Insight: Social media, a key channel for Singapore’s public sector during the pandemic, according to Emplifi Report

SINGAPORE — Emplifi, the leading unified customer experience platform, has released its “Singapore Government Performance Benchmark 2021” report, highlighting how 50 statutory boards and 16 ministries are leveraging leading social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube) to communicate and engage with Singapore residents during the first half of 2021.

In H1 2021, Twitter accounted for the largest proportion of published content at 54.47% or 15,403 tweets. However, interactions on the platform were a mere 2.15%, or 71,848 interactions. Facebook, which made up about one third of total content across platforms, received the largest share of interactions at 75.66%, or 2.53 million interactions. This is unsurprising as Facebook users in Singapore numbered nearly 4.45 million, or 74.4% of the population, compared to Twitter’s 1.37 million users. Engagement on Instagram rose from 14.55% in H1 2020 to 20.39% in H1 2021, demonstrating the platform as an increasingly important channel to reach the younger generation. In 2020, 61.5% of Instagram users in Singapore were aged between 18 and 34 years.

Collectively, statutory boards produced three times more content than ministries in H1 2021. However, ministries received better engagement, with over 1.7 million total interactions versus 1.6 million interactions received for statutory boards. This trend began at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic as ministries increased the frequency of content, including pandemic measures from the Ministry of Health (MOH), along with announcements from various ministries on budgets and assistance schemes.


“Social media is proving to be an increasingly important channel for the public sector as Singapore’s governmental authorities focus on keeping their inhabitants engaged and informed during the pandemic. Frequent communication is key and there really is no other alternative to social media when it comes to reaching and engaging with people at scale,” said Zarnaz Arlia, Chief Marketing Officer at Emplifi.

Zarnaz Arlia, Chief Marketing Officer at Emplifi

The report’s findings highlight to what extent the use of social media is working for the public sector, as a means to communicate with Singaporeans at scale. Similar to 2020, the audience remained highly engaged. Over 50% of all content related to government entities was generated by individual users, totaling close to 30,000 of user-generated pieces. There were also 3.35 million interactions across all government profiles in H1 2021.

Emplifi’s report also revealed new social media trends across the public sector. Traditionally, ministries and statutory boards have leaned towards using Facebook and Twitter, however in H1 2021 more government bodies also used Instagram. This is likely associated with efforts to engage a younger demographic. Instagram was notably the most engaging platform with an engagement rate of 1.19% while share-of-voice grew from 59.44% in H1 2020 to 72.83% in the same period this year.

Conversely, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter saw declines in their share-of-voice, highlighting the ever-growing opportunity for government bodies to tap into Instagram to engage their audience.

The general fatigue with static social media content has also encouraged ministries and statutory boards to revisit their content approach, utilizing short-form videos, which were also notably the best performing content pieces. Workforce Singapore leveraged YouTube videos in their campaigns, which skyrocketed in views, increasing by 23 times (388,911 views in H1 2020 to over 9 million views in H1 2021). This made them the top-performing government body by YouTube video views.

“The pandemic has encouraged a more humanized approach to social media. This has led more government bodies to focus on revitalizing their social media strategies through relatable and inspirational content presented in engaging formats. The need to understand which platforms and content types work best on social media is no longer just a concern for brands. More and more we see the public sector leverage social media channels to connect with their audiences on a deeper and more meaningful level,” said Arlia.

In H1 2021, the National Environment Agency (NEA), Ministry of Health (MOH) and Ministry of Education (MOE) were the top three content publishers. In terms of engagement rate, the Public Transport Council (PTC), MuslimSG, and the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) received the highest average engagement rates. MOH, Ministry of Defence (MINDEF), and National Parks Board (NPB) drove the highest interactions.

Download the full report here.

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