Press Release from 2014-01-06 / Group

KfW Research: more than half of young companies use social media

  • Social media is becoming increasingly significant for companies
  • Services industry is beating the manufacturing and construction industries
  • Social media is predominantly used for advertising and marketing as well as sales and customer service

More than half of the companies in Germany that were less than four years old at the end of 2012 use social media for their business activities, making young companies the pioneers of social media use among German enterprises. This finding demonstrates that social media will grow in significance for companies in the future. It is the result of a special evaluation undertaken by the KfW/ZEW Start-up Panel. "Most young companies have seen their expectations of social media at least partially fulfilled," explains Dr Jörg Zeuner, Chief Economist at KfW. "That said, only one in ten is completely satisfied. This could be due to overly optimistic expectations, but also to the fact it takes a certain amount of time for efforts to bear fruit."

Young companies in the services industry use social media most often (roughly 60%); in manufacturing it is more than 40%, and in the construction industry at least 25%. The greater the company's affinity to software and computers, the more likely it is that social media will be used in a purposeful manner. This is why the software sector stands out in the services industry, where more than 80% of young companies are active in social media.

Corporate profiles are a fundamental pillar of the social media strategy: 46% of all young companies use social media by presenting themselves as part of a social network. 27% offer their clients the chance to give feedback through a platform.

It is still relatively rare for young companies to make content available on content-sharing platforms (14%) or to publish short snippets of company news on the likes of Twitter (12%).

The main reasons for communicating through social media are advertising and marketing purposes (87%) as well as improving sales or customer service (70%). 63% also use social media to find out about their competitors and market environment. Furthermore, social media is employed for internal communication (30%) and recruiting staff (27%).

Note: You can find a brief evaluation entitled "Young enterprises are leading the way in social media use" at A more in-depth analysis of young companies' social media use will be published within the next few months.