Social Media Campaigns in Singapore: What Works

the state of social media campaigns

A social media campaign is a marketing operation which aims to achieve a business goal or outcome through the use of social media platforms. 

Why should you start a social media campaign? 

As of 2020, if your business does not have a social media presence, it may risk being obsolete. 

With our skyscrapers and futuristic architecture, Singapore is constantly referred to as the city of the future – hyper-connected and smart phone-obsessed. We possess the highest smartphone penetration in the Asia-Pacific region at 86%, coupled with an 82% internet penetration which ranks much higher than the global average. With a combined 4.4 million active social media users (77% of our total population), Singapore has serious social media game. Here we examine some social media campaigns and see what works and what does not.

Before investing your time and money into any social media campaigns, it is essential to ask yourself thorough questions and do some research. 

How to Create a Successful Social Media Campaign? 

Define Your Goals 

Before you define a successful campaign, you have to determine what success is to your campaign. Social media campaigns can be costly. Hence, it is essential to identify a tangible goal which can justify your return on investment. 

Some social media campaign goals include: 

  • Driving traffic to your website  

To track how successful is your social media campaign, simply log onto Google Analytics and click on Acquisitions > All Traffic > Channel. 

  • Lead generation 

A lead is anyone, be it an individual or an organisation that has shown some interest in what you have to offer. That interest is usually demonstrated by leaving their contact and personal details on your online form. The definition of a “proper lead” depends on your organisation and marketing goals. Some measure the success by the number of gated content downloads, while some measure by the number of conversions from a social media post. 

Here is a guide to set up your conversion goals on Google Analytics. 

  • Revenue 

Revenue is, without a doubt, the easiest way to track the success of any social media campaigns. However, it is easier to track if your product or service does not involve a long conversion process. For example, typical products of eCommerce sites such as household or edible items. 

The sum up, the clearer you are with your goals, the easier it is for you to plan towards achieving them. 

Research Your Competitors

Researching your competitors can provide massive information on what works and what doesn’t. Since both of you have similar offerings and target audience, it is a no-brainer to learn how to craft your content strategy from the competition. 

From them, you can find out what type of posts generate the most interactions and what falls flat. You can also identify which timing garners the most amount of response. 

Remember, there are no legal complications for copying the Social Media strategies of others. 

Research Your Audience 

There is a wide range of audience on social media. Each demographic may skew towards a particular social media platform.

To help you decipher which platform is best for your business, we have a complete guide to the various social media platforms and their demographics. 

Knowing where to run your campaign will help to generate the best possible ROI.                                          

Profiling your audience doesn’t stop there. You also have to be aware of the jargon, images, as well as the current affairs that resonate with them. This brings us to the next point. 

Find Out What is Relevant to Your Audience

Social media marketing in Singapore seemingly encompasses Youtube video ads, Instagram and Facebook ad placements, as well as joint social media and experiential marketing.

Speaking of ads, you can also study successful ads and campaigns that are targeted to the same demographic to understand the preferences of your audience. 

The Youtube Ads leaderboard for the second half of 2019 exemplifies the structure of video ads that resonated the most with Singaporeans. Most of the successful ads in Singapore have either strong Asian undertones, intriguing storyline, trends or social issues that resonate with locals. 

Leading the board is Resorts World Sentosa’s HHN9 – Will you be his next victim? While it does not offer lots of local elements, the ad taps on the likes of horror series that are highly popular among youths in Singapore, such as Stranger Things

Clinching the next spot is Project Red – Common Ground, which explores a highly sensitive topic in this day and age – Singaporeans vs Foreigners.

Introducing AirPods Pro – Apple is third on the leaderboard. This ad does not have any local-specific content, but it is doing very well. However, do note that you got to have a powerful brand presence like Apple to bypass the localisation requirement and attract attention. 

Ranking at #4 is Mark Lee’s Real Life Story, which explores an unknown side to the famous local comedian’s life. The issue explored in the ad is highly relevant to locals, with a strong message urging people to quit gambling. 

Your message must be customised per the needs, wants, concerns and hopes of your audience. Otherwise, your brand may come across as out-of-touch with people.   

Curate Quality Content

There are many ways to generate quality social media content, such as blog posts, infographics, videos and more. It’s also possible to have a combination of these contents in your campaign. 

engaging the top social media agency in singapore

Before you go full out on unleashing your campaign, you have to A/B test your social media posts. This is to find out if it needs further tweaking to attract more attention. Here’s a guide on how to perform A/B testing on social media.                        

Be Authentic 

Social Media Marketing is the same as making friends in real life. Nobody likes a poser who pretends to know-it-all. 

In the ad that has now been officially pulled from Youtube, Kendall Jenner, a member of the Kardashian clan is seen stepping away from a modelling shoot to join a crop of fervent protesters who are rallying for peace, unity and acceptance. The ad amalgamates in Jenner handing a can of Pepsi to a police officer. This feels very gratuitous to any audience member who would naturally feel, how would Pepsi solve all these issues? The ad was felt by many to be in bad taste, that Pepsi was “late to the party” and exploiting the escalating issues of unity and fairness in our time.

