In a world of Kim’s and Kanye’s it’s surprising to find that some of the biggest Twitter handles are owned by some of the world’s major leaders. Giving us a glimpse into their jobs and lives, leaders like Barack Obama and Pope Francis have been able to show a more human side and reach millions of people. Barack Obama has over 58 million followers, and Pope Francis has an impressive average of 9000 retweets every time he types out his 140 characters.
Social media use by politicians has become extremely prevalent with a large majority of governments maintaining a social media presence in some form, and there use has lead to some fairly groundbreaking moments, like Hillary Clinton announcing her 2016 presidential bid on Twitter or the up to the minute updates on the Iran talks in Lausanne in 2015. Social media platforms reach a large amount of people, enabling governing bodies, aspiring politicians, and religious leaders to spread their message, and for some, like Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, it comes naturally. For Modi Twitter has been a great way to maintain his popularity and ensure that his government maintains communication with the people. His website says that he “is a firm believer in the power of technology and social media to communicate with people across the world,” and Finnish Prime Minister Alex Stubb tweeted in 2014 about Twitter “I love this place. Best source of info. Great way to stay tuned and communicate”.
Spread Your Wings
The most successful leaders on social media follow a few important key points and they’re ones that anyone looking to increase their social media presence can follow. The more successful world leaders cast a wide net, and that means that they’re not leaving everything to the more conventional Twitter and Facebook. Well aware that social media platforms can change with the direction of the wind, these leaders have accounts on various sites, ensuring that they have up and coming ones covered. After all a new site can mean a new audience. At the same time they have to be careful that what they post on each site refrains from being too repetitive. For example, Barack Obama is present in some form on most social media platforms, but the POTUS has separate accounts for himself, the First Lady, and the White House on various platforms, and Michelle Obama Vine account is one of the most popular on there. In this way Obama extends his circle of influence without inundating and overwhelming followers on all of their accounts.
Who You Are Is Only Part Of It
While it should go without saying that posts need to be compelling a few leaders have made the mistake of thinking that their position alone would be enough for them to gain followers and support online, however most are soon disabused of this notion fairly quickly. Being the head of a country, a company, or a household means nothing if what you say is boring. Sites like Facebook and Twitter make it too easy to go on to something more interesting.
Interact with Followers
One of the more popular Instagram hashtags from a world leader is from Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s #GuessWhere series where he posts photos that he takes from strange angles and asks his followers to guess where they were taken. It invites his people to interact and engage with him on a more personal level, something many would feel unable to do before social media.
To be effective on social media posts must be compelling, and just because you are the Prime Minister or the Pope doesn’t mean that everyone will be interested in what you have to say. And while most succeed in lending the gravitas that their job infers the more posts that are shared the most are the ones that tend to be more human and lend themselves towards more meaningful, human conversation.
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