Great meeting the digital leaders from the EU Commission Representations

The newly appointed Digital Leaders in the Representations offices of the European Commission in the Member States came to Brussels for training in early December. This presented a wonderful opportunity to meet colleagues from the Representations and to explore the work of the Digital Leaders. Appointing specialists in the field of digital communication and social media is a very important step to coordinate communication efforts between the main seat of the European Commission in Brussels and understand and deal with national and local issues in the all European Union. The Representations play a major role implementing one of the goal of EU institutional communication which is speking with one voice while being united in diversity. It was a great day and hopefully an experience to repeat.

To know more about what the Representations are already doing on social media, have a look at Representations’ Facebook and Twitter lists

Climate change: from the Lima Conference to the EU commitment – EU at Expo 2015 thematic week on the future of climate

From 01 Decmeber to 12 December, the social media accounts of the EU at Expo 2015 we will be following the development of the “Lima Climate Change Conference” in Peru, which is focusing its attention on issues related to climate change, renewable energies, environmental protection and equal access to resources. The Conference is a cornerstone for commitment to the future of our climate, paving the way to the “United Nations Climate Change Conference” the will be held in Paris next year.

ccEU at Expo 2015 be closely following the further advancements of this debate online and have dedicated a “Thematic Week” on social media, providing an overall communication on the Conference main themes and collecting information from different EU sources: from EU Climate Action to Environment, without forgetting the UN and the official online website of the event. Continue reading “Climate change: from the Lima Conference to the EU commitment – EU at Expo 2015 thematic week on the future of climate”

Twiplomacy is the Bible of social media professionals in international organizations


The Twiplomacy report is par excellence the guide book to the use of institutional tweeting or, as they better put it, it is an annual global study looking at the use of Twitter by heads of state and government and ministers of foreign affairs.

While some heads of state and government continue to amass large followings, foreign ministers have established a virtual diplomatic network by following each other on the social media platform. Here is the executive summary from this great work put up by Matthias Lüfkens and Marek Zaremba-Pike together at Burston Marsteller. I had the pleasure to meet Matthias and Marek at their presentation of the report at BM’s offices in Brussels last July (See video below and my short intervention at 40:57)

For many diplomats Twitter has become a powerful channel for digital diplomacy and 21st century statecraft and not all Twitter exchanges are diplomatic, real world differences are spilling over reflected on Twitter and sometimes end up in hashtag wars.

“I am a firm believer in the power of technology and social media to communicate with people across the world,” India’s new Prime Minister Narendra Modi wrote in his inaugural message on his new website. Within weeks of his election in May 2014, the @NarendraModi account has moved into the top four most followed Twitter accounts of world leaders with close to five million followers.

More than half of the world’s foreign ministers and their institutions are active on the social networking site. Twitter has become an indispensable diplomatic networking and communication tool. As Finnish Prime Minister @AlexStubb wrote in a tweet in March 2014: “Most people who criticize Twitter are often not on it. I love this place. Best source of info. Great way to stay tuned and communicate.”

As of 25 June 2014, the vast majority (83 percent) of the 193 UN member countries have a presence on Twitter. More than two-thirds (68 percent) of all heads of state and heads of government have personal accounts on the social network.

Most Followed World Leaders

Since his election in late May 2014, India’s new Prime Minister @NarendraModi has skyrocketed into fourth place, surpassing the the @WhiteHouse on 25 June 2014 and dropping Turkey’s President Abdullah Gül (@cbabdullahgul) and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (@RT_Erdogan) into sixth and seventh place with more than 4 million followers each.

Modi still has a ways to go to best U.S. President @BarackObama, who tops the world-leader list with a colossal 43.7 million followers, with Pope Francis @Pontifex) with 14 million followers on his nine different language accounts and Indonesia’s President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono @SBYudhoyono, who has more than five million followers and surpassed President Obama’s official administration account @WhiteHouse on 13 February 2014.

In Latin America Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, the President of Argentina @CFKArgentina is slightly ahead of Colombia’s President @JuanManSantos with 2,894,864 and 2,885,752 followers respectively. Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto @EPN, Brazil’s Dilma Rousseff @dilmabr and Venezuela’s @NicolasMaduro complete the Latin American top five, with more than two million followers each.

Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta @UKenyatta is Africa’s most followed president with 457,307 followers, ahead of Rwanda’s @PaulKagame (407,515

followers) and South Africa’s Jacob Zuma (@SAPresident) (325,876 followers).

