The Singapore government is effectively using social media to engage its citizens – Emplifi’s Varun Sharma explains why it is a natural channel for public sector communications.

Social media has revolutionised the way we interact with the world, providing unparalleled connectivity and access to information. It has transformed how we live, learn, work and play. Social media platforms empower businesses to engage with clients in real time and deliver personalised experiences.

Similarly, social media has become an important channel for the public sector, helping government agencies keep citizens informed on issues that concern them. Emplifi’s 2022 Singapore Government Performance Benchmark report highlights the Singaporean government’s use of social media channels to promote campaigns, increase citizen engagement and enhance safety. It analyses data from the 2022 calendar year, evaluates the performance of 16 ministries and 27 statutory boards across various social media platforms, and provides marketers with insights to increase engagement and drive growth.

Platform engagement insights

Report findings indicate that the Singaporean government is effectively using social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to interact with citizens and address various issues such as mental health, floods, public transportation, COVID-19 vaccinations and more.

Instagram is the preferred platform for statutory boards and ministries. The platform is highly visual, so posts need to be visually attractive to succeed. A tactic to drive engagement is to use Reels for updates and events as this showcases the brand’s personality. Instagram Reels is also the most popular content format, with 35% higher engagement compared to other formats, followed by carousels, video and images. While Facebook had a high engagement rate of 49.48%, it is still a 16% decrease from the previous year.

One of the campaigns that performed well on social media is the Land Transport Authority’s #ThereRailBeMore campaign on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube. The LTA shared photos, videos and livestreams on the progress of the Cross Island Line and Thomson-East Coast Line. By consistently sharing new content and providing regular updates, the LTA was able to keep the audience engaged by fostering a sense of involvement which helped to build a loyal following.

The use of videos in social media has grown significantly in popularity across various platforms due to its ability to capture and hold audience attention. The Health Promotion Board (HPB) was the top-performing government body on YouTube and five of its videos were in the top 10 videos. The HPB’s ‘It’s OKAY to Reach Out’ mental health and mental well-being campaign used animated videos to illustrate stories of individuals reaching out for support to overcome mental health issues.

Throughout the year, brand content dominated government profiles, accounting for 58.64% of all content and generating 97.72% of interactions. Replies accounted for 42.2% of cumulative content, followed by shares (32.84%) and posts (24.96%).

Social media for customer service

Customer expectations have evolved with rapid digitalisation during the pandemic and changing consumer trends. To succeed and remain relevant on social media, organisations need to meet their audience where they want to engage with brands, whether this is purchasing goods, receiving customer support or asking questions. This is just as relevant for government bodies as social media is an ideal channel to answer citizens, whether it be a simple public transport question or something more complex such as health care policies.

A proven strategic tool

Social media has become the preferred platform for public sectors to engage with their audience, build trust and create awareness. In Singapore, government organisations have successfully used social media to provide real-time updates, answer queries and showcase humour to connect with their audience. As social media continues to evolve and expand, it will become even more ingrained in daily life and is a natural channel for public sector communications.