A report compiled by MHP Communications shows that Facebook is the social media channel least effectively used by departments.
The research also revealed that departments predominantly use social media to broadcast news and information, rather than for broader public engagement campaigns.
Mark Pack, head of digital at MHP Communications, said: 'Social media are fast becoming a big missed opportunity for Whitehall to support its corporate communications. Used more effectively, social media could have a major positive impact on the reputation of Whitehall departments.'
The research ranked the MoJ as the worst department for social media usage, just above the Cabinet Office.
The Department for International Development is ranked top, with 'a relatively strong performance across all three social networks'.
The report also noted that DfID made particularly effective use of Facebook to broadcast news of its projects.
Other strong performers are the Department for Education, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Ministry of Defence.
The research compiled data on the amount of videos uploaded and the number of tweets and posts, alongside the amount and type of engagement from external audiences.
YouTube is used by the majority of departments, but viewer numbers for videos, many of which are professionally produced, are low.
Departments mostly use Twitter in its basic 'broadcast mode', rather than making full use of the platform's opportunities for consumer engagement and mobilisation.
A Ministry of Justice spokesperson said: ‘We are not clear how MHP Communications have come to this conclusion. Their comparison ignores the fact that social media should be used as part of an integrated approach to communications, and that MoJ is focused on targeting its audiences with communications that use the most appropriate mix of channels, rather than just building a broad corporate presence on Twitter, YouTube and Facebook.’
To watch Pack and Charlie Young, a senior consultant at Transform Innovation, discuss the findings in a PRWeek podcast, click here.