Donald Trump, United States President 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 20 January 2017, according to the newly released 2018 Twiplomacy study by BCW, a top-three and the first truly integrated global communications agency in the world.
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.
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 analyses 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.
The US President is among a very small group of world leaders who are personally active on their own Twitter accounts and his tweets have generated 264 million interactions (likes & retweets) over the past 12 months, more than five times as many as Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, with 52 million interactions, and 12 times as many as Pope Francis, with 22 million interactions. The tweets from @realDonaldTrump garner on average more than 20,000 retweets.
“Social media has become a primary conduit of diplomacy,” said Chad Latz, Burson Cohn & Wolfe Chief Innovation Officer.
“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.”