Burson-Marsteller finds huge missed opportunity for country promotion on Twitter

16 November, 2012


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@GreatBritain, @Israel and @Sweden are the best examples of country promotion on Twitter

BEIJING — Burson-Marsteller, a leading global public relations and communications firm, today released the second part of its “Twiplomacy” study (http://twiplomacy.com), looking specifically at country branding on Twitter. The study shows that only 9 governments out of 193 UN member states own their country name Twitter handle.

The @China account was registered by a private individual who identifies herself as Laura. The account is protected but there has been no activity at all.

The accounts of @GreatBritain, @Israel, and @Sweden are the most significant examples of country promotion on Twitter. @GreatBritain is part of the ‘Britain is Great’ campaign launched in March 2012 to highlight everything that is great about the United Kingdom.

@Israel is the country’s official Twitter channel, maintained by the Foreign Ministry's Digital Diplomacy Team. The account is one of the most followed country accounts with more than 66,000 followers and serves as the focal point for Israel’s government Twitter activity.

The Swedish government has given its official Twitter handle to the people. Every week another Swede is in charge of the @Sweden account sharing recommendations, opinions and facts about life in Sweden with over 65,000 followers. The Curators of Sweden project was launched in December 2011 and has been copied with varying success by @Ireland and @NewZealand. The project has also inspired volunteer groups in over 20 countries to engage in what has become known as the rotation-curation movement.

The Twitter accounts of @AntiguaBarbuda, @Barbados, @Lithuania, the @Maldives, @SouthAfrica, and @Spain are run by their respective official tourism organizations to promote tourism in each country.

However, three out of five country accounts are either protected, dormant, inactive, or suspended and almost half of the 71 remaining active accounts are tweeting an automated news feed broadcasting news about the country.

“Looking at the findings it becomes clear that few governments and tourism organizations have understood the power of country branding and marketing on Twitter,” said Matthias Lüfkens, head of the Burson-Marsteller EMEA Digital Practice. “There is a huge opportunity for countries to use Twitter as part of their communications to engage with a large and growing audience.”

Data used was taken in November 2012 looking at the Twitter handles of the 193 UN member countries. Burson-Marsteller used Twitonomy (http://twitonomy.com) to analyze tweeting patterns and the Twitter history of each account.

To access the complete analysis of these findings, visit: http://twiplomacy.com/country-promotion  


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About Burson-Marsteller
Burson-Marsteller, established in 1953, is a leading global public relations and communications firm. It provides clients with strategic thinking and program execution across a full range of public relations, public affairs, reputation and crisis management, advertising and web-related strategies. The firm’s seamless worldwide network consists of 73 offices and 83 affiliate offices, together operating in 110 countries across six continents. Burson-Marsteller is a part of Young & Rubicam Group, a subsidiary of WPP (NASDAQ: WPPGY), the world’s leading communications services network. To learn more about Burson-Marsteller visit www.burson-marsteller.com

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