On 17 June – the Queen’s official birthday – the British Embassy in Minsk uploaded a one minute video of Ambassador Fionna Gibb dancing to the bagpipes with her kilted partner under Union Flag bunting. It was captioned “It’s time for dancing! Ambassador Fionna Gibb sets the tone at the Queen’s Birthday Party. #QBPMinsk2017”. The video was effective in simultaneously promoting Britain’s monarchy, culture, and politics while also demonstrating the nation’s playful sense of humour.
Facebook was the right platform in ensuring this video reached its target audience: Belarusians with an interest in British culture and the British Royal Family. The Royal Family’s social media following is strongest on Facebook and this post was much more likely to be watched and shared here than on other platforms.
The British Royal Family has a uniquely strong global brand and contributes significantly to the nation’s soft power reserves. This post consciously sought to capitalise on their popularity, albeit in a slightly unusual way. It also played into Britain’s spirited and humorous side, which thanks to characters much-loved like Mr Bean and Monty Python, is recognised around the world.
The post was viewed more than 3,100 times. This is impressive given that the Embassy’s Facebook page currently has 7,885 followers. It was also nice to see an Ambassador present themselves in a less formal and serious light. The video exposed a side of diplomats we don’t regularly see, and used humour and fun to promote a laid back image of the Embassy, the Ambassador and by extension, Britain.
- Countries (and diplomatic missions) shouldn’t be afraid to show their playful sides
- Confounding expectations often leads to digital diplomacy success
- Find less conventional means of commemorating national celebrations