Government of Croatia in 2015 named as the most prolific government on Twitter in Europe

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New Twiplomacy Study voted Croatian Government (@VladaRH) as the most prolific government on Twitter in Europe and 2nd most communicative government in the world

The new Twiplomacy study 2015 is out. According to data in the study, Croatian government is again one of the most active and communicative government on Twitter.

In the light of this sucess, Twiplomacy asked several foreign ministries and governments to answer some questions about their #DigitalDiplomacy. Here’s a guest post from the Croatian Government.

How big is your social media footprint?

Croatia, particularly The Government, is very active on Twitter, currently counting over 60,000 followers, 42 tweets per day and increasing rapidly. In addition, we have a strong presence via the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, EU Commissioner Mimica, two heads of missions and several spokespersons in ministries. The Government is also very active on Facebook (daily posts and direct communication with citizens), InstagramYouTubeFlickrScribdSoundcloud

How big is your social media team?

We are the Fantastic Five :) and we work every day, even on holidays, weekends, and Christmas Eve… During the week we do it in two shifts until 10pm, even on Saturday evening our admin is typing tweets and communicating. We strongly believe there is no other way – social media has no working hours and no free days. If you want to be present, with social media it is almost 24/7. With the key ingredient – passion.

What are your main objectives and challenges?

Our main objective is to open dialog with citizens about the government’s policies, to raise awareness and incite engagement. We also regularly give information that can be useful to citizens and with time, have become the reference point for their inquiries. It is often that people don’t know something, or where to find information, so they say: let’s ask Government on Twitter! We try to answer most of their questions.

Dialog on social media often means dealing with haters and good discussion can often be clouded by angry and malicious people. And that is all right, we invite all sorts of comments, as long it is not offensive to anybody or the language used is not insulting.

Often the biggest hurdle is time. Or better say the lack of it. Not enough time to answer all questions or to address all topics.

This year is extra challenging because it is the election year in Croatia, people are more critical and often good and positive information is perceived as propaganda.

What is the key achievement you are most proud of?

We are the most proud of our role and that we were able to help during the big floods in the eastern parts of Croatia during the spring 2014. For almost three weeks, we were tweeting constantly about the situation in the affected areas, help that was needed, instructions for the people involved, how to send help in food and clothes, donate money, warned about infections and diseases… In three shifts, we were working almost until 2am in the morning and had no sleep. But it was worth it, our work actually made a difference and people were coming to us to get the latest and accurate information.

In terms of our work, we were very proud to be named the most prolific and communicative government on Twitter by Twiplomacy. Also, we are regularly the account with most @replies, which doesn’t just matter in terms of statistics, but mostly in thank you tweets from our followers.

What advice would you give to other governments to make a lasting impact on Twitter?

  • Start tweeting, but not just for the sake of it

If everybody is doing it, it doesn’t mean you have to do it. If it is trendy and modern, it might not work for you.

  • If you decide to do it, do it right

Know what your objectives are and have a strategy. Gather up a good team and invest in their education and expertise. Take your time; it is a marathon, not a sprint.

  • Don’t just transmit the information, listen

What is the buzz about, what are people talking about? Include @ and don’t forget #. Reply, reply, reply. Don’t be afraid to ask the question, but be prepared for all types of answers.

  • It is a two way communication, so dive in

Know and connect with your audience and influencers – create lists. Engage and call your followers to action. Remember the question or comment a month ago and answer it when you have the info – it will be much appreciated. Congratulate Independence Day to other governments or presidents.

  • If you are an administration, it doesn’t mean you have to communicate like one

You are a human, not a robot. Write tweets you would personally like to read and RT. Spice it all up, shake it and stir it. And don’t forget a power of a good photo.

  • Be respectful

Answer thank you, even to an angry tweet. If you like it – click Favorite or RT, follow the ones that follow you. Don’t forget there is a person behind @ and picture.

  • Be timely, not lazy

Twitter is now, in the moment, not when press release is out. Instead of just RT (boring), quote and comment, ask questions.

  • Have fun

Make jokes, yes, governments can do April Fools’ Day jokes on Twitter. And use a lot of J. Not all content has to be “serious”, why not inform your followers that Game of Thrones is being filmed in the beautiful city of Dubrovnik?

  • Give the power to the people

Don’t try to control everything, let people talk for you. Allow them to tell their story and use it to amplify your message.

The Croatian Government regularly tweets casual tweets, like an April Fools’ announcement about a new minister of culture, or a tweet telling their followers to enjoy the weekend with a YouTube playlist that the Online Communications Department was listening at the moment.

By Ivana Ivanković (@IvaIva), Head of the Online Communications Department at Prime Minister’s Office at Government of the Republic of Croatia (@VladaRH)
Full blog post can be found on Twiplomacy Blog, and study can be viewed on: