India’s Prime Minister @NarendraModi is the third-most followed world leader with 30 million followers on his personal account and 18 million followers on his institutional account, @PMOIndia, which is in fourth place on Twitter, according to Burson-Marsteller’s Twiplomacy study. Pope Francis is the most followed world leader on Twitter with a combined total of 33 million followers on his nine language accounts, ahead of US President Donald Trump with 30 million.
India’s Foreign Minister, @SushmaSwaraj, is the most followed female world leader with 8 million followers and @IndianDiplomacy is third among foreign ministries with 1.2 million followers on Twitter.
Twitter is the prime social network used by 276 heads of state and government, and foreign ministers, in 178 countries, representing 92 percent of all United Nations (UN) member states. Facebook is the second-most used social platform by world leaders, with 169 governments having established official pages. However, world leaders have, on average, twice as many followers on their Facebook pages as followers on Twitter. Data for Twiplomacy, which updated the studies about Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Periscope, was captured in May 2017 using Burson-Marsteller’s proprietary Burson tools, CrowdTangle.com and Twitonomy.com.
Are World Leaders Conversational on Twitter?
While President Trump’s tweets have generated 166 million interactions (likes and retweets) over the past 12 months, PM Modi is in second place with 35 million interactions. For instance, in 2015 Modi sent a Direct Message to his then 12.5 million followers celebrating one year in government. Today selected accounts can still send him direct messages and are greeted by this welcome message.
Visual Communications on Twitter
A number of world leaders have use animated gifs to lighten up their tweets in a fun and playful way. For example, Modi created a gif to promote his mobile app.
The 2017 edition of Twiplomacy also examines the use of other social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Periscope, and the Twiplomacy.com website includes rankings as well as a social media atlas for each country studied. The study found, for example, the number of governments using Periscope has doubled over the past year, offering a cost-effective way to broadcast press conferences live.
“Politics and diplomacy are playing out on social media in a way we have never seen before,” said Don Baer, Worldwide Chair and CEO, Burson-Marsteller. “With the US President bypassing traditional government channels to communicate directly to his supporters and detractors alike, we can expect more people in positions of power to adopt this practice. Our Twiplomacy study shows how fast-paced and dynamic our communications landscape truly is.”
The 2017 Twiplomacy study analysed 856 Twitter accounts of heads of state and government, and foreign ministers, in 178 countries with a combined total audience of 356 million followers. Foreign ministries tend to use Twitter to establish mutual relations. The most followed non-government account is the United Nations Twitter account, @UN, which is followed by 338 of the 856 world leaders' Twitter accounts; @BarackObama and the @ObamaWhiteHouse are followed by 312 and 254 world leaders, respectively. @UNICEF is the second-most followed international organisation and The New York Times (@NYTimes) is the most followed news organization. The @Twiplomacy Twitter account is the eighth-most followed non-governmental account by world leaders, with a following of 184 heads of state and government, ahead of @Reuters and @TheEconomist.
Twiplomacy is Burson-Marsteller’s global study of how world leaders, governments and international organisations use social media. The 2017 edition of the study specifically looked at Twitter and also updated the studies about Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Periscope. Data was captured in May 2017, using Burson-Marsteller’s proprietary Burson tools, CrowdTangle.com and Twitonomy.com.