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In Canada, Social Media Usage Is a Tale of Two Languages

French and English speakers in Canada have opposing views on brand posts

Are Facebook users in Canada paying attention to your brand posts—or perhaps getting turned off by them?

According to March 2014 research from Headspace Marketing, the answer depends a lot on language preference and geography. Francophones in Quebec were overwhelmingly likely to say they read posts from brands just as closely as if they were from friends. But English speakers in the rest of Canada showed the reverse behavior: Relatively few of them treated brand and friend posts the same, while most Anglophones said they just briefly skimmed brand posts for important info.

English speakers were also slightly more likely to say they skipped entirely or didn’t notice brand posts.

When asked why they stopped following brands on Facebook, English speakers put the most emphasis on content. Irrelevant content posted by brands was their biggest turnoff, followed by too-frequent posting—not too surprising, considering most of them want to skim brand posts anyway.

But French Quebecers had other things on their mind when they switched off the “like” button. Simply no longer liking the brand was the most common reason for doing so, but a failure to respond to inquiries also played a major role.

The research suggests social media marketers in Canada may have a lot to consider when addressing French- and English-speaking audiences, as well as audiences inside and outside of Quebec. And while language preference in itself is only the tip of the iceberg, it’s not to be ignored. One in five French-speaking Quebecers stopped following if brands didn’t post enough content in their preferred language, and a failure to get responses in the preferred language was also a problem for 7.2%.

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