We have asked several foreign ministries to answer some questions about their #DigitalDiplomacy. Here’s a guest post from the Foreign Ministry of Ukraine.
Which is/are your preferred social media channel(s) and why?
As you may know, the Revolution of Dignity in Ukraine (2013-2014) began with a post on Facebook, so there is no doubt that social media is one of our most important communication tools. Currently the Ministry of Foreign affairs of Ukraine is active on 11 social media platforms. Twitter and Facebook accounts were set up in 2010, YouTube in 2012. Since the beginning of the mandate of Minister Pavlo Klimkin in 2014 our digital diplomacy has been consistently enhanced and developed. The Minister personally is highly engaged on social media and considers it as an important way of communication. He held the first ever in Ukrainian civil service Twitter-Interview, Reddit QA session and even meeting with his Twitter followers.
— MFA of Ukraine (@MFA_Ukraine) April 3, 2016
Since 2014 we have created Instagram (2014), Vkontakte (2014), Storify (2014), Google+ (2015), Vine (2015) accounts and our 3 blogs Medium, WordPress, Blogger (2015). Ukrainian diplomatic missions expanded their online activity and now nearly 90 embassies and consulates are present on Facebook and Twitter.
— MFA of Ukraine (@MFA_Ukraine) October 26, 2015
We love Twitter for its speed and information content. Recently we have had nearly 2,000 new followers per month with currently a total of more than 63,000, so it is definitely our most dynamic channel. On Twitter news is updated every second so we have to work 24/7 to give timely travel advice, consular help, spread political messages or inform about situation in Ukraine.
Minister Klimkin delivers the most important messages and shares his views on his own account @PavloKlimkin (176,000 followers). We also have a list of official speakers who are entitled to give comments on behalf of the Ministry. They altogether have more than 20,000 readers.
We like Facebook for a unique chance to engage with our followers: we receive the majority of questions and comments on social media via Facebook. Recently our Directorate General for Consular Service has launched its own Facebook page to provide our citizens with travel advice, consular assistance and answer questions in real time. In emergency situations we always update travel recommendations for Ukrainian citizens and publish emergency contacts of Ukrainian Embassies and MFA’s hotline.
Our key goal on social media is not only to inform about important recent developments in Ukraine, but also to interact with our readers and engage the audience. That is why we have launched a number of Facebook-oriented social media campaigns to bring the Ministry closer to people.
We take advantage of different channels to reach our target audience. That is why in 2014 we set up our account on the Russian social media network VKontakte. So in 2014 we decided to make an experiment and try to reach a Russian audience and our page has more than 33,600 followers. So here is one of the most important social media tips from the MFA of Ukraine: be inventive, don’t be afraid to try something new.
Please share an example of your best campaign/engagement on social media.
To succeed on social media – be creative, carry out insightful campaigns
Over the past two years we have launched many different campaigns. But there are some special ones:
- International online campaign #MyUkraineIs aimed at promoting Ukraine abroad
We asked our followers on social media to share their views and to tell what Ukraine means to them.
— MFA of Ukraine (@MFA_Ukraine) December 7, 2015
The website www.myukraineis.org allows users to add content by themselves. Anyone may share information about Ukraine and outstanding Ukrainians online using the “Add your story” button. The best suggestions are considered by experts and if approved, added to the website to tell the world about Ukraine in an exciting way.
- As the Ministry of Foreign Affairs we have a double task: to reach both the foreign and domestic audiences. To increase engagement with the latter we started #BeEuropean campaign aiming to tell Ukrainians more about life, work and rest in European countries.
We invited our friends and colleagues to join this project and to share stories on what surprised and impressed them the most in European countries or write about their volunteer experience, healthy lifestyle or anything else that may be a good example of #BeEuropean.
We want to change our country for the better, but changes in a state cannot occur immediately and without changes in the people’s consciousness. So as a first step, we try to change ourselves and to inspire people around us to make good small changes in daily life.
- One of our brightest campaigns is #SelfieWithFlag. We decided to hold it to celebrate the Day of National Flag of Ukraine (August 23). So we just published a post with the motto “Gonna travel abroad? Take Ukrainian flag!” and invited all Ukrainians and friends of Ukraine abroad to take a selfie with the Ukrainian flag near a famous tourist attraction abroad, add the hashtag #SelfieWithFlag and publish the photo on social media. We received more nearly 200 wonderful photos from all over the world and were impressed how people over the globe are ready to engage in social media campaigns.
— MFA of Ukraine (@MFA_Ukraine) August 22, 2015
How do you measure success on social media?
Analyze, monitor and implement
The first thing is the built-in analytics on social media accounts. And we believe it is really a good tool to understand how your audience got interested with your project, what was perceived well and what was left unnoticed. The second tool which we use during some campaigns is monitoring of media coverage. For instance, to measure the success of our #MyUkraineIs online campaign we monitor the number of publications in media as well as dynamics of visits to the website of the project and statistics of new facts about Ukraine generated by users. The third tool to measure success is to monitor how words are translated into deeds in real life:
Our two major online campaigns in support of Ukrainian citizens who are illegally detained by the Russian Federation – #LetMyPeopleGo and #FreeSavchenko – are run in cooperation with NGOs, activists, volunteers and Ukrainians abroad.
— Pavlo Klimkin (@PavloKlimkin) September 8, 2015
— MFA of Ukraine (@MFA_Ukraine) September 7, 2015
What is extremely important is that these campaigns do not stay within the scope of online platforms, they turn into real deeds and actions. It is easy to make people like a post or retweet, but it is much more difficult to make them translate their words or emotions from social media into real life. That is why when we see thousands of people around the globe going out on the streets and urging Russia to free Ukrainian political prisoners, we can estimate the real results of these social media campaigns.
— MFA of Ukraine (@MFA_Ukraine) September 28, 2015