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How To Win Friends & Influence People on Twitter: The International Organizations Edition

BY Jessica McKenzie | Tuesday, December 17 2013

A new Twiplomacy study came out last month, and this time the communications firm Burson-Marstellar tackled international organizations. The study found big differences in terms of followers and retweets between the most popular international organizations on Twitter and the average international organization. For example, the European Organization for Nuclear Research (@CERN) and the United Nations Children's Fund led the crowd in terms of retweets, averaging 100 a tweet. The median average of retweets is only four. So what are those organization doing right?

Matthias Lüfkens, the author of the study, told the Guardian that the most successful organizations have a carefully thought out strategy.

"Twitter is about making connections and telling stories," Lüfkens said.

He gives the example of the UN Refugee Agency, which eschews the organization acronym (UNHCR) on Twitter for the more direct @Refugees. In line with their choice of handle, the organization uses the platform to “tell the stories of the refugees they work with."

The World Health Organization (@WHO) is also a leader in terms of retweets (an average of 63 per tweet) and lists (they appear on more than 10,000). Earlier this year they announced that they would be “@Twitter first, web second.”

The Twiplomacy study highlighted the United Nations Development account (@UNDP) for their innovative use of hashtags, creating a unique hashtag for every day of the week: #equalitymonday and #endpovertyfriday, for example.

The Twiplomacy study is neutral in that it provides information on what is working for some organizations, but does not dictatorially decide which tactics work best. Definitely worth a read for anyone looking to maximize their organization's social media impact.

Personal Democracy Media is grateful to the Omidyar Network and the UN Foundation for their generous support of techPresident's WeGov section.

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