According to the newly released 2018 Twiplomacy study by BCW, the first truly integrated global communications agency in the world, U.S. President Donald Trump is the most followed world leader on Twitter, with 52 million followers on his @realDonaldTrump account which has more than doubled since taking office on January 20, 2017.
Donald Trump became the most followed world leader in October 2017 when he passed Pope Francis (@Pontifex) who is the second most followed world leader with more than 47 million followers on his nine language accounts. Indian Prime Minister @NarendraModi takes the third and fourth spots, with 42 million followers on his personal account and 26 million followers on his institutional account, @PMOIndia. The official Twitter account of the U.S. President, @POTUS ranks fifth and @WhiteHouse ranks sixth, with 23 and 17 million followers, respectively.
Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta @UKenyatta is Sub-Saharan Africa’s most followed leader with 3 million followers, ahead of Rwanda’s @PaulKagame and Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari (@MBuhari), with more than 1 million followers each, at the time of the research.
As of May 18, 2018, the heads of state and government and foreign ministers of 187 countries had a presence on Twitter, representing 97 percent of all 193 UN member states. The governments of only six countries, namely Laos, Mauritania, Nicaragua, North Korea, Swaziland and Turkmenistan do not have an official presence on the platform. Even the Chinese government’s State Council Information Office maintains a presence on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.
Facebook is the second-most popular network among government leaders, and it is where they have the biggest audience. Instagram has become the third-most popular social network for governments, with 81 percent of all UN member states having set up an account and many of them are sharing daily Instagram stories.
The BCW Twiplomacy study analyzes the activity of 951 Twitter accounts of heads of state and government and foreign ministers from May 19, 2017 to May 18, 2018 using aggregate data from Crowdtangle.com.
“Social media has become a primary conduit of diplomacy,” said Chad Latz, Chief Innovation Officer, BCW. “It has gone from being an afterthought to the very first thought of world leaders and governments across the globe, as audiences flock to their Twitter newsfeeds for the latest news and statements. Beyond communicating their own agendas and policy decisions, it is interesting to see how they use Twitter to establish relations or challenge each other on full display to the social web.”
Other key findings include:
– Jordan’s @QueenRania has become the most followed Arab leader with more than 10 million followers, surpassing Sheikh Mohammed, the Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates @HHShkMohd and Saudi Arabia’s @KingSalman with nine and six million followers, respectively.
– @QueenRania is the second-most followed female world leader after India’s Foreign Minister, @SushmaSwaraj, who is also the most followed foreign minister, with 11 million followers.
– The Dutch government is the most conversational on its @Rijksoverheid account, answering citizens’ questions about policies, laws and regulations. More than 97 percent of its tweets are @replies to other Twitter users.
The Twiplomacy study is BCW’s highly-acclaimed research into how world leaders, governments and international organizations communicate via social media. Since 2016, the Twiplomacy study was expanded to cover all key social media platforms.
BCW is one of the world’s largest, full-service, global communications agencies with deep expertise in digital and integrated communications, across all industry sectors. The agency combines expertise in digitally driven creative content and integrated communications – across the consumer, healthcare and technology sectors – with deep strength in public affairs, corporate reputation, crisis, and research and analytics.