Switzerland: Senior Social Media Officer

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Mar 082018

Organization: UN High Commissioner for Refugees
Country: Switzerland
Closing date: 15 Mar 2018


The Senior Social Media Officer (P4) plays a lead role in developing and executing UNHCR’s social media strategy with an eye to strengthening engagement with key audiences in support of UNHCR’s operational, advocacy, media and fundraising objectives. This entails developing sophisticated plans to leverage social media content, platforms, networks and partners in line with the key priorities and audiences for the Division of External Relations (DER). In making these judgments, the incumbent will report directly to the Chief of Section, Content Production, and work closely with the Chief of Section, News and Media, and the Head of the Global Desk (New York) under the overall leadership of the Head, Communications and Public Information Service/ Spokesperson for the High Commissioner.

This role includes directly managing the global English social media managers; working closely with the rest of the Content Production Section, the News and Media Section and other teams across DER; and coordinating with all other relevant actors across the organization, including field-based PI and social media managers for other languages and within country and regional offices. The incumbent will also build relationships with the social media platforms themselves (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snap, etc.) and with social media editors at leading news and media organizations, helping to secure external placement of UNHCR content and enhance coverage of UNHCR’s work and the plight of refugees.
The incumbent will also lead the development and refinement of UNHCR’s global social media presence, ensuring that our accounts are structured and used in ways that are effective at engaging target audiences and that an appropriate social media crisis communications protocol is in place to address and avert potentially damaging conversations about UNHCR. This includes strengthening coordination and editorial planning among UNHCR social media managers around the globe to support media relations, advocacy, awareness-raising and fundraising objectives as well as strengthening analytics to inform the social media strategy and work-plans. The incumbent will also lead the development of social media guidelines and training for staff, helping them to use their personal accounts appropriately and effectively to communicate about refugees and UNHCR.


  • UNHCR has a social media strategy that advances the organization”s broader communications goals and maximizes engagement with priority audiences.
  • UNHCR’s social media content is developed and managed in line with UNHCR’s strategic objectives targeting clearly defined audiences, i.e. news media, influencers, targeted public demographics, governments, private donors, persons of concern, etc.
  • UNHCR produces effective, innovative and strategic cutting-edge social media content and campaigns to inform and engage external audiences.
  • Responsibility
  • Establish, through a clear consultative process, a social media strategy for UNHCR that focuses on DER’s primary audiences (news media, targeted public audiences, donors, host countries, etc.) and includes a forward-looking assessment of UNHCR’s global social media presence; outline resources needed, expected outputs and clear implementation plans for proposed changes.
  • In accordance with DER’s communications objectives, drive production of high-impact social media content that effectively informs and engages external audiences and supports media and advocacy campaigns.
  • Provide vision and leadership for the use of UNHCR’s core social media accounts (notably the global English accounts on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.) and supporting the Digital Engagement Section and Private Sector Partnerships with regard to social media marketing.
  • Manage, according to clear principles, access to UNHCR’s core social media accounts, ensuring their security and accountability.
  • Develop, in collaboration with the News and Media Section and other key stakeholders in DER, an appropriate social media crisis communications protocol to address and avert potentially damaging conversations about UNHCR.
  • Establish and nurture relationships within global media partners (including news organizations, social media companies and relevant technology leaders) to strengthen UNHCR’s social media content and help it reach a wide audience.
  • Develop, in collaboration with the News and Media Section and other key stakeholders in UNHCR, guidance on the use of social media in the context of new emergencies to help UNHCR provide credible, real-time information that supports media and fundraising objectives.
  • Participate in relevant professional meetings and events to build active relationships across the industry; represent the organization externally when required.
  • Coordinate and manage strategic consolidation of UNHCR social media accounts and update, as needed, UNHCR’s guidance for staff use of social media.
  • In cooperation with the Strategic Communications Section, ensure high-level message and branding consistency in social media content and platforms.
  • Establish clear performance and measurement metrics for all social media accounts and campaigns to effectively inform results-based decision making and to monitor and drive the effective use of resources.
  • Support and help shape clear social media guidelines, advice and training programmes to support the production and sharing of high-impact social media content by staff performing various external relations functions.
  • Authority
  • Decide on and enforce UNHCR’s social media strategy.
  • Decide on social media content for UNHCR’s core social media accounts and platforms reaching different target communities.
  • Oversee development and distribution of social media content, including UNHCR’s social media presence.
  • Allocate resources required to implement UNHCR’s social media strategy within the delegated authority.


  • Graduate degree (equivalent of a Master’s) in journalism, communications, English, international relations, or related field plus minimum 8 years of relevant work experience in progressively responsible functions producing, editing and disseminating multimedia content for international audiences. 
  • Undergraduate degree (equivalent of a BA/BS) plus 9 years or Doctorate degree (equivalent of a PhD) plus 7 years of previous relevant work experience may also be accepted. 
  •  Minimum 5 years developing, managing and evaluating social media platforms for public engagement and communications, at least three of them in an international context. 
  •  Sophisticated understanding of the social media landscape, including trends in new tools and platforms, and particularly those gaining traction among news companies and international organizations. 
  •  Established relationships with social media editors at leading news and media organizations who can be called on to help share UNHCR content.
  • Proven track record in managing large social media accounts (over 250,000 followers, and ideally over 1 million followers), including advanced knowledge and experience with strategy, posting, influencers and evaluation. 
  • Experience managing reputational risk on social media, ideally through the development of a crisis communications protocol. 
  • Demonstrated ability to write and edit social media posts to a standard high enough for immediate publication. 
  •  Experience using advanced tools for social media publishing, monitoring and marketing, such as SocialFlow, Hootsuite, Sprout Social, or Radian6 Buddy Media Social Studio. 
  •  Experience producing and interpreting social media analytics to inform strategy and work plans. 
  • Experience developing, launching and evaluating social media campaigns. 
  •  Proven experience in delivery of social media content and engagement in support of media relations, public awareness, advocacy and fundraising goals. 
  • Substantial experience of working in sensitive and fast-moving news, communications, advocacy and/or fundraising contexts. 
  • Strong diplomatic skills, highly developed political skills and judgment, understanding of UNHCR’s external relationships, solid grasp of the news business, and ability to discern when the organization’s credibility is at stake. 
  • Fluency in English. 
  • Working knowledge of another relevant UN language (preferably French).


  • Experience and understanding of the role of brand in building audience.
  • Experience and knowledge of the principles of organizational change management.
  • Experience training and advising senior leadership to use social media.
  • Experience working in an international non-profit context, or ability to demonstrate experience of an equivalent working context that required delivery of both financial and non-financial objectives.

How to apply:

Interested candidates should apply on the UNHCR Career Page/international vacancies section here:

Deadline for applications: 15 March 2018 (midnight Geneva time).

The UNHCR workforce consists of many diverse nationalities, cultures, languages and opinions. UNHCR seeks to sustain and strengthen this diversity to ensure equal opportunities as well as an inclusive working environment for its entire workforce. Applications are encouraged from all qualified candidates without distinction on grounds of race, colour, sex, national origin, age, religion, disability, sexual orientation and gender identity.

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