How #UniteForParkinsons is a masterclass in user-generated content

Kirsty Marrins
Digital communications specialist
16 Apr 2018

User-generated content is gold dust for charities but how can you get supporters to create their own content for your campaign? Wednesday 11th April was World Parkinson’s Day and Parkinson’s UK, along with their supporters, took over Twitter with the #UniteForParkinsons hashtag. We spoke to Kat Cimetta, Senior Digital Marketing Officer (social) at Parkinson’s UK, about the campaign.

What is #UniteForParkinsons?

#UniteForParkinsons is a global campaign community, launched by Parkinson’s UK and the European Parkinson’s Disease Association, that aims to raise awareness and understanding of Parkinson’s. Last year people from 90 countries used the #UniteForParkinsons hashtag so in 2018 we wanted to make an even bigger noise.

The campaign

The purpose of our campaign was to show what living with Parkinson’s is truly like so we asked people with Parkinson’s all over the world to submit videos ahead of the day. The brief was:

  • to be honest, brave and real
  • to show that Parkinson’s is much more than just a tremor.

We received so many fantastic submissions and Mike South, our Audio Visual Manager, then stitched these together to create our hero film:

We also used impactful submissions in our paid and organic campaign activity to create excitement ahead of the campaign launch.

User-generated Content

One of the great things about #UniteForParkinsons is that it encourages people affected by Parkinson’s to share their own experiences, through social media. Here’s a selection of some #UniteForParkinsons posts.

Emma Lawton is a digital strategist here at Parkinson’s UK and was diagnosed with the condition five years ago when she was just 29 years old. Emma has vlogged every day for a year about living with Parkinson’s and her last vlog was, fittingly, on World Parkinson’s Day.

The results

One thing we’re most proud of is that our hero film really was created by people living with the condition and they decided what this campaign would tell the world. Through the power of their storytelling on the day we achieved the following results:

  • #UniteForParkinsons was trending throughout the day on the 11th in the UK and it was one of the three most used hashtags by MPs – even Jeremy Corbyn tweeted and shared the campaign video.
  • There were 16k uses of the hashtag #UniteForParkinsons globally from the 10th April to 12th April (and rising!).
  • 199 countries visited the campaign website (19 more than last year).
  • Our hero film has reached over 187k people on Facebook alone with 7,716 reactions and shares.
  • Our media team managed to pull off an amazing 24-hour media marathon on World Parkinson’s Day which kept the message circulating in the press and online for 24 hours.

We are delighted with the success of the campaign. Check out our Twitter Moment of all the highlights.

What did you think of #UniteForParkinsons? Tweet us at @lightful.

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