@India, living in China: Burson-Marsteller finds out

16 Nov,2012

By A Correspondent


When everything else, or so it seems, is “Made in China”, why should India’s Twitter handle not originate from there? The fact that it has not happened by design is – or should be – a source of embarrassment for the Incredible India peddlers, for this is a strange fact unearthed by Burson-Marsteller – that the @India account is owned by an Indian person living in Guangzhou, China.


The public relations and communications firm has 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.


In the case of @India, the account owner shares pictures from his daily life and has made it clear that his Twitter handle is not for sale. With respect to other social media channels, India is one of just 19 YouTube channels owned by the tourism office.


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 Twitter accounts of @AntiguaBarbuda, @Barbados, @Lithuania, the @Maldives, @SouthAfrica, and @Spain are run by their respective official tourism organisations 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 organisations 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 Twiter 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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