Twitter rules digital diplomacy for world leaders
SOCIAL network giant Twitter has become the ultimate channel for digital diplomacy for world leaders and governments, an annual global survey of state heads on social media showed.
Burson-Marsteller’s Twiplomacy study showed that Twitter is the prime social network used by heads of state and government in 173 countries, representing 90 percent of all United Nations (UN) member states.
The study also revealed that Facebook is the second-most used social media platform by world leaders with 169 governments having set up official pages. The study, however, showed that leaders have on average twice as many followers on their Facebook pages as followers on Twitter.
YouTube, meanwhile, ranked third among social media platform used by 78 percent of all UN member states, ahead of Instagram which is used by 70 percent.
“While Twitter communication is mainly text-based including visuals, Instagram is picture-driven with minimal text and more behind-the-scenes pictures,” the study said.
The study found out that governments with larger social media teams also have been exploring more visual communications with Vine and Snapchat, both of which target a younger audience of millennials.
“Governments that do not have full broadcasting capabilities, mainly in Latin America, are embracing Periscope and Facebook Live to broadcast their press conferences,” the study said.
According to Don Baer, Worldwide Chair and CEO, Burson-Marsteller, people in power “are increasingly tapping social media platforms to connect with the audiences most important to them.”
“As engagement becomes one of the critical measures of social media influence, our Twiplomacy study shows which political communicators are most successful on which social platforms and what we can learn from them,” Baer said.
The Twiplomacy study showed that the world leaders using social media with the most success are U.S. President Barack Obama and his White House team, Argentinian President Mauricio Macri and Canadian Prime Minster Justin Trudeau among others.
“This cross-platform study shows that world leaders are increasingly taking an integrated approach across several social media channels, an indication of where more and more business leaders are likely to move as well,” said Jeremy Galbraith, CEO of Burson-Marsteller Europe, Middle East and Africa and Global Chief Strategy Officer.
“We are seeing that world leaders are allowing people to ‘meet’ the personality behind the official title – and that today, much more than words, creative or personal images get messages across most powerfully, a tactic that corporate leaders can use just as effectively,” Galbraith said.
The 2016 Twiplomacy study analyzed 793 Twitter accounts of heads of states and governments in 173 countries with a combined total audience of 324 million followers.
The study said Twitter account of Barack Obama has 74 million followers ahead of Pope Francis with 28 million and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in third with 19 million followers.
Burson-Marsteller’s Twitter study, however, revealed that a massive following does not always translate into influence.
“The official presidential @POTUS Twitter account, set up in May 2015, has become the seventh most followed account with 7.6 million followers, and it is by far the most effective account considering it averages 12,350 retweets per tweet. In comparison, the tweets sent by the @BarackObama account, which has ten times as many followers as @POTUS, are only retweeted on average 1,572 times,” the study found out.
The study also found out that foreign ministries tend to use Twitter to establish mutual relations.
“In May 2015, the U.S. State Department used Twitter to re-establish ties with its Cuban counterpart, months before the official re-establishment of diplomatic relations. The State Department also tried to connect with Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, but has unfollowed both men who had not reciprocated,” study said.
Other significant findings include India’s Foreign Minister @SushmaSwaraj as the most followed female leader with 5 million followers, ahead of Jordan’s @QueenRania with 4.7 million followers.
Also, The UK Prime Minister @Number10gov is the most followed European Union leader with more than 4.4 million followers, ahead of Italy’s @MatteoRenzi and the British @RoyalFamily with 2.3 million and 2.2 million followers, respectively.
Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta @UKenyatta has become Sub-Saharan Africa’s most followed leader with 1.4 million followers, closely followed by Rwanda’s @PaulKagame ahead of South Africa’s presidential administration (@PresidencyZA), with 673,000 followers.
Meanwhile, in Latin America, Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto @EPN has 5.2 million followers, far ahead of Colombia’s President @JuanManSantos, Venezuela’s @NicolasMaduro and Argentina’s @MauricioMacri, with well over 2.8 million followers each.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum @HHShkMohd is the most followed Arab leader with 6 million, followed by Saudi Arabia’s @KingSalman with 5 million, Jordan’s @QueenRania and Abdullah Bin Zayed (@ABZayed), the Foreign Minister of the United Arab Emirates, with 3 million followers.
Among the foreign ministries, the U.S. State Department (@StateDept) is the most followed with 2.6 million followers ahead of the Turkish (@TC_Disisleri) and the Russian (@MID_RF) foreign ministries with more than one million followers each.
More than 5,000 embassies and ambassadors are now active on Twitter. NC
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