World Leaders on Periscope 2016

Periscope coverLike other new and popular social media platforms, Periscope has captured the essence of “discovering the world through someone else’s eyes”. Although broadcasting live from a mobile device is not new, Periscope, an app owned by Twitter, has made it far easier to communicate directly with your followers and read their comments in real time.

The new-found popularity of live streaming, which was cemented by Facebook’s recent live broadcasting function, started in 2008. At that time, the Qik software allowed you to stream live video from your Nokia cell phone and see the live comments on the tiny screen. Other platforms such as Livestream and YouTube offered live broadcasting features in 2008 and 2010, respectively and, in May 2013, Google+ introduced Hangouts on Air, allowing people to broadcasting any event in high definition with live interaction by viewers via video or text.

The Periscope app, launched on March 26, 2015, makes the process much easier and allows users to alert their entire Twitter community about the live broadcast.

Periscope - Brussels AttackPeriscope, which has more than 10 million registered users and claims more than 200 million broadcasts after only one year in operation, has become the go-to social network for breaking news.=.

During the terrorist attacks at Brussels airport on March 22, 2016, traditional broadcast journalists flocked to Periscope to find live- streamed videos and first-hand reports of the aftermath of the blasts.

Over the past year, 93 governments and world leaders have downloaded the app, representing a third of all UN member countries. Sixty-two governments and world leaders have gone live from a mobile device and 31 governments have taken the initial step of setting up a channel, primarily to reserve their name.

Periscope is working on a solution to save the broadcasts for eternity and since May 5, 2016 you can save your the broadcast using the hashtag #save in the title. The defining feature of Periscope, arguably one of its major drawbacks, is that the broadcasts disappear after only 24 hours and it’s necessary to save and upload the recording to another video platform for it to be available for posterity.

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto has the most followed Periscope channel, with more than 90,000 followers, after having only posted six live broadcasts in the summer of 2015. The White House is in second place with 81,000 followers and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff is in third place with 76,000 followers.

French President François Hollande and Jordan’s Queen Rania complete the top five list of the most followed accounts, but neither have yet gone live on their personal accounts and have no hearts to show.

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the UK government, the Russian Foreign Ministry , Canada’s Justin Trudeau and the French Elysée Palace complete the Top 10 list of the most followed accounts.

Periscope WhiteHouse 00Latin American leaders seem to be the most active on Periscope and you can often catch broadcasts of speeches and statements from Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, the Mexican Presidency, Mexico’s Foreign Minister Claudia Ruiz Massieu, as well as the government of Puerto Rico.

The presidency of Paraguay has the highest engagement rate on its Periscope channel. The channel has a double-digit engagement rate of 11 percent, when dividing the number of likes by its 467 followers.

The White House inaugurated its Periscope channel with a live broadcast of Pope Francis arriving for an official visit to the United States on September 22, 2015. More than 11,000 viewers tuned in to watch the Pope greeting the Obama family on the tarmac of Andrews Air Force Base in Washington D.C., and the Periscope account gained 3,800 followers in the process. However, the White House has not gone live since, only promoting several Q&A sessions with presidential advisor Valerie Jarrett on her own Periscope channel.

The White House channel also has become the most liked Periscope channel, collecting almost a quarter of a million likes during its papal broadcast. To like a broadcast, viewers simply tap the screen of their mobile devices and the likes fly into the picture in the form of hearts from the bottom right hand side.Periscope DilmaBR 00

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff is in second place with more than 350,000 hearts for her 33 live broadcasts. Her social media team has perfected the art of broadcasting, positioning the mobile device close to the speaker in order to have better audio.

So far world leaders have used Periscope mainly to broadcast press conferences and speeches. The Presidency of Paraguay consistently scopes all of its press conferences and the Russian Foreign Ministry broadcasts the weekly press briefing of spokeswoman Maria Zakharova.
Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has received almost 100,000 hearts on his three live broadcasts from his swearing-in ceremony on November 4, 2015 and from his press conference with Barack Obama in the Rose Garden of the White House on March 10, 2016. Periscope MID_RF 00The British government went live when David Cameron made his first speech in front of 10 Downing Street after his re-election on May 8, 2015. His most recent post was the lighting of the Christmas tree on December 13, 2015, which he also shared on Vine.

Periscope Elysee 09However, no world leader has yet taken any questions via Periscope or organized a live Q&A session in which to answer questions popping up directly on the Periscope screen.

