Twitter: a channel of choice for quick government interaction, an annual study finds

Governments are becoming savvier in the use of the Social Media Channel and over the past four years, Twitter has become the social media channel of choice for world leaders to reach large audiences with key messages and soundbites, according to Burson-Marsteller’s Twiplomacy study, an annual global survey of world leaders on Twitter.

Twiplomacy aims to identify the extent to which world leaders use Twitter and how they connect on the social network.
Governments are putting more effort into their social media communication and are including more visuals and videos in their tweets. Some, such as the @Elysee Palace, are regularly posting six-second Vine videos to summarize state visits or to cheer their national team, as the German Foreign Ministry did during the World Cup. A handful of leaders, including the Elysée Palace and the Kremlin, are also early adopters of Twitter’s new livestreaming application, Periscope.
Released this week, the study analysed 669 government accounts in 166 countries and revealed that 86% percent of all 193 United Nations (UN) governments have a presence on Twitter. One hundred and seventy-two heads of state and government have personal Twitter accounts and only 27 countries, mainly in Africa and Asia-Pacific, do not have any Twitter presence.
Said Donald Baer, Worldwide Chair and CEO of Burson-Marsteller. “This fourth annual Burson-Marsteller Twiplomacy Study provides critically valuable insights about the communications practices and needs of leaders around the world.”
As of 24 March, the five most followed world leaders were U.S. President Barack Obama (@BarackObama) (57 million followers of the U.S. president’s campaign account), Pope Francis (@Pontifex) with 20 million followers on his nine different language accounts, India’s Prime Minister @NarendraModi, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdo an (@RT_Erdogan) and the @WhiteHouse.
However, the most followed world leaders follow few other peers, and they are hardly conversational. @BarackObama and the @WhiteHouse only follow four other world leaders, namely Norway’s Erna Solberg, Russia’s Dmitry Medvedev, the UK government and Estonia’s Foreign Minister Keit Pentus.
While @BarackObama is the most followed world leader, he is also dwarfed in terms of retweets per tweet by Pope Francis who averages almost 10,000 retweets for each tweet sent on his Spanish account, against 1,210 for each tweet sent by @BarackObama.
“This study illustrates that governments are becoming savvier and more professional in the use of social media,” said Jeremy Galbraith, CEO of Burson-Marsteller Europe, Middle East and Africa and Global Chief Strategy Officer. “It is interesting to see how foreign ministries have honed their social strategies and built substantial dedicated teams to manage their online channels. We believe corporations can learn a lot from governments and their leaders on Twitter.”
All but one of the G20 governments have an official Twitter presence, and six of the G7 leaders have a personal Twitter account.
Barack Obama was the first world leader to sign up to Twitter on 5 March 2007 (at the time as Senator Obama) as user #813,286. As of 24 March, all world leaders combined have sent 2,653,876 tweets, posting on average four tweets each day.
To access the complete analysis of these findings, visit:
Data was collected in March 2015 from the accounts of 669 heads of state and government, foreign ministers and their institutions in 166 countries worldwide looking at more than 50 variables using Twitonomy ( Burson-Marsteller used its proprietary Burson Tools to analyze Twitter relations between world leaders.
Burson-Marsteller, established in 1953, is a leading global public relations and communications firm. It provides clients with strategic thinking and program execution across a full range of public relations, public affairs, reputation and crisis management, advertising and digital strategies. The firm’s worldwide network consists of 73 offices and 85 affiliate offices, together operating in 110 countries across six continents