Twitter, Facebook and Instagram at the service of peace, rights and well-being

By Dominika Tomaszewska-Mortimer @DL_Mortimer, Press Officer, Social media, @UNGeneva

ungenevaGeneva – the city of peace, rights and well-being, is home to a unique ecosystem of international players, increasingly reflected and represented on social media. The United Nations’ Geneva office, the largest UN hub after headquarters in New York, strives to speak with a unique voice amidst International Geneva’s social media activity. Here are three ways in which we go about it:

  • Knowing our strengths: what kind of content makes @UNGeneva really stand out? With international mediation processes (Syria, Cyprus), the strong concentration of UN humanitarian agencies in the city, and the presence of the UN Human Rights bodies, news is being made in Geneva every day, and broken at the press conferences taking place multiple times a week right here at the UN. United Nations Television produces instantaneous, professional footage of those events for its TV clients around the world – so why not capitalize on this outstanding resource for social?

Our increased emphasis, since mid-2016, on original news videos edited specifically for social has helped increase engagement and accounted for notable follower growth both on Twitter and on Facebook (doubling our Facebook fan base within a year, for instance). The right bite-size clips have to be served up in a very timely manner, which can be a challenge when there’s a lot going on – but the rewards are there, as exemplified by the outstanding engagement our press briefing and Human Rights Council videos are met with. Our audience now regularly looks to us for this kind of news content.

  • Translating from “UN-ese”: how to make sure our audience can relate to the work of Human Rights Treaty bodies? If the announcement of the umpteenth session of a committee or the mention of an International Covenant don’t automatically resonate, we try to deep dive into the subject matter and bring out in our tweets and posts the key human rights that are being discussed, and their impact. Same with putting a human face to International Geneva’s action in favor of the Sustainable Development Goals, for instance, through the #SDGStudio video series.
  • un-geneva-facebook-videos-finalOpening up: UN Geneva’s Director-General, Michael Møller (a huge proponent of social with a successful @UNOG_DG Twitter account of his own), vowed early on in his term to open up UN Geneva’s stately home, the Palais des Nations, to the public. He has made good on his promise by holding an incalculable number of public events at the Palais, from TEDxPlace des Nations sessions, to yoga training events, and an Open Day during which 20,000 visitors entered the Palais. Social has been part of the opening-up efforts, live-tweeting from key events, broadcasting live on Facebook at sports happenings at the Palais or at cultural events such as World Radio Day (with a Facebook live tour of the historic UN Radio studios). Our weekly #TourTuesday posts give us the opportunity to present to the public some of the Palais’ amazing architectural and artistic heritage, dating back to the League of Nations, helping @UNGeneva shine on Instagram. A special social media campaign, highlighting some of those treasures, was conducted to promote the most recent UN Geneva Open Day in October 2017.