By default, comments on Periscope are open and so anyone can interact and leave a comment unless the stream is too full. Several recent broadcasts by the French President, who was among the first to use the platform in January 2015, were deluged by negative comments and insults and the social media reporter was kept busy blocking overly offensive users. The French President’s critics then switched tactics and flooded the live broadcast with useless comments, effectively blocking out most of the video feed and rendering the broadcast virtually useless. Periscope users can limit the comment function to allow only comments from users they follow on Twitter before going live. However, the French presidency’s social media team has decided to leave comments open on future broadcasts, in particular given that broadcasts disappear after 24 hours.

Five Steps to Go Live

  • Download the Periscope app and register with your Twitter account
  • Open the app, click on the broadcast icon and describe your broadcast
  • Leave comments open or restrict them
  • Tap on the Twitter bird to post your broadcast on Twitter
  • Tap on “Start your broadcast” to go live.

Periscope - Presidencia_HN Quality 01Remember your first image will be the default cover shot and make sure to have optimal sound and video quality, or viewers will almost certainly complain. The Presidency of Honduras was swamped with comments about the poor abysmal video quality during a broadcast of the arrival of Columbian President Juan Manuel Santos.

Within minutes, you can expect to see viewers watching the broadcast live. Obviously, the more followers someone has on Twitter, the greater the chance of attracting viewers. Some viewers will show appreciation in the form of hearts, others will comment on your broadcast in real time. Don’t ignore questions that are posted into the broadcast. Instead, be sure to address them and say hello.

In a nutshell, Periscope offers the perfect conversational tool, best suited for unscripted live Q&A sessions with your viewers and followers.

Periscope’s aim is to build the “closest thing to teleportation.” For many governments it is currently the best and most cost effective way to transmit live broadcasts of their activities.

About this Study

World Leaders on Periscope is Burson-Marsteller’s latest research into how world leaders, governments and international organizations communicate via social media. The research builds on Burson-Marsteller’s highly acclaimed annual Twiplomacy study, now in its fifth year. Initially focused solely on Twitter, the 2016 study has been expanded to other social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and more niche digital diplomacy platforms such as Snapchat, LinkedIn, Google+ and Vine.

Burson-Marsteller has identified a total of Periscope channels of governments and world leaders. Data was collected on April 22, 2016 and the full Excel data table can be downloaded here.

Thank you to Matthias Lüfkens for his ongoing strategic guidance on Twiplomacy and the World Leaders on Social Media series.

May 2016

World Leaders on Vine 2016

Executive Summary

Twiplomacy Vine Cover PictureTwiplomacy Vine - 10 Most Followed World LeadersWith Vine probably the most difficult social network to master and maintain, it is no wonder that very few governments are using it. Vine videos are only six seconds long and they loop, making editing an essential attribute of a good Vine.
Vines are essentially the video equivalent of a tweet, and often too short for meaningful one-line political statements. However, it is amazing what stories you can tell in six seconds either in animated infographics or stop-motion video format. Some of the most popular Vine stars have amassed millions of followers and billions of loops with their skits.

Burson-Marsteller’s research team has identified 47 Vine channels of governments and world leaders, 11 of which are inactive and have never posted a Vine. Seventeen channels have been dormant for more than a year, and only 19 channels are active on a regular basis.

In 2013 and 2014, some governments have used Vine for quick, one-line statements. For example, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has posted only one Vine, inviting his followers for a Twitter chat, and U.S. President Barack Obama encouraged the U.S. soccer team on the White House channel during the FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

Twiplomacy Vine - 10 Most Watched World LeadersThe White House has, by far, the most followed Vine channel, with 458,000 followers, almost 10 times as many as Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff in second position. The UK government, the State Department and UK Prime Minister David Cameron complete the top five list, however Cameron’s channel is inactive and he has never actually posted any Vine videos.

Twiplomacy Vine - 10 Most Active World LeadersThe 108 Vines produced by the White House have been viewed 125 million times, three times that of the 280 Vines on the Elysée channel of the French Presidency. The German Foreign Ministry is in third position in terms of total number of loops, ahead of the Brazilian President and the UK government.

The French Presidency is the most active governmental channel on Vine having produced 280 Vine videos ahead of the European Commission and the White House with 143 and 108 Vines respectively.