Turkey’s @Ahmet_Davutoglu is the most followed foreign minister with 1,511,772 followers, ahead of India’s @SushmaSwaraj (1,274,704 followers) and the Foreign Minister of the United Arab Emirates @ABZayed (1,201,364 followers) Continue reading “Twiplomacy is the Bible of social media professionals in international organizations”

Screening Twitter privacy policy


Twitter is now officially sending out emails covering its new privacy policy and terms of service, mainly updating its policy to buy merchandise. The email states Twitter has updated its Terms of Service and Privacy Policy to reflect new features they are testing (starting in the U.S.) to allow users to buy merchandise from some of the most popular names on Twitter, without leaving the Twitter experience. Its Terms of Service update now introduces the terms covering use of its commerce offerings. The new terms also describe Twitter users relationship with merchandise sellers, including their responsibility for order fulfilment, shipping and returns.

The email continues to read: And since you’ll need to provide certain information to make a purchase, such as a credit card number and shipping address, the Privacy Policy update includes new sections on that information. You’ll also see provisions relating to commerce services that we’ll be testing in the future, like special offers you can redeem at select stores using your credit card. Twitter is also updating the Privacy Policy to clarify how other parts of our services work, including: That we may request additional account information to help us prevent spam, fraud or abuse. As well as the broad audiences that receive public user profile information and public Tweets, including search engines, developers and publishers. The types of non-private or non-personal information that is shared with others, including reports to advertisers about the performance of their advertising campaigns.

How Twitter collects certain types of information, including location information (such as through IP address or nearby access points), and information when you install another application through Twitter. Twitter may share data with our corporate affiliates consistent with our respective privacy policies, for example, if you use your Twitter credentials to login to Vine, its short looping video service, or to provide better ads through MoPub, Twitter mobile-focused advertising exchange. (Source Online Social Media Net)

What I can see from their Private Policy is that Twitter basically retains the right to use any information on users’ behaviour even from third parties tools (exactly like Google and Facebook). I suppose this is something we already knew. However it is interesting to have a read through the full policy document. Below I highlighted what Twitter retains (in orange), how they use that information (in blue), how they retrieve it (in green).

One difference with Facebook is that their default settings are almost always to make the information a user provides public for as long as they do not delete it from Twitter, but they generally give you settings to make the information more private if you want.

Twitter instantly connects people everywhere to what’s most meaningful to them. Any registered user can send a Tweet, which is a message of 140 characters or less that is public by default and can include other content like photos, videos, and links to other websites.

This Privacy Policy describes how and when Twitter collects, uses and shares your information when you use our Services. Twitter receives your information through our various websites, SMS, APIs, email notifications, applications, buttons, widgets, ads, and commerce services (the “Services” or “Twitter“) and from our partners and other third parties. For example, you send us information when you use Twitter from our website, post or receive Tweets via SMS, or access Twitter from an application such as Twitter for Mac, Twitter for Android or TweetDeck. When using any of our Services you consent to the collection, transfer, manipulation, storage, disclosure and other uses of your information as described in this Privacy Policy. Irrespective of which country you reside in or supply information from, you authorize Twitter to use your information in the United States and any other country where Twitter operates.

If you have any questions or comments about this Privacy Policy, please contact privacy@twitter.com or here.

Information Collection and Use

Basic Account Information: When you create or reconfigure a Twitter account, you provide some personal information, such as your name, username, password, and email address. In some cases, you may be required to provide your phone number, for example, to use Twitter via SMS or to help us prevent spam, fraud, or abuse. Your name and username are listed publicly on our Services, including on your profile page and in search results. Some Services, such as search and public user profiles, do not require registration.

Additional Information: You may provide us with profile information to make public, such as a short biography, your location, your website, or a picture. You may provide information to customize your account, such as a cell phone number for the delivery of SMS messages. We may use your contact information to send you information about our Services or to market to you. You may use your account settings to unsubscribe from notifications from Twitter. You may also unsubscribe by following the instructions contained within the notification or the instructions on our website. We may use your contact information to help others find your Twitter account, including through third-party services and client applications.Your privacy settings control whether others can find you by your email address or cell phone number. You may choose to upload your address book so that we can help you find Twitter users you know or help other Twitter users find you. We may later make suggestions to you and other users on Twitter based on imported address book contacts. You can delete your imported address book contacts from Twitter at any time. If you email us, we may keep your message, email address and contact information to respond to your request. If you connect your Twitter account to your account on another service in order to cross-post between Twitter and that service, the other service may send us your registration or profile information on that service and other information that you authorize. This information enables cross-posting, helps us improve the Services, and is deleted from Twitter within a few weeks of your disconnecting from Twitter your account on the other service. Learn more here. Providing the additional information described in this section is entirely optional. Continue reading “Screening Twitter privacy policy”

Some always useful social media stats


I have been doing some research into the European and worldwide use of some social media and I thought it would be good to share these small research. Almost all sources should be listed below. Don’t hesitate to contact me if you see anything missing. Crowd-sourcing and feedback is always appreciated. I thank Pablo Perez for his cooperation on this.

