Twitter has become the social media channel of choice for world leaders to reach large audiences with key messages and soundbites. The Burson-Marsteller’s Twiplomacy study released today, analyzed 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.
As of 24 March 2015, the five most followed world leaders were U.S. President Barack Obama @BarackObama with 58.5 million followers . Pope Francis @Pontifex follows with 20 million followers on his nine different language accounts. India’s Prime Minister @NarendraModi came in third . Surprise addition on the list is Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan @RT_Erdogan who is the Fourth Most followed despite his public disdain for the social media platform.
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. President Obama also tops the list of early adopters of the service that includes Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto @EPN, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper @PMHarper.
Closer home, 78% of African governments are using Twitter. Rwanda’s @PaulKagame has become Africa’s most followed president with 960,000 followers ahead of Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta @UKenyatta with 827,000 followers. South Africa’s presidential administration @PresidencyZA comes third with 412,000 followers.
The study also found Rwanda’s President as the most conversational world leader with 86% of his tweets being replies to other Twitter users.