Governmental Vine Stars

First Lady Michelle Obama is the Vine star of the White House channel. Her “Turnip for what” Vine with DJ Snake and Lil Jon’s song “Turn Down for What” in the background has become a viral hit with close to 50 million loops since 14 October 2014.

She has recently re-edited the piece with National Basketball Association star Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors. The second most popular video on the channel also features Michelle Obama promoting her favorite fall vegetable, the sweet potato, with more than 10 million loops.

In October 2015, Michelle Obama invited a group of the world’s most popular Viners to the White House, including Lele Pons, King Bach and Jérôme Jarre – who had a blast judging from their Vines, which were re-vined by the White House channel and have clocked up more than 60 million loops.


The Elysée Palace has made Vine an essential part of the presidential digital communication, professionalizing the shooting and editing of their Vines. The French Presidency often splits the screen combining two or more video scenes in each Vine including a caption on blue background. Vines are produced to summarize the activities of the French President.

Vine - Elysee Flag at halfmastSadly, the most watched Vines of the Elysée Palace is the meeting of the Defense council in the wake of the Paris attacks in November 2015, as well as the lowering of the French flag and start of three days of mourning for the victims. Both Vines have garnered more than 10 million loops each.

Vine - Elysee Obama PutinThe third most watched video of the French presidency is the impromptu meeting between Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the 70th D-Day celebrations on 6 June 2014 in Normandy.

Many governments have used Vine as a video tool to report on the activities of their leaders either in meetings, or during official receptions, an example being the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry which Vines the arrival of official visitors to Vilnius. Vine - Lithuania MFA ArrivalsThe now dormant Matignon channel, named after the French Prime Minister’s residence, boasts 27 Vines videos of red carpet arrivals of world leaders, the last one being the handover between outgoing Prime Minister Jean Marc Ayrault and his successor Manuel Valls on April 1, 2014.

Vine is the perfect channel for short form news items such as the decoration of the Christmas tree in Vilnius, Lithuania, or the lighting of the Christmas tree in front of 10 Downing Street. Government Vine communication have also featured flags being lowered in honor of Nelson Mandela in London and in Paris on 6 December 2013. The UK Foreign Office made a strong political statement with a Vine showing the flag of the Falklands’ Islands flying over the Foreign Office in remembrance of the British liberation of the islands in 1982.

Vine - Number10gov FlypastThe most watched Vine of the UK government is a flypast of the Red Arrows over Westminster in honor of visiting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2015; the second most popular is a flypast of the same planes during the NATO Summit in Wales in 2014.

Vine - Number10gov Economic PlanThe UK government went a step further, creating a six-second animation attempting to explain the UK’s #LongTermEconomicPlan.

The government of Monaco has even posted a Vine of models on a catwalk during the Monaco Fashion week. However, since the advent of native videos on Twitter and Periscope, Vine is less used as a reporting channel.


Six Second Storytelling

Twiplomacy Vine - 10 Most Effective World LeadersThe German Foreign Ministry is the most effective government institution on Vine, garnering an average of 2,400 loops per follower. The Elysee Palace is almost as effective with its videos, far ahead of the White House and the French government channel.

The German Foreign Ministry has used Vine creatively to support its national football team during the World Cup in Brazil in 2014. Before every crucial match, Foreign Minister Frank Walter Steinmeier recorded a Vine video playing table footie, kicking the ball and gathering his staff to cheer on the Mannschaft. The four videos clocked up a total of 4.8 million views.

Vine - Auswaertiges Amt Steinmeier Vine - Auswaertiges Amt Steinmeier kick Vine - Auswaertiges Amt 2014

However it is a one shot pan of snow in the courtyard of the foreign ministry in Berlin on January 6, 2016 which has become the most viewed Vine of the German Foreign Ministry’s channel with more than four million loops and the hashtag #SnowCialMedia. By comparison, a similar Vine of the snow-covered square in front of the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry in Vilnius only received a few thousand views.

In March 2015, The UK Foreign Office produced a hilarious series of skits on what not to do with your passport. The professionally edited videos explained that the passport is not a notepad, nor a beermat and that you should neither swim with it, or wash it and definitely not microwave it afterwards.

