On November 22, the United Nations building in New York turned into the world’s largest Twitter timeline.
Part of a campaign supporting World Humanitarian Day, the real-time timeline was the result of people tweeting their ideas of what the world needs. Each Tweet — featuring the hashtag #theworldneedsmore along with a one-word response with that hashtag in front (e.g. #education, #love) — unlocked $1 from sponsoring brands and brought awareness of the need for humanitarian aid in countries like the Philippines.
According to Topsy, more than 46,500 Tweets with #theworldneedsmore were sent in the days leading up to and just after the event, some of which were streamed on the side of UN headquarters that evening.
“With this campaign we wanted to get people a step closer to action via the simple premise: the more you ‘talk’ on Twitter in support of the campaign, the more funds are raised,” said David Ohana, head of film and special projects for the UN Office for the Coordination of Human Affairs.
Some strategies the @UN used for a successful Twitter campaign:
Center the campaign around hashtags
The name #theworldneedsmore is itself a hashtag; it’s also an incomplete thought begging to be completed. It was up to visitors to fill in the blank on Twitter using a hashtag from a pre-determined set of words on the World Humanitarian Day website.
People were asked to tweet what #theworldneedsmore of from a list of sponsored words to unlock the dollar. For instance, music producer and DJ @davidguetta sponsored the word #love, Gucci donated for #strength and Western Union gave for #education.
“We wanted to show that words, often the most powerful currency people have, can now have even more impact,” Ohana said.
Enlist top talent to support your efforts
The UN partnered with David Guetta, whose “One Voice” music video incorporated the #theworldneedsmore hashtag and hashtagged responses.
In addition, the World Humanitarian Day website prompted people to tweet what #theworldneedsmore of and, in turn, unlock David Guetta music and humanitarian funds.
The site also offered this YouTube video of Guetta meeting UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon before streaming two hours’ worth of Tweets on the side of its building. The next day, @UN used Storify to showcase the previous night’s events.
Meanwhile, @davidguetta tweeted out a call to action, asking people to send a Tweet and follow the live stream. His sponsored word proved to be greater than the sum of its four letters when projected onto the 39-story building.
Do you know of other innovative uses of Twitter? Write to firstname.lastname@example.org.