WHO

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10,770,383

Twitter followers

0.01%

Twitter engagement

142,065

Monthly growth in 2022

4,875

Average posts per year

569

Average likes per post

250

Retweets per tweet

WHO Leads the Way

WHO’s growth in 2020

To truly tell the story of the WHO’s influence in 2022, we need to trace its rise through the pandemic. 

In March 2020, as the world woke up to the COVID-19 emergency and many countries entered lockdown, the World Health Organisation’s follower numbers on Twitter matched the exponential growth of the pandemic. Three key reasons led to this massive spike in a time of unprecedented crisis – a need for trustworthy information, moves  to globally coordinate the response  global response, and the search for clear consistent guidance from a credible source.

WHO average growth per month 

During 2020, the WHO Twitter account added 1.4 million followers at an average of 310,000 per month. This is a drastic increase from 2018 and 2019 when the WHO increased its average follower base at approximately 35,000 per month.

 

Since then, the WHO’s expanded followership has shown no signs of waning, remaining significantly higher than pre-pandemic levels and pointing to a sustained increase in influence for the World Health Organisation on Twitter.

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Taking a deep dive into WHO’s content, we can see that it shares an engaging range of highly visual video content, featuring data storytelling and live broadcasts alongside authoritative articles.

The global health leader maintains a clear content strategy (the planning, development and management of posts) underpinned by clear content pillars (topics and themes the account posts on), and a blend of strategic and news-driven storytelling. For example, its Twitter feed not only drives conversation around major COVID-19 announcements, but also shines a spotlight on key dates such as International Women’s Day, hosts live briefings with senior leaders around critical issues and highlights employee video entries from the epicentre of various crises around the globe.

However, we found clear content strategies with clear content pillars across all the organisations in the top five, so it does not seem to be WHO’s content mix per se that makes it stand out. Although the WHO ranks number one for average likes per post and retweets per post, this can be attributed to its comparably high follower base.

A better comparison metric is to look at their engagement rate, which factors in their followers too. WHO’s average engagement rate stands at 0.01%, which is considered ‘good’ for an account of this size. Nearly 70% of Twitter accounts of a similar make up (size, post frequency, etc), perform at the same level. WHO’s prominence on Twitter can also be attributed to its strong community-building strategy. 

For example, the WHO’s global Twitter channel interacts and collaborates closely with its network of 61 WHO accounts, which regularly tag and cross-promote one another. UNICEF deploys a similar cross-promotion strategy and its network of 135 local office Twitter accounts appear to have even greater clout. 

Where WHO has gone further has been its proactive, capacity - building response to help combat the infodemic associated with the COVID-19 crisis. The WHO has leveraged its Twitter channel to share access to virtual training and resources designed to combat misinformation at community, local, national and transnational levels. 

In turn, this has brought the account into conversation with and promotion by leading voices from global health and academia, earning the account influential mentions, such as from Yale University Public Health Professor Saad Omer. WHO’s creation of shareable assets, including iconic memes distributed via its newslet-ters and social channels, have in turn encouraged wider sharing and engagement.

In turn, this has brought the account into conversation with and promotion by leading voices from global health and academia, earning the account influential mentions, such as from Yale University Public Health Professor Saad Omer. WHO’s creation of shareable assets, including iconic memes distributed via its newslet-ters and social channels, have in turn encouraged wider sharing and engagement.

Engaged followers are helping WHO to outperform its historic standing on Twitter, but in influence alone it is the WHO’s sheer size of following recruited during the pandemic that matters most. What remains to be seen is how WHO can make use of this influence as the COVID-19 crisis transitions to the new normal.

UNICEF

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