Thursday, June 16, 2011

Top Embassy Facebook Pages – 10,000+ Fan Club

The State Department maintains 248 Facebook pages with a total of 2,424,191 fans.  The following ranking is based on  the stats from the Office of Innovation Dashboard (thanks Darren!). Excluded from the list are American Centers, IRCs and other groups not directly managed by embassies/consulates. US Embassy Jakarta Facebook, #1 in the list below is #2 in the State Department's Top Ten Pages.  US Embassy LaPaz, #2 in the ranking below is #10 in the State Department's Top Ten Pages (includes non-embassy pages).

I cannot tell off hand which post/mission has a dedicated social media team. In a majority of cases, I understand that new media outreach is performed as collateral duties by the FSNs and FSOs in the Public Affairs Section. It is time intensive and performed in addition to demands by the traditional media and other work requirements of the section. Other posts have hired locals as new media staff, but I'm not sure which ones below have that extra help.



#
Post
Number of Fans
Bureau
1*
323,720
EAP
2*
37,428
WHA
3
35,247
EAP
4
35,208
SCA
5
32,486
NEA
6
32,310
WHA
7
30,002
SCA
8
27,742
EAP
9
23,328
WHA
10
20,580
SCA
11
18,614
AF
12
18,565
SCA
13
17,402
WHA
14
17,401
WHA
15
16,219
WHA
16
15,315
EUR
17
13,720
WHA
18
13,268
SCA
19
11,921
WHA
20
11,508
WHA
21
10,594
NEA
22
10,403
AF


* Between Dhaka and Bridgetown above should be US Embassy Nepal (SCA) whose FB page currently has 12,491 fans (thanks Heather!).  See notes below.

I should note that US ConGen Lahore and Karachi have now been in the Dashboard's top "movers" in the last several months. Each has been raking in fans and one or the other may soon dislodge US Embassy Sri Lanka  as #1 FB page in the SCA region.  Embassy Islamabad, trailing both in fandom is also running an FB logo contest, dangling an Apple Ipod Nano and an invitation to a U.S. Embassy official event as prizes.

ConGen Lahore ran "top fan" and "old is gold" competitions, and also a series on the "old is gold" theme including Duke Ellington performance in Lahore in 1963 and the Apollo 17 Astronauts visit to Pakistan in 1973.

ConGen Karachi engages with its fans actively and has been quite liberal with sharing photos of its official activities. It is also running a contest allowing its fans to pick the consulate's profile photo in FB. It has 450 votes and counting. Below is the leading pick:

Consul General William Martin, Cultural Affairs Officer Sue, and
Information Officer Andie with Public Affairs Team
at Jinnah's Tomb Karachi
US Embassy Bridgetown FB seems quite a popular destination for visa inquiries. Although it refuses to answer visa inquiries posted on its wall, it provides a discussion forum for its fans.

US Embassy Paris FB, the only EUR post to make it to the 10,000+ fan club will not be running a profile photo contest; it already has one with Ambassador Rivkin and President Obama.

US Embassy Baghdad FB is the only war zone post that made it to this list.  It is mostly in Arabic so besides seeing that it's continuing with its "window" series, I can't tell much what's going on there.  Embassies in Tripoli, Kabul, and Mexico are also in Facebook with varying levels of foreign public engagements.

Of course, I need not point out that the WHA posts dominate this fandom list. But my brain refuses to translate today. So go ahead and check out each mission using the links above.


Updated @1:33 pm EST:

I was told that a 3:1 ratio of LES:FSO in field PAS sections actually log-in regularly to engage foreign publics. 

Heather of Adventures Around the World, currently posted in Kathmandu points out that US Embassy Nepal has over 12,000 fans in Facebook. The omission was unintentional; I based my list on the Dashboard, which identifies 22 sites and a total of 175,952 fans in the SCA region.  US Embassy Nepal FB has been left out of the Dashboard. I have added the stats above.    

Updated @ 10:01 pm PST
Okay, so I was told by mothership-type person about that 3:1 ratio of LES:FSO in field PAS sections who "actually log-in regularly to engage foreign publics." The source of this ratio is supposedly a recently conducted survey, in-house, of course, among social media community managers in the field.  I have requested to see the survey and the results including the metrics used, if any by the State Department to measure engagement (besides fan numbers, that is).

After hours, I've received more than one question on that 3:1 ratio of FSNs and FSOs working the new media gig. From the same folks reportedly surveyed I was told, "don't know where that 3:1 ratio for LES (FSNs) and FSOs came from," with my correspondents insisting that 3:1 is not at all accurate citing examples when that ratio is 1:1.  One says that it is "vital to have Americans actively engaged, as one of the purposes of the page is people-to-people interaction between Americans and a foreign audience." And I agree, which also brings into question FB pages that are primarily in foreign languages instead of English. I mean, it is good if American officers do show that they know the host country's language in their online engagement, but some of State's FB pages are not even in English, while others are bilingual, with English as the minority language in the official FB posts.

At one point, USIS centers were everywhere; but the programs were in English for the most part.  In the case of US Embassy Jakarta FB which is run mostly in the local language, I am under the impression that the online engagement is primarily done by its local staff. Where is the American face there?

Another correspondent questions the uneven quality of the Facebook pages and moans the emphasis placed on number of FB fans rather than on the basics -- good photos, engaging stories, effective outreach events, etc.  and of course, results.  If you have 50,000 FB fans, what does that mean in the real world? Are we winning hearts and minds online?

I understand the frustration, but unfortunately, the fan numbers are the easiest to dig up.  I am looking for other metrics that State is using to measure engagement and effectivity effectiveness of Facebook pages beyond number of fans. I will update if I hear from anyone.



5 comments:

Heather said...

US Embassy Kathmandu's Facebook page has 12,400 fans.

Domani Spero said...

Thanks Heather! I have updated my post. Kathmandu PAS may want to contact Darren so post is included in the Dashboard.

Darren Krape said...

@Heather I went ahead and added Kathmandu to the dashboard, sorry about the omission.

@Domani Thanks for the shout-out!

Pink said...

Don't forget Mission India! We have 37,499 followers country-wide (15,231 in Delhi, 13,147 in Mumbai, 4,639 in Chennai, 3,676 in Hyderabad, and our newest site in Kolkata with 806).

Domani Spero said...

Pink, thanks for the comment. Both Delhi and Mumbai are run out of the American Center/Corner, which I have purposely excluded from the list. List only includes embassy/consulate FB since they are primarily run by FSO/FSNs in PAS.