Just where does President Jacob Zuma stand in Twitter world compared to other world leaders? The latest Burson-Marsteller Twiplomacy study says our president, who has a personal and institutional account, “isn’t the most active tweep”.
“So far he has tweeted less than 100 times mainly from an iPhone on the go,” it says. While 22 world leaders follow Zuma, he hasn’t yet reciprocated. In fact, @SApresident has only made two mentions.
What are they? Interestingly, it was the Springbok rugby team, @bokrugby, which received the honour as did his office’s account, @PresidencyZA.
“@SAPresident is the user most retweeted, as well as the user most replied to. The South African presidency tweets on average twice a day and it is worth mentioning their great collection of photos, which give a candid behind the scenes look into Zuma’s presidency,” the study reported.
Interestingly, more than two-thirds of African governments have a presence on Twitter and African leaders are generally among the most conversational Twitter users. President Zuma’s Twitter stream, said the study, doesn’t show much interaction with his followers. He’s not alone, says Jeremy Galbraith, CEO of Burson-Marsteller Europe, Middle East and Africa. “It is interesting to see that while half of the heads of international organisations have personal Twitter accounts, few tweet themselves.”
The study found that the secretary general of the East African Community is the most conversational head of any international organisation. More than 65 percent of Richard Sezibera’s tweets are @replies to other users.
“Credit goes to the social media managers in each organisation who are often alone to manage an organisation’s Twitter account and other social media platforms on top of their day job. Organisations that put more resources into their digital communications are the ones who will be most effective over the coming years,” says Matthias Lüfkens, Burson-Marsteller’s digital practice leader EMEA and author of the report.
“Understanding the use and application of social media is now essential to effective strategic communications efforts,” said Burson-Marsteller’s worldwide chair and CEO, Don Baer. The award winning research series issued its latest report this week, looking at what the best strategies are and what corporations could learn from the non-profit sector.
“This study shows that Twitter has become a formidable communication tool allowing the broadcast of short messages to millions of followers. At the same time the social network invites direct interaction between users and two-thirds (68%) of world leaders have made mutual connections with their peers,” the report said
The World Economic Forum (@Davos) and the @GlobalFund recently run direct message campaigns, reaching out directly to their most influential followers on Twitter to push their reports and campaigns. Thea are also among a handful of accounts which allow any follower to send them direct messages, effectively opening up a new two-way channel of communication.
It interrogated which organisations and leaders have the most impact on Twitter, which is fast becoming the primary source of news for organisations and people. The World Health Organisation (@WHO) has adopted a ‘Twitter first’ policy, updating its Twitter feed before its website.
“In this deep-dive on international organisations and their leaders, we have looked at 223 Twitter accounts from101 international organisations, including 51 personal accounts of their leaders and 75 accounts in other languages. Data for each account was gathered on 1 November 2013 looking at 60 data points, including the number of followers, the number of @replies and the average number of retweets,” Burson-Marsteller said.
The research found the United Nations Children’s Fund (@UNICEF) is the most followed international organisation with more than two million followers. @UNICEF is also the second most effective international organisation after the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (@CERN). Both organisations’ tweets are retweeted on average more than 100 times.
Nabil Elaraby, the secretary general of the Arab League, is the most followed head of an international organisation with more than 346 000 followers. Christine Lagarde, the head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and NATO’s secretary general Anders Fogh Rasmussen are in second and third position with more than 150 000 followers each.
A quarter of world leaders and governments follow President Barack Obama and the White House, but @BarackObama and the @WhiteHouse have established mutual Twitter relations with only four other world leaders.
Swedish foreign minister @CarlBildt is the best connected world leader, mutually following 44 peers. Ugandan Prime Minister @AmamaMbabazi is the most conversational world leader with 96% of his tweets being @replies to other Twitter users.
Many governments also use Twitter as an automated news feed from their website or Facebook page. As of 1 July 2013 the 505 accounts enjoyed a combined following of 105 733 356.