Social Media generic stats

  • 155.800 active social network users in Europe: This is like the full capacity of 1000 Camp Nou+ 1000 Wembley Stadiums+500 Croke Park+500 Stade de France and…250 Giusseppe Meazza’s OR 2million more than the entire population of Europe at the beginning of the 20th century (year 1900-291 millions)
  • 798.000 active social media users in Europe accessing social media on mobile devices – More than the population of  Austria +Belgium +Bulgaria +Croatia + Cyprus +Czech Republic +Denmark +Estonia +Finland +Greece +Hungary +Ireland +Latvia +Lithuania +Luxembourg +Malta +Netherlands +Poland +Portugal +Romania +Slovakia +Slovenia +Sweden =189 millions
  • 1.025.340.015 active mobile subscriptions
  • 39% of people living in FR, UK and Benelux use mobile social
  • 40% of the European population uses social media (56% in the EU)Active social usersSocial media penetration

See more in the report from We Are Social

Worldwide

  • 72% of all internet users are now active on social media
  • 18-29 year olds have an 89% usage
  • The 30-49 bracket sits at 72%
  • 60 percent of 50 to 60 year olds are active on social media

Continue reading “Some always useful social media stats”

A few lessons from #Engagorday


This article was also published on the European Commission’s Digital Team Blog

Engagor Day is an event for all Engagor users and partners which took place in Ghent on May 8th, 2014 at the Eskimofabriek. The goal is to keep them updated on the latest feature additions and everything that is coming up. In other words, the Engagor Roadmap. Moreover, active Engagor users, such as NMBS/SNCB and Thomas Cook UK, presented practical business cases to inspire and inform their fellow users.

Capture

Among the introductory presentations and case studies that were discussed, I particularly enjoyed the contribution from NMBS/SNCB. Jean-Marie Hoffelinck (Advisor Online Communications) and Kim Castro (Community Manager) shared the story about the launch of their public transport company on social in 2013 and how they executed this exciting challenge. NMBS/SNCB is the Belgian national railway operator and autonomous government company formed in 1926. Like all public transport companies, NMBS relies heavily on customer care servicing around 850,000 daily travelers and dealing with a whopping 10,000 tweets per month.

WHAT TRIGGERED NMBS/SNCB TO GO ‘SOCIAL’?

Being one of the first customers of Engagor, NMBS started monitoring back in 2011 to get a better grip on how, when, and where people were talking about the company on social. The volume and type of questions were especially important to get a better sense of the social media landscape. To support their launch in 2013, they realized they had to put a great amount of effort into finding the right team and company ambassadors to fall back on.

Opting for Twitter to establish an extensive social media presence was an obvious choice:

  • NMBS relies heavily on real-time communication. At NMBS, it’s all about context. In public transport, a tweet is often only relevant for 30 minutes.In terms of crisis management, NMBS dedicates all of their efforts to replying in a timely manner and proactively updating travelers with relevant information.
  • NMBS needs to solve travelers’ problems within an instant. For example, when someone tweets, “My train looks rather dirty today,” it’s in their best interest to act on it immediately.
  • NMBS wants to continuously improve customer care and give an accurate explanation as to why things went right/ wrong.

One of the most important starting points was a Belgian crisis which affirmed the importance of real-time communication. In 2011, the @stationschefBMO account was created after disaster struck at the Belgian Pukkelpop festival during a severe thunderstorm. This incident proved Twitter was the perfect medium to inform people when all other means of communication (calling, text messages, etc.) were being cut off.

CaptureMobile, and more importantly, social are great means to provide support in real-time. From that point onwards, they really started noticing the significant success of @stationschefBMO (a personal account belonging to one of their employees). It caught their attention because of the positive impact it had on their image spreading some positive vibes for their company in the social sphere.

Due to snowy weather on March 12th, 2013, train traffic was completely down in Belgium leaving hundreds of people stranded in trains and all the other travelers without any means to get to their destination. The country was plunged into a state of complete chaos, and thousands of tweets flooded the Twitter account of NMBS in just one day.

