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Does Language Matter for Social Networking in Quebec?

French-speakers less likely to participate in virtually every social channel

Social networking is widespread in Canada—eMarketer estimates that 66% of internet users of all ages in the country will use a social network at least monthly this year. But May 2013 research from CEFRIO suggests that the situation in Quebec may be different than in other provinces—at least among the French-speaking population.

Canada’s second-largest province has lower penetration rates for a variety of social sites among French speakers than among speakers of English or other languages. YouTube, for example, had a 13-point advantage among English speakers vs. French speakers. LinkedIn was nearly twice as popular among English speakers as French speakers. Facebook appealed similarly to both populations, though penetration was slightly lower among French speakers. Only Twitter had higher penetration among Quebec’s francophone majority.

English speakers are also more likely to report engaging in nearly every social activity studied. They were more likely to be social media users overall, as well as more likely to check content, access their accounts, share content, create content and follow other users. French speakers, meanwhile, more commonly reported interacting with other users.

The francophone focus on interaction with users, as well as their markedly lower usage of sites like YouTube and LinkedIn, which rely on content to make them engaging, suggests that French-language content may be relatively lacking on these sites—or more commonly found elsewhere.

Social media marketers should note that French speakers definitely have a presence on these sites, but should consider whether language-specific content might help get them more active and engaged.


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