The 2015 Twiplomacy study, which revealed that US President Barack Obama was by the far most followed world leader, showed that when it comes to foreign ministries it’s all about mutual conections.
And when it comes to mutual connections Fabius or @LaurentFabius, as he is known in Twitter circles is the king of foreign ministers, due to the fact he is mutually connected to 100 peers.
Here is meeting Australia's foreign minister Julie Bishop last week.
— Julie Bishop (@JulieBishopMP) April 21, 2015
Russia’s foreign ministry, which has made a conscious effort to connect with world peers on its English-language account @MFA_Russia, comes in second with connections to another 93 world leaders.
Fabius’s own foreign ministry’s official Twitter account is third with 90 mutual connections.
The French foreign ministry was able to reach users across multiple languages, with additional accounts in English as well as Spanish and Arabic.
According to the study: “Being mutually connected on Twitter is not only a courteous gesture, but also allows these leaders to direct message each other and to have private conversations on Twitter, a feature which can also be turned on by default.
“A number of foreign offices have used this channel to reach out to peers and other influencers to set the record straight or to coordinate their digital campaigns.
The Twiplomacy study, by public relations firm Burson-Marsteller, analyzed the Twitter use of accounts of 669 heads of state and government, foreign ministers and their institutions in 166 countries worldwide.
“Over the past years Twitter has become the channel of choice for digital diplomacy between world leaders, governments, foreign ministries and diplomats,” the report states. “Social media in general and Twitter in particular is no longer just an afterthought but an essential communication tool for governments to interact and broadcast 140 character messages and six-second soundbites.”
As of March 24th, the most-followed world leaders were US President Barack Obama at 57 million followers, Pope Francis at 20 million followers across his nine different language accounts and India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi at about 11 million.
French President François Hollande pales in comparison as he only as 955,000 followers on his account @fhollande.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan – who once vowed he would “wipe out Twitter”, banning the social media site temporarily in the country – was also among the top five with 6.1 million followers.
The Pope beat Obama for most effective world leader, with an average of 9,929 re-tweets per tweet.
The report showed the Mexican presidency account to be the most prolific, with an average of 68 tweets per day.
“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, in a statement.
“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.”