After the disaster, they realized that “it really takes a challenging crisis before you can solve something” and knew they needed to properly utilize tools to better serve customer complaints, feedback, and sentiment. This was another really important factor that forced them to take action and be prepared for any scenario.

In their presentation, the guys from NMBS presented 5 main recommendations from their experience:

1. Be active where your audience is
Before jumping into social media, determine when your audience wants your brand to be active. This way the community managers of NMBS are available in the right time frame, from 6 am to 10 pm, to provide customer care. During that time period, two people (Dutch & French speaking) are responsible for all the replying.

2. Operate with single points of contact (SPOCS) and detailed procedures
One really important thing NMBS learned is to find and involve internal specialists (or ambassadors) before the launch. What can you learn from them? How will they benefit your social media strategy? The next step is to create internal procedures for following up on a multitude of different questions, complaints, situations, etc. (FAQ’s). Refer your customers to your own existing channels. It’s crucial to direct them to your web pages, applications, etc. with links to cater for short, yet smooth replies.

3. Strive for simplicity in handling mentions
NMBS uses only one SPOC and handles every mention on this account. NMBS really stresses on the fact that you shouldn’t look at how your company and team is organized internally when structuring your social profiles. Creating accounts is striving for simplicity, and if necessary, create only one single account or SPOC.

4. Understand and learn the language of your customers
The monitoring phase of NMBS in 2011 was crucial to help them better understand the type of questions they would encounter, and more in detail, understand/learn the language of their customers. Knowing what the customer expects from you is necessary to translate your own internal, and often complex, jargon into a language customers can easily grasp.

5. Great people make up for great social agents
At NMBS, it’s all about identifying the strengths of the company. No company is perfect and there’s no point in covering up your mistakes. Train your social media team to always reply as a human first. NMBS used a specific training phrase for their social media agents to fall back on: “I’m a person at the NMBS/SNCB and I’m going to help you the best I can”. This motto makes it clear to continuously act as human beings, unafraid to acknowledge that you don’t always have access to the right answers immediately. However, you will do the best you can to ensure smooth replies.

UPDATE – #Talkdigital blogging competition: you could be a speaker at EuroPCom 2014!

The recent European elections have been an excellent opportunity to reflect on the direction we want the EU to take. So we have a question for you – how do you think the EU could better communicate with citizens digitally? If you could suggest one big thing about European digital communication what would that be?

Share your ideas in this blogging competition! The winning idea will be published on this blog and the author will be invited to speak at EuroPCom2014. You can submit your entry until 15 June 2014.

Send your entry by email to the Commission’s social media team with the subject “#TALKDIGITAL BLOGGING COMPETITION” or leave us a comment to this post. Continue reading “UPDATE – #Talkdigital blogging competition: you could be a speaker at EuroPCom 2014!”

What happened on social media during the European elections


I spent the weekend looking at what people have been saying about the European elections. I’m quite sleepless but I want to share some of my findings with you before I leave for holidays tomorrow. In the middle of the day I was asked to send some comments about social media and the elections to Radio X (Brussels) for a programme they recorded with communications experts on the topic. Since I couldn’t write an extensive comment I took my phone and made a video comment.

This data is factual and the opinions expressed here do not reflect the position of my employer. Overall, I have collected and analysed over 1.2 million social media mentions related to the European elections. Most of these mentions were collected via Twitter, blogs and public Facebook posts. The pan-European hashtag for the elections #EP2014 was used over 583K times between 22/05 and 26/05 at 7:00AM on Twitter which is a pretty impressive result and went very close to my predictions ahead of the elections

European_elections_2014_social_media

In order to provide some context, in the past 30 days we could record roughly the same amount of mentions for #EP2014 and #Ukraine. European_elections_2014_social_media Most used words together with #EP2014 European_elections_2014_social_mediaDemographics of #EP2014 The biggest volumes of conversations were recorded in France, Italy, Spain and the UK. The most used languages recorded were English (29%), Spanish (21.7%), French(19%) and Italian (10.3%) European_elections_2014_social_media Continue reading “What happened on social media during the European elections”

What happened during Schulz’s #AskMartin chat on social media


On May 19 at 12:30AM candidate President for the European Commission Martin Schulz hosted a chat livestreamed via SPD.de  and collecting questions via the hashtag #AskMartin

For such a short institutional/political chat, and the timing (lunch time around most Europe) the volume of conversations was significant with over 1.700 tweets using #AskMartin posted on 19/05 (until 5PM). Most questions were serious but there were obviously provocative questions, funny ones (like the one below) and open criticism. Nothing out of the ordinary. Continue reading “What happened during Schulz’s #AskMartin chat on social media”