Australia’s top ten Twitter users

Australia’s top ten Twitter users

What do a former Australian Prime Minister, fashion blogger, professional rugby union player and a charity worker have in common? It sounds like a bad joke, but they’re all amongst Australia’s top 10 most followed Twitter users. Between them they have over 7.9 million followers, have tweeted over 146,000 times and whether it is down to their fame, brand, quality of content or strategy, they continue to grow exponentially.

Now, let me preface this article by saying in this instance, bigger is not always better.  Just because someone has the most followers, doesn’t necessarily equate to them creating the best or most interesting content.  There are many mediums, unethical or not, out there which could help anyone become the Australian with the most followers.  Even you.

So with the introductions out of the way, let’s delve into who Australia’s top Twitter users are and try to understand how they got there and why.

#1 Kevin Rudd (@KRuddMP)

In the lead up to the 2007 Federal election, Kevin Rudd and his team went further than any other previous leaders to project himself as a brand. He represented excitement and energy as an alternative to a Liberal Party who were falling out of favour of the Australian public.  What followed was Australia’s third largest swing at a Federal election of all time.

On social media, he is a juggernaut and continues to lead the way in Australia.  He was the second prominent Australian politician to utilise Twitter after Brendan Nelson, has 208% more Twitter followers than the former Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, and tweets on average five times a day.  He has had conversations with over 2,000 users and utilises the platform to connect with the public very well to appear accessible.

The recent Labor Party leadership spill caused an incredible stir, both in Canberra and online. The Kevin Rudd coup attracted over 5,000 tweets per minute at the height of the spill.  The sentiment for Kevin Rudd on social media was powerful and drummed up online interest and excitement that Tony Abbott could only dream about.  So far, pollsters have been unable to use social media to get clear reading on voter intentions, though political parties find it useful to alert them to trends.

In an effort to reengage with the public in the lead-up to the Federal election, Rudd and his team have recently ramped up their social media presence on Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.  Posting photos of his family, skyping with his granddaughter and meeting the general public of Australia, Rudd’s team have a very strong strategy to allow the people of Australia to get to know him better on both a political and personal level.  There have been some suggestions that many of Rudd’s followers came during 2008 when, as one of Australia’s few verified accounts, received many auto-follows from new users and spam-bots.  Naturally, everyone has a few spam followers, so we will leave you to be the judge of that.

#2 Shane Warne (@warne888)

No matter how many times Shane Warne makes mistakes in his life, the people of Australia still seem to endear him.  Taking illegal drugs, dealing with bookmakers and sexual discriminations are all a part of his indiscretions, but there is still something loveable about the world’s best ever spin bowler.  It would be remiss of me to say that Warne doesn’t have a strategy in place for his social media exploits.  Certainly nothing would be as prepared and documented as a strategy we would help implement for our own clients, but Warne is very good at using Twitter as a medium to promote his own self-interests.

His pokerhis club, cricket teams and foundation all receive widespread promotion to a huge range of people, and his ability to leverage opportunities off other high profile networkers is commendable.  His demi-god status in India after leading his team of underdogs to the inaugural Indian Premier League title and his global standing means he can easily attract an international audience. We certainly would never suggest to our clients to tweet like Shane Warne, but he’s been very successful so far.

#3 Jasmine Curtis-Smith (@jascurtissmith)

Nineteen-year-old Jasmine Curtis-Smith is an Australian-Filipina actress who lists acting alongside dancing, writing, endorsing and modelling as her many talents.  Discovered whilst holidaying in the Philippines as a young girl, Curtis-Smith is now a superstar on television and in film.  Her tweets are multi-lingual, which opens her up to over 95 million Pilipino followers as well as her English speaking fans. Averaging 17 tweets a day and with over 38,000 tweets in total, her sheer volume of content is reaching a large amount of people across the world.  She posts photos of her busy lifestyle and endorses products such as Ray-Bans and Bayo Clothing throughout her feed.

As a young star, she knows how to connect with her fans of a similar age.  She also has a very strong Facebook presence with over 392,000 fans and generates different content on each platform. This is something that’s very important as each of the social media platforms is purposed for different content to reach different audiences.  If we assess Curtis-Smith on her ability to connect with her target audience and keep users interested, then she is doing a very good job.

#4 Russell Crowe (@russellcrowe)

Cue the endless debates about whether or not Russell Crowe is a New Zealander, or one of our own.  Irrespective of his place of birth, he has lived in Australia for long enough over the years for us to claim him as one of our own, despite being rejected for Australian citizenship. The Gladiator and Man of Steel actor has a global appeal but his Twitter stream is often bizarre. Crowe has turned to Twitter to detail each and every detail of his intensive daily workout routines, talk about his UFO sightings and promote his band 30 Odd Foot of Grunt.

Crowe is also part owner of the South Sydney Rabbitohs, and his passion for the club is clear.  He provides positive support for his club whether at the game or overseas and is a passionate fan of other sports, constantly engaging with sports people and celebrities about the latest sporting results.  Creating an unusual link, he has brought Hollywood attention to the working class Sydney club, bringing stars such as Tom Cruise and Snoop Dogg along to home games as well as attracting world class playing talent.

Certainly one to cause controversy in the past, Twitter has now turned into a venting board for Crowe and he hasn’t escaped controversy online either.  There were anti-Semitic comments in the past and a controversial nude photo as recent as last week.  Never one to miss out on the action, Hollywood fans follow Crowe just to see what might happen next.

#5 Mark Webber (@AussieGrit)

Take a hard working, determined man from Queanbeyan and put him on the world’s most popular motor racing circuit and he’ll attract a strong following. From Queanbeyan to Qatar, Webber has lived the glamorous lifestyle of Formula 1 racing and uses his Twitter account to give his followers a behind the scenes view of his home, social and racing life. An outdoor enthusiast, he also uses his account to promote his own Webber Challenge which is a 350km multisport adventure race in Tasmania.

