The 2022 World Urban Forum almost didn’t happen, due to the Ukrainian refugee crisis that Poland was dealing with at the time. So, we were brought in fairly late to assist with the social media strategy and management as well as provide design, photography and planning support.
The World Urban Forum was established in 2001 by UN-Habitat, a branch of the United Nations dedicated to building sustainable and inclusive cities. The purpose of the event is to turn attention to one of the world's most pressing issues today: rapid urbanisation and the impacts on communities, cities, climate change, economies and policies.
The 2022 World Urban Forum almost didn’t happen. At least not in June when it was planned.
The host country, Poland, was struggling with the influx of refugees due to the Ukraine crisis. There were talks of postponing the event. But two months before the scheduled date, a decision was made that it would go ahead.
This was when we were engaged to assist with the social media strategy and management as well as design work.
The team at UN headquarters were managing 12 different social media accounts without a unified social media management tool. Previously, they would have to schedule their work platform by platform, in some cases having to sign in and out of them.
And when you take into account the often required two-factor authentication or the passing of security measures to log in... As you can imagine, this was a time-consuming process.
Naturally, the first thing we did was introduce a social media management platform. After a thorough analysis of all the platforms available, HootSuite suited best due to the number of accounts the team was managing.
We provided training to the social media teams and interns to assist in the transition. Once everyone was comfortable with the platform, it was time to fill it with content.
Hootsuite worked fine but ended up being difficult when dealing with multiple brands and account types: World Urban Forum, UN-Habitat English, UN-Habitat French, UN-Habitat Executive Director and so on. So later, we switched to Loomly to have a better overview of the content calendar for each "brand" or organisation as well as responsibilities and content types we were working with.
We continued the work we had started with the UN to promote the New Urban Agenda at the General Assembly in New York. We created designs and templates to promote the event for internal and external use.
It included quotes, prominent speakers attending the World Urban Forum, interesting statistics, and carousels featuring four to six graphics that shared stories or explanations on topics.
We created a process for the social media management team to use these templates, gather information, process them, and churn out high-quality output. It wasn’t just about posting links. It was about establishing a design process that was well thought out.
We also created a calendar featuring the different strands of works and the activities expected at the World Urban Form. Everyone involved participated and got on board with the new way of producing content.
As part of the design process, we made the most of the graphic assets to create a unified visual style that could be replicated across platforms. Our team also contributed with ideas of our own. One included the Urban Champions, which showcased cities that are ahead of others due to having an established sustainability plan. We also provided videography and editing support when it was required.
The result was a massive uplift in reach and engagement. On Facebook, likes went from averaging 10-20 to 50-60 per post. On LinkedIn, which was already performing well, likes were in the hundreds, and dozens of comments were left.
What was even more promising was the confirmed attendance for the World Urban Forum. There were initial concerns that only 5000 people would attend. Two weeks before the event, 10,000 were locked in. By the end of the registration, 13,000 had signed up. Combined with the 9000 people who streamed it online, it exceeded all expectations and was a great testament to the teamwork involved in promoting the event.
We continued to provide social media management and support at the World Urban Forum.
We helped schedule media, capture photos, shoot videos, and extract clips from live streams to create social media posts. Everything from the event went on to outperform previous content.
Our team stepped in to help when there were coordination issues too. When photographers couldn’t get dispatched, we took photos. Our videographers also produced daily recaps and filmed the closing ceremony. We gathered footage and reviewed copy to ensure they would have the most significant impact possible on social media.
With the World Urban Forum over for another year, Restless Stories and the United Nations social media teams are reviewing what worked and what’s next. Plans for communications and marketing have already begun, and it should be no surprise that everyone is aiming higher.
Every single member of the team is excited about the future based on how far we’ve come. We're also ecstatic about being part of the team.
Together, we’ll be shooting for the stars. If we fail, at least we know we reached the moon.
If your non-profit or charity is in need of social media management services, get in touch with us for an informal chat.
You can also sign up for Digital Hour. It’s a one-hour free digital marketing consultation designed to help charities, social enterprises and purpose-driven organisations. Contact us here to claim your free digital hour.
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