How The Earth Hour Social Campaign Made a Real Impact

Social media is changing the world in many ways. One of them is by giving nonprofits the ability to reach more and more people. It provides a way for organizers to take local events and amplify their message online globally. Earth Hour, organized by World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), is a great example of a local action going ‘viral’ and spreading across the globe.

Earth Hour is held annually every March. Individuals, organizations and city landmarks are encouraged to turn off their lights for one hour to symbolize their dedication to the planet by combating climate change.

The main goal of this event wasn’t intended to reduce energy consumption, but to start a dialogue about climate change, encouraging participants to make commitments beyond the Hour. What started as a local event by WWF Australia in 2007 quickly grew into a global movement with a real environmental impact.

In the words of Vanessa LimSingh, Digital Engagement Specialist for WWF, “Social media is key for Earth Hour as it’s the fastest and most effective way to reach new audiences, with the help of our supporters. Every post, every hashtag and every tweet helps us spread the #ChangeClimateChange movement to every corner in the world.”

This year, Earth Hour celebrated its 10th anniversary. The event was held on 25 March and had the largest impact both offline and online so far. 187 countries and territories took part and over 3,000 landmarks and monuments switched off their lights in support.

So how did it play out across social media? We looked at the period from March 20 - 26.

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Screenshot taken in Socialbakers Suite

Analyzing the top 5 countries by Twitter mentions, we found that the US and Canada Tweeted the most during the event.

Savvy social media marketers know that the days leading up to an event are crucial for driving awareness. It’s about creating conversations before, during, and after the event itself. It’s important to encourage participation - both online and offline - and maintain the momentum throughout your campaign.


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The Earth Hour team knew this well and were extremely active on social media. Their official Twitter handle was at the center of the action and tweeted 105 posts which received more than 23,800 interactions. What’s more important, @EarthHour got 3,200 mentions from other users during the event.

Social media is like digital word of mouth, and it’s even better if your community is doing the talking for you because it can help your event or cause reach more people.

In this case, other organizations and influencers showed their support by encouraging their fans and followers to join the Earth Hour movement. For instance, the Champions League (with more than 14.6 million fans) and Maroon 5 (13.8 million fans) created the top-performing mentions on Twitter.

On Facebook, Earth Hour’s content strategy worked incredibly well, as they received the lion’s share of interactions in comparison to Twitter and Instagram.


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Earth Hour created a branded Facebook frame to spread the word, and the post announcing its release was their top-performer, receiving more than 65,500 interactions!


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Their content was clearly resonating with communities outside their pages. On the day of the event, supporters flocked to Earth Hour profiles, and their Facebook Page experienced the biggest surge in Fan Growth.


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Earth Hour also used Instagram to spread awareness about their cause. And while just 3% of all their followers are on Instagram, our data show that 18% of their total interactions were accumulated on the platform, proving just how well their content is resonating with their audiences and how loyal their followers are.

One of the most impressive symbols of Earth Hour action are famous landmarks and monuments going dark. Unsurprisingly, these types of posts garnered the most amount of interactions on Instagram, with India’s Lotus Temple receiving more than 1,400.

The Takeaway

The Earth Hour team used a range of social media channels and tools to spread their message even further this year. They made it easy for social media users to participate and show their support for the cause whichever (small or big) way they could, either by simply sharing the post or letting friends know they have donated to the campaign.

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) is coming to Engage Prague on May 17 - 19 to tell their story! Get your ticket today to hear about how they and the likes of Greenpeace, the Stanford Peace Innovation Lab, the Women Leaders of the Americas and more are changing the world through social.

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