Named: World leaders who know to max their public support on social media


Tutorials needed please: A politician from New Zealand is demonstrating how to get love‚ India and America’s prolific leaders are getting their points of view into the public domain‚ but South African politicians are languishing far behind other Africans when it comes to scoring followers on social media.

Burson Cohn & Wolfe have released the annual study about the most followed “World Leaders on Facebook” and how they interact with their followers.

Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta is the most popular leader in Sub-Saharan Africa with 3.5 million likes‚ ahead of Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo with 1.6 million likes. Cameroon’s President Paul Biya‚ Rwanda’s Paul Kagame and Guinea’s Alpha Condé complete the top five list each with more than 700‚000 likes‚ respectively.

The Facebook page of the government of Botswana is the most prolific‚ with an average of 35 posts per day since January 1‚ 2017. The governments of Ethiopia and the presidency of Ghana are not far behind with 28 and 21 posts per day‚ respectively.

The so-called Twiplomacy stats on Facebook place the South African presidency and government in 135th and 136th spots.

The most followed world leader on Facebook with 43.2 million followers on his personal page is Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi‚ almost twice as many as US President Donald J. Trump who is in second place with 23.1 million followers on his personal page.

Queen Rania of Jordan was in third place with 16 million followers‚ ahead of the institutional page of the Indian Premier‚ @PMOIndia‚ with 13.9 million followers. Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen has shot into fifth position of the most followed world leaders‚ with 9.6 million followers and a growth rate of 48%.

The study analyzed the activity of 650 Facebook pages of heads of state and government and foreign ministers from January 1‚ 2017 using aggregate data from Facebook’s Crowdtangle tool.

Over the past 14 months‚ the Facebook page of President Trump had by far the most interactions of any world leader on Facebook‚ with a total of 204.9 million interactions (defined as the total number of comments‚ likes and shares)‚ almost twice as many as Narendra Modi with 113.6 million interactions. Indonesian President Joko Widodo has 46 million interactions and Cambodia’s Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen and Argentina’s President Mauricio Macri follow with 36 and 33.4 million interactions‚ respectively.

The World Leaders on Facebook study found that 175‚ or 91 percent‚ of the 193 United Nations (UN) member states maintain an official Facebook page. In addition‚ 109 heads of state‚ 86 heads of government and 72 foreign ministers maintain personal pages on the platform.

Chad Latz‚ chief innovation officer at Burson Cohn & Wolfe‚ commented: “It is clear that world leaders are increasingly using social media to communicate directly with their constituents and platforms like Facebook to bring a personal‚ humanizing tone to their communications.”

As of March 15‚ 2018‚ all pages of world leaders combined had a total of 309.4 million followers on Facebook. Since January 1‚ 2017‚ they have published a total of 536‚644 posts which have garnered close to 900 million interactions.

The findings revealed that‚ while more than half of the posts have photos‚ world leaders are increasingly sharing videos and a handful are going live to talk directly to their constituents.

Posts with videos attracted by far the most interactions: 2‚615 on average‚ compared to 1‚750 for photo posts‚ with Facebook Live videos garnering on average 4‚489 interactions.

The 91‚266 Facebook videos posted on world leaders’ pages have been viewed 5.4 billion times with an average view count of 70‚790 per video.

Popularity is all about the personal touch‚ the survey reveals.

“Only a handful of world leaders manage their pages on their own‚ or post on their timeline themselves. This is generally done by their social media teams. However‚ there are notable exceptions.

“Posts which show a personal and often lighter side of world leaders often perform well on Facebook. Much like any other Facebook user‚ world leaders sometimes share information about their private lives on the platform‚ celebrating birthdays‚ sharing pictures of their children and announcing their latest offspring. These personal posts are generally the most popular ones.”

New Zealand’s new Prime Minister‚ Jacinda Ardern‚ often posts impromptu Facebook live broadcasts from her home at Premier House and even from her car‚ updating her followers about the latest government decisions and answering questions as they come in live. The 37-year-old politician has become the ‘most loved’ world leader since 14% of her Facebook interactions are love hearts sent by her followers‚ which is all part of what has become known Down Under as #JacindaMania.” In addition‚ her videos are now consistently subtitled for the hearing impaired.

Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen occasionally takes the smartphone into his own hands and posts live videos‚ including a live New Year’s message at two minutes past midnight as fireworks illuminated the night sky of Copenhagen‚ or a good night message while eating pizza after a long day at work.

Danish Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsen is visibly having fun on his personal Facebook page‚ the survey authors note. He posts the occasional selfie and short video snippets from his activities‚ from singing Dancing in the Moonlight with a group of youngsters in the street to driving through the streets of Paris or simply playing with a fidget spinner.

“These raw and unedited videos might not have much news value‚ but they provide a glimpse into ‘life as the Foreign Minister of Denmark’ and are certainly engaging for his 95‚000-strong Facebook audience.”

Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong‚ meanwhile‚ entertains his 1.1 million followers with occasional personal snapshots‚ often using the hashtag #GuessWhere and encouraging his followers to guess the location where the photo was taken.

An analysis of the public’s use of emoji showed that the Facebook post which attracted by far the most laughs is the post from Trump mocking North Korean leader Kim Jong-un‚ receiving more than 156‚000 laughter emojis. The Valentine’s Day post by Mexican President Enrique Pea Nieto received 71‚813 laughing smileys‚ “not because the post is funny but it seems his detractors tend to mock him‚ as 8% of all his interactions are laughter“‚ the survey stated.

Other key findings include:

-The picture of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi praying at the 11th century Lingaraj Temple in Bhubaneswar‚ East India‚ was the most popular photo shared by a world leader in 2017 with a total of 1.2 million interactions‚ including 1.1 million likes.

-Video-wise‚ French President Emmanuel Macron scored the viral hit of 2017 with his “Message to American researchers‚ entrepreneurs‚ engineers‚ working on climate change.” The one-and-a-half-minute video appeal to “Please come to France‚ you are welcome” was watched 29.1 million times and has become the most watched Facebook video posted by a world leader in 2017 and the most shared at 363‚505 times. Macron’s call to Make Our Planet Great Again in reaction to Donald Trump’s decision to leave the Paris climate agreement has become the second most watched video in 2017. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Ramadan message to Muslims in Canada and around the world has become the third most viewed Facebook video with 12.5 million views and 819‚000 interactions.

-The White House is the page most followed by peers‚ with 28 peer connections. It is followed by the European Commission with 24 peer connections and the US State Department with 20.

-Other pages followed by world leaders include the United Nations (liked by 45)‚ the European Parliament and the archived Obama White House page (each liked by 26) and NATO (liked by 19).

-The Russian Foreign Ministry has made the most diplomatic overtures on Facebook‚ liking 97 other peer pages including the personal page of Donald Trump which is also only liked by one other leader‚ Roosevelt Skerrit‚ the Prime Minister of Dominica.

-The governments of only 18 countries have not yet set up a presence on Facebook‚ including China‚ North Korea and Turkmenistan. However a Facebook page was set up for the Chinese State Council Information Office @ChinaSCIO which has only 175 likes.

-The most visited institution is The White House‚ with just under 5.2 million check-ins‚ followed by the Ugandan State House with 225‚991 and the UK’s 10 Downing Street with more than 190‚000 check-ins.

Did you know? Barack Obama was the first world leader to set up his own Facebook page‚ in March 2007‚ when he was still Governor of Illinois.


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