World Health Organization (WHO) is the third most followed account among UN agencies on Twitter, with almost 3 million followers. With presence on over 11 different social media networks, WHO is followed by over 7.1 million people across different platforms by the end of May 2016. And for many Twitter users, WHO is the go-to place to learn more about lesser-known diseases or outbreaks.
We spoke to Sari Setiogi, head of media monitoring and social media at WHO, to understand how the foremost global health agency uses Twitter to inform their wider communication strategy, and how it’s helped demystify many health rumours and myths.
Audiense: What’s the makeup of your social media team?
Sari: The team covers social media and media monitoring. We’re a team of three people, including myself. We plan, draft and post contents, as well as continuously looking into the insights to know what works and what works less. We also monitor traditional media, as well as listening to social media as we see a very strong link between the two. For us social media is 99% listening - more about listening than pushing contents. We put a lot of effort into our listening as it enables us to understand what are the current public health concerns, rumours and how we can offer some information from WHO. It also helps us understand how people respond to contents that we tweet and post on other social channels - whether they understand them, whether they like them, etc.
A: Does your team manage all the WHO Twitter handles, including the country-specific ones?
S: Here at the Geneva headquarters, we take care of 11 social media platforms, which includes the @WHO Twitter handle. Our regional and country offices manage their own accounts. However, we work very closely, particularly during a public health emergency that has an international or global impact. For example, during our experience with Nepal Earthquake, we supported our regional office preparing contents and post material to their accounts. We also helped them develop a quick strategy. We’re always here to support them when they request our advice in terms of crises.
We also provide social media coaching for our regional and country offices.