Vine - ForeignOffice Passport Notepad Vine - ForeignOffice Passport Beermat Vine - ForeignOffice Passport Swim Vine - ForeignOffice Passport Wash Vine - ForeignOffice Passport Microwave

Lastly, the French Foreign Ministry produced what must be the best low-budget, home-made stop motion animation and has become its most watched Vine, a conversation between two Ferrero Rocher chocolate balls who are sick of not being invited to the annual ambassadors’ conference in Paris.Vine - FranceDiplo Ferrero

10 Tips for the Perfect Vine

  • Have a rough plan of what and how you will be filming.
  • Hold the camera steady, or use a tripod.
  • Don’t zoom or pan, it rarely works on mobile devices.
  • Vary the shots: close-up, medium and wide. Note: Close-ups work best.
  • There are few one shot wonders, so edit your Vine!
  • Film several Vines, save them to the camera roll and re-import the best shots.
  • Rejig the scenes to tell a story.
  • Vines loop, hence the first shot must be totally different than the last.
  • Put your strongest shot first, it will be your video cover.
  • For more tips & tricks and how to put sound on your Vine don’t hesitate to contact us.

About this Study

World Leaders on Vine is Burson-Marsteller’s latest research into how world leaders, governments and international organizations communicate via social media. The research builds on Burson-Marsteller’s highly acclaimed annual Twiplomacy study, now in its fifth year. Initially focused solely on Twitter, the 2016 study has been expanded to other social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and more niche digital diplomacy platforms such as Snapchat, LinkedIn, Google+ and Vine.

Burson-Marsteller has identified a total of 47 Vine channels, most of which have been verified by Twitter and carry a green verification mark. Only 19 of these channels are active and the rest are either dormant for more than a year, or have never posted a Vine. Data was collected on April 6, 2016 and the full Excel data table can be downloaded here.

Thank you to Matthias Lüfkens for his ongoing strategic guidance on Twiplomacy and the World Leaders on Social Media series.

April 2016

The Top 10 Historic Tweets from our leaders

The 10 most historic tweets from world leaders over the past decade #Twitter10Years

Top 20 Digital Diplomacy Moments of 2015

The top 20 #DigitalDiplomacy moments of 2015. From the #Charlie Hebdo shooting to the #COP21 agreement.

Tweets from the #G20 Summit in Turkey

Obama-Putin Meeting at G20 in TurkeyOne of the most exciting ways to watch international summits in the digital age is to follow the leaders online and to monitor their posts on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and even Periscope.

Turkey is the first G20 presidency to have set up a digital dashboard at, even ranking the G20 leaders according to their Klout scores. Guess who topped that list and who is last…

Since the G20 Summit in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 2009 each host country traditionally maintains a bespoke Twitter profile for the meeting. From the @G20blog in Pittsburgh to the Australian government’s @G20Australia Twitter handle, the organizers tend to share statements and pictures of the leaders’ meetings.

The Turkish government has created an overwhelming array of G20 summit accounts ranging from the official Twitter handle @G20Turkiye2015 to specific handles for the @B20 business summit, the media (@G20SummitMedia), civil society engagement (@C20Turkey), climate action (@G20Climate), Think Tanks (@T20turkey), women (@W20Turkey) and youth (@Y20Turkey). This online communication frenzy might be bewildering but shows how important the digital sphere has become for summit communication with everyone wanting to have a voice at the digital table.

Obviously these official accounts tweet their fair share of boring handshake pictures as leaders arrived for the summit, but it is worth following the Twitter activity of the G20 participants to find that nugget, that picture, which will make headlines and maybe define the meeting.

The most memorable tweet from the summit in Antalya was a picture of the private tête-à-tête between President Barack Obama and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin captured by Svetlana Lukash, the Russian G20 sherpa. On the other hand Canada’s new Prime Minister was celebrated like a rock star and many participants were trying to take a selfie with Justin Trudeau.

The beauty of these ‘tweets from our leaders’ is that they give us a glimpse of their discussions and open the meetings to a global audience without any intermediaries. Obviously they don’t live tweet their private discussions or give away summit secrets, however if you follow the right people you can learn a lot about what is going on behind the scenes.

From the tweets of one of the sherpas we also already learned, that the final communique was wrapped up before the Antalya summit even started and that it would contain a strong condemnation of terrorism in the wake of the Paris attacks.

In 2016 China will take over the G20 presidency, notably the only country without an official presence on any of the social media platforms. We will have to see whether we can expect the same openness to digital communications coming out of the summit in Hangzhou. Maybe 2016 will be the year, China embraces digital diplomacy and digital communication. Some of its embassies are already active on Twitter and Facebook.

Here is a collection of the most memorable #G20Turkey tweets