Webber utilises the TwitPic website which publishes images in real time to his Twitter account and also acts as an image hosting website similar to Flickr.  This allows him to reach two networks without having to replicate the content and effort. There are many similar products in the market that provide a similar outcome; Hootsuite and Wildfire to name a few. Whilst these mediums can save time and cost, we are careful to advise our clients that various social media platforms reach different users and can require different content, so an automated approach is not always the answer.  We are more than happy to talk you through the options.

#6 Tim Cahill (@Tim_Cahill)

Another Australian who left our shores at a young age to succeed in one of the world’s great sporting competitions.  Cahill worked hard to make his way into the world’s most watched football competition, the English Premier League. The competition’s global reach, Cahill’s charismatic on-field performances and his dedication to Twitter has allowed him to amass a very large following online.

He constantly thanks his fans for their support and gives encouragement to other Australians and Samoans competing in professional sports around the world. Cahill believes strongly in giving back to the community. He has been heavily involved in supporting the Cancer Council, UNICEF, 1 Goal and the Queensland Flood Disaster Relief and promotes these causes heavily.

#7 Alister Cameron (@alicam)

If there’s a social media platform or blog available on the Internet, chances are Alister Cameron is already on it. A digital media strategist, Cameron currently works as Head of Technology Innovation for World Vision Australia. On his own website, he lists his passion as blogging. He builds blogs, optimises and markets blogs, coaches bloggers, and in the gaps, blogs about blogging.

Cameron would be the only person on the list who could be described as having his own professional strategy mapped out and implemented on a daily basis. His Twitter methodology is to share interesting and engaging content relative to blogging, social media and World Vision which strikes up conversations with his followers.  He is very good at responding to all comments and extending conversations.  If any of our clients wanted an example of a Twitter user at the top of their game, I would have no hesitation pointing them towards @alicam.

#8 Quade Cooper (@QuadeCooper)

Cooper is as unpredictable online as he is on the rugby pitch. In the past, doctors, physicians, lawyers and scientists have worn the gold jersey for Australia. It’s fair to say that Cooper isn’t in the same academic stratosphere as the aforementioned players of the past, but what he lacks in IQ points, he certainly makes up for in fan engagement.

He regularly hosts question and answer sessions with fans and is one of the better celebrities at answering and retweeting fans content. He is famous for organising online games of FIFA (football video game) with his fans and even went as far as organising a match in Perth where he physically went around to a fans house to play him. Then there is also the unpredictable side of Cooper. He has been in trouble a number of times for speaking his mind on Twitter, bagging coaches and tactics. In a world of clichéd statements from sports people, many follow him just to see what might happen next!

#9 Michael Clarke (@MClarke23)

It’s often said being captain of the Australian Cricket Team is the second most powerful and influential position in Australia behind the Prime Minister. Michael Clarke is certainly one of the most dividing characters in the country. Heralded as a future Test captain from the time he was 16, lavished with sponsorships, parking a Ferrari at training and with a model girlfriend on his arm, Clarke was the envy of many around the country who believe he had been given everything on a platter and didn’t have to work for it. Much to his credit, Clarke has transformed himself and his image since taking the captaincy.

If you take a look at his Twitter stream you will see a list of content that toes the Cricket Australia party line; promoting his teams, sponsors, charities alongside motivational quotes and snippets on his movements around the world. Allegedly it was Cricket Australia who set-up his accounts in the first place, and like many others he then became very attached to the medium. The target for Clarke is to get more people watching and supporting cricket as possible and through his publishing efforts he meets that target. Despite being a reluctant public figure, his brand continues to grow.

#10 Julia Gillard (@JuliaGillard)

The first female Prime Minister of Australia is, rightly so, a distinguished figure in the Australian public. Whilst she was in the top office in the country she could not afford to be spending all of her time social networking like some of the others on this list; she had a country to run. To ensure that her work and policies spread far and wide, Ms Gillard enlisted ‘Team JG’ to support her. Tweets ending in ‘JG’ are published by the PM herself, but the large majority ending in ‘Team JG’ are published by her support staff. It is a clever way for the public to easily understand the persona of the content. Developing a persona for your communication is very important and we are always sure to stress that when we undertake communication strategies for our clients.

The majority of her feed contains policy (in 140 characters or less) or photos of her visiting and meeting people around Australia and the world, but she also occasionally personalises her content.  As with political campaigns, her use of Twitter is seen as a way to relate to members of the public as demonstrated by her conversation about music with AFL star Nic Naitanui or her recent Game of Thrones references. Not only do examples like these give a personality insight to her followers, but they also attract media attention. Social media is now such an important medium to reach your customers (in her case, the Australian public) and Julia Gillard and her team do a very good job of not only delivering their message, but also engaging with the public.

#HandleWho Are You?FollowersTweets
1@KRuddMPAustralian Prime Minister1,266,6689,432
2@warne888Former Australian Cricketer1,218,82711,011
3@jascurtissmithActress, Dancer, Endorser, Writer1,202,63238,158
4@russellcroweActor, Rabbitohs Owner1,067,48212,490
5@aussiegritRacing Car Driver694,2781,809
6@Tim_CahillProfessional Football Player533,7205,441
7@alicamHead of Technology, World Vision Australia525,23133,639
8@QuadeCooperProfessional Rugby Union Player507,32330,525
9@MClarke23Australian Cricket Captain480,1721,566
10@JuliaGillardFormer Australian PM410,5072,710

Each week a staff member puts pen to paper to write about an aspect of content communication that speaks to them, and hopefully, informs you. This is a space where our passion for writing, learning and sharing information comes to shine.

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