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UNICEF most followed on Twitter, CERN most effective

The United Nations Children’s Fund (@UNICEF) is the most followed organisation on Twitter, with more than two million followers. But, it is second to the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (@CERN) in effectiveness, because both organisations’ tweets are retweeted on average more than 100 times.

These are among findings released this week by Burson-Marsteller, a leading global public relations and communications firm, in its ‚”Twiplomacy‚” ( study looking specifically at International Organisations and their leaders on Twitter. The study shows that all leading international organisations have a Twitter account, and half of their leaders have active personal accounts on the social network.

The ‚”Twiplomacy‚” study is the leading research of its kind, aimed at identifying to what extent world leaders, governments and international organisations use Twitter. In early November 2013, Burson-Marsteller analysed 223 accounts of 101 international organisations.

‚”Understanding the use and application of social media is now essential to effective strategic communications efforts,‚” said Burson-Marsteller’s Worldwide Chair and CEO Don Baer. “Our Twiplomacy study has become the industry standard for advancing that understanding and is a prime example of what we mean by Burson-Marsteller, Being More.””

‚””This study illustrates how organisations can use Twitter in a novel way with the innovative use of hashtags, Twitter Q&As and direct message campaigns that have can make a big impact regardless of the number of their followers,‚”” said Jeremy Galbraith, CEO of Burson-Marsteller Europe, Middle East and Africa. ‚””It is interesting to see that while half of the heads of international organisations have personal Twitter accounts, few tweet themselves.‚””

Other key findings include:

· Those international organisations who signed up to Twitter in 2007 and early 2008 are also among the most followed today. Five of them have more than a million followers each, namely @UNICEF, the @UN, the World Economic Forum (@Davos), the UN Refugee agency (@Refugees) and the World Wide Fund for Nature (@WWF). All international organisations combined have a total of 18,325,589 followers.

¬∑ Geneva-based organisations have a total of 6’197’506 followers, beating New York to second place where organisations total 5’598’909 followers.

¬∑ Fifty heads of international organisations have personal Twitter accounts that are either managed personally or with their teams. Twitter has played a crucial role in the election of Roberto Azev√™do, the new head of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) who tweets as @WTODGAzevedo. The first act of the new Secretary General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Mukhisa Kituyi’s was to set up his personal Twitter account @UNCTADKituyi.

¬∑ The study found that the Secretary General of the East African Community is the most conversational head of any international organisation. More than 65 percent of Richard Sezibera’s tweets are @replies to other users. Overall, international organisations are less conversational than their leaders with the notable exception of @Eurocontrol, the European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation, which has been answering questions about flight delays since the eruption of the Eyjafjallaj√∂kull volcano in Iceland disrupted air travel across Europe in 2010.

The World Economic Forum (@Davos) and the @GlobalFund have recently run direct message campaigns, reaching out directly to their most influential followers on Twitter to push their reports and campaigns. Thea are also among a handful of accounts which allow any follower to send them direct messages, effectively opening up a new two-way channel of communication.

‚””Credit goes to the social media managers in each organisation who are often alone to manage an organisation’s Twitter account and other social media platforms on top of their day job. Organisations that put more resources into their digital communications are the ones who will be most effective over the coming years,‚”” notes Matthias L√ºfkens, Burson-Marsteller’s Digital Practice Leader EMEA and author of the report.

* Image courtesy of

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