India is yet to wake up to the country-branding opportunity presented by Twitter, according to a recent Burson Martseller study on ‘Twiplomacy’. Of the 193 United Nations member states, only nine had their country’s names as their Twitter handles, the study showed.
The study said the ‘@India’ account was owned by an Indian in Guangzhou, China. The owner of this account has clarified his Twitter handle isn’t for sale. Countries that have extensively used Twitter for promoting themselves include Britain, Israel and Sweden.
“Looking at the findings, it becomes clear few governments and tourism organisations have understood the power of country branding and marketing on Twitter,” said Matthias Lufkens, 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,” Lufkens added.
The Twitter accounts of Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Lithuania, Maldives, South Africa and Spain are run by their respective official tourism organisations. However, three of the five country accounts are protected, dormant, inactive or suspended, while about half of the 71 active accounts tweet automated news feed, broadcasting news, the study said.