Social media guide

France-flag-140Internet penetration in France is one of the highest in Europe with nearly 80% of people being connected. There is also an increasing number of Űber- connected individuals who have access to the internet at work, at home and on public transport. However, the issues of privacy and openness are high political priorities and their interpretation has seen clashes between French politicians and Silicon Valley CEOs. For example, banning the use of words such as “Facebook” and “Twitter” on TV and Radio is one way the French Government has illustrated its active discouragement of Social Media use.

In general, French SMEs are late adopters of social media, which reflects the general trend of low adoption in the country. Despite this conservative approach to social media innovations, a wide range of social media networks are used by some businesses. Paris is the second largest city in Europe based on the number of Twitter users who set their location there. The younger generation of 18 to 24 year olds seem to dominate the social media networks in France.

Legal aspects regarding the use of the Internet are very detailed and restrictive. The Employment Law Review (2012) in France suggests that information found on social media sites could be used by employers for checking an individual’s background and could also be used as evidence for dismissal.

Similar to other European countries, the patterns of use of social networks is different amongst French SMEs and students where networks such as Twitter and LinkedIn are preferred by business audiences and Facebook and Skyrock by students. Twitter is well represented in France by the over 55s and played a major part in the 2012 French presidential elections.

Private individuals / Students

The Passport to Trade 2.0 project survey, had difficulties collecting primary data using social media. This in itself suggests that French people are less likely to share data online. Therefore, the main recommendations are based on secondary sources and the observations of the Passport to Trade advisors and the research team. Significant variations in the preferences of social media among the different age groups are evident from the 2010 ComScore numbers. The two largest social media platforms are Facebook and Twitter. Some of the other popular social media networks in France are:

  • Skyrock
  • Windows Live Profile
  • MySpace
  • Amsterdam-d Before Buddies
  • Viadeo
  • Instagram


In France, social media is increasingly being used by businesses. French SMEs seem to use a wide range of social networks. Most popular among these are Viadeo and LinkedIn, followed closely by Facebook. Viadeo is a Paris based Social Media Club, and although lagging behind LinkedIn, it has been well financed and is targeting emerging markets for its growth. Most French websites also increasingly integrate links to their social media profiles such as Facebook.

Viadeo and LinkedIn are particularly useful for French companies who are experienced in collaborations abroad, and this indicates the international dimension of these networks. Most popular social networks used in the France are:

  • Viadeo
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Pinterest
  • MySpace
  • Google+

For further information please see below:

Search and Social Media Marketing for International Business

Learn how to use social media for business from one of Salford Business School’s latest business management courses. The course was jointly researched by the Passport to Trade 2.0 project team and prepared in collaboration with some of the leading digital marketing agencies in the UK.

This Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) can help businesses and individuals to make the best use of search and social media platforms. The course is called Search and Social Media Marketing for International Business and is applicable to students looking for placements abroad as well as businesses thinking about new trade links; it comprises the following twelve topics:

Before you start the course please complete this short MOOC entrance survey.

How to develop a personal brand online (1/12)

  • Whether you are a student beginning a job search or a business person planning a new business venture, personal branding can make a difference.
  • Learn about personal branding and why it is important for you.

How to use Twitter (2/12)

  • Learn the basics of using Twitter to develop an individual or business profile.
  • Remember to use hash tag #SSMMUoS to share your learning journey on this course so far!

How to use Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) (3/12)

  • Learn the principles of SEO to ensure that your website and any social media profiles are found by individuals searching for your name, products and services.
  • These basic principles of SEO include keyword research, on-page optimisation and off-page optimisation.

How to use social media for international business development (4/12)

  • Social media networks break down the traditional country barriers, but do you know which networks are relevant for the country you are interested in trading with?
  • Find out in this video how to identify the relevant networks and what social media strategies you might be able to use on these networks.

How to use Facebook (5/12)

  • Facebook is currently the largest social media network in the world and it can benefit you as a business as well as an individual.
  • Learn how to develop a Facebook business page and see how other businesses use it and what strategies work for them.

How to use YouTube (6/12)

  • YouTube was identified as the second largest social network amongst younger internet users as part of the Passport to Trade 2.0 project.
  • Learn how to optimise your video content in order to reach wider audiences for your profile.

How to use LinkedIn (7/12)

  • LinkedIn is one of the three main professional social networks – the others being Xing and Viadeo which are also popular in several European countries.
  • Learn how to make the most of LinkedIn for your profile.

How to use Google+ (8/12)

  • Google+ is the second largest social network as of January 2013.
  • It is one of the fastest growing social networks and one that has the biggest impact when it comes to search engine results integration for anyone who uses Google as their main search engine.
  • Learn how to make the most of Google+ for you and your digital profiles.

How to use copywriting online (9/12)

  • Copywriting is a process of translating technical specifications and product descriptions into engaging and understandable customer focused text.
  • Learn about the basic techniques in structuring your online content here.

How to stay legal on social media (10/12)

  • Everything and anything you do and say online can be potentially viewed by anyone who has internet access.
  • Always respect the law and familiarise yourself with new options offered to you through a creative commons licence which is popular online.

How to use monitoring and reporting (11/12)

  • Whether you are an individual or a business spending time on social media – there has to be a return on your engagement online.
  • How do you justify your engagement on social media to your boss? Listen to the industry experts in this area and see what you might be able to measure in respect of your on-line engagements.

How to blog (12/12)

  • Blogging is a process of writing text and sharing content with others. It can help your customers or friends to keep in-touch regardless of social media platforms.
  • Think about the voice you might want to adopt and who your audience might be. Share your thoughts with us by writing a blog post about this MOOC.
  • Tweet us the link to your post on the #SSMMUoS Twitter hash tag.

Please complete the MOOC exit survey.

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