works and doesn’t work both on- and off-line in different countries is key.
Could it be that the fast-moving landscape of social media influence is shifting from conventional celebrities to everyday, passionate, tenacious individuals from around the globe who have made a name for themselves in social media? Only time will tell.
*Photos of influencers were pulled from Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Youtube.