It seems authenticity is an essential element that should no doubt underlie your marketing efforts. The new generation of millennial consumers prize values that embrace boldness, though all in the name of good faith and harmony. It is probably wise to stay away from opportunistic ideas that take advantage of the moment. Your new-age consumers are, just as well, averse to charlatanism.

Give Before You Sell 

We are not here denouncing any form of marketing efforts. Yet, have you wondered why many people seem to be annoyed with YouTube ads that pop up right before their videos? You may probably be one of those who are counting down to the “Skip Ad” button. 

The logic is simple. Nowadays, people need to trust the company first before hearing what they have to sell. It is understandable why lots of people who have never heard of these personalities from such ads are unhappy. They did not provide sufficient value to win the audience’s trust before they started selling.  

Nobody likes to be sold. People like the feeling of purchasing stuff. In this social media age, expectations are taken to a whole new level. People also want someone to empathise and understand their problems, yet not psychologically manipulate them into buying. 

These days, before you propose your audience a deal, you may have to give away lots of free information to win their trust. Free e-books and how-to videos not only show that you are an expert in your area, but they also show that you care.   

Top 5 Social Media Marketing Campaigns That Have Scored Points With Singaporeans 

To gain the respect and trust among the audience, sticking to your core brand values is paramount. Unsurprisingly the ads that abide this rule have achieved success locally. 

McDonalds’ – Just For You, Singapore Campaign by Golin Singapore, DDB Singapore and OMD  

A memorable ad campaign that is etched perhaps perpetually in the hearts and minds of Singaporeans is the localised Nasi Lemak campaign executed by McDonalds‘.

The new localised product line was in keeping with the themes of NS50 and the Singapore Food Festival 2017. The advertisement spot launching this product line features a national serviceman giving a treat of the new localised products to his family with his first paycheck following enlistment.

The original and heartwarming ideals of the product line and the advertisements won McDonald’s the fancy of locals and internationals alike. The winning appeal lies in the unique spin on the age-old Nasi Lemak classic and the relevancy of Singaporean qualities exhibited in the video. They are novel ideas but remain genuine and authentic to the McDonald’s brand. Its overall triumph can be seen in the repeated roaring demands of Singaporeans to bring back our burger.

Staying original and bold, but remaining real and relevant is a delicate balance to strike. If you succeed with the collaboration of the right partners, it would mean a rippling effect of consumer loyalty.

Uber’s “Chope King” Campaign by BBH Singapore, with the help of Social Media Bloggers. 


A giant tissue pack with the Singlish term “Chope”, which means reserved, was found in several parking spaces across many parts of Singapore in 2017. 

What was initially thought of as a prank turns out to be a message to encourage reducing private car ownership to solve traffic congestions and lack of parking spaces in Singapore. 

The campaign was a success as it highlights a serious problem among local motorists through a common Singaporean practice, such as using tissue packets to reserve spaces. The message doesn’t stop there. Uber has the solution to these problems by introducing carpooling services. 

Tiger Beer’s Unofficial History of Singapore by BBDO Singapore 

BBDO Singapore and Asia Pacific Breweries Singapore have successfully capitalised on the country’s Golden Jubliee with 2 lighthearted mockumentaries that chronicle the history behind popular trends unique to Singapore. It helped locals to ponder about their identity and culture, which can help them instill a sense of pride as Singaporeans.

Also, in response to a potential General Election following Singapore’s 50th birthday celebration, the campaign has also extended to a vote casting. This is for the public to choose what kind of party they wanted at the unofficial SG50 party, held on 5th August 2015 at the Capitol Theatre. The votes can be cast at 2 mobile stations located in the Central Business District (CBD), a microsite, as well as the company’s Facebook page. 

Aside from the local relevance, the entire campaign also capitalised on the exclusivity. The tickets to the unofficial party cannot be purchased, and can only be won if they have cast their votes. 

iFly So You Think You Can Fly by Cohn & Wolfe 

To raise money for various charities, iFly actively engaged social media platforms such as YouTube and Facebook to garner attention. On top of that, they have also invited five celebrities to take part in a Reality-TV series that can be viewed on mobile devices. These celebrities went through a rigorous training programme by iFly to prepare them for the ultimate showdown, which awards $35,000 cash prizes to their respective charities. 

The introduction of celebrities in a fun competition isn’t enough. The campaign also offered an interactive Facebook application where fans can watch the series, vote for their favourite star and win prizes. There were also various PR activities such as blogger engagement and online community participation that made the entire campaign a roaring success. 

Flashbang by Artbox

Some of the more buoyant campaigns that have been trailblazing in Singapore are ones that combine social media and experiential marketing in the right attitude.  

Flashbang, a fantastic flea affair, was organised in central Orchard as a month-long Christmas market in December 2017. The event was brought to our shores by Artbox Asia, a creative market organiser that originates in Bangkok. 

The multi-sensory event promised an array of covetable retail goods, impressive neon light art installations, interactive exhibitions, music and entertainment and more: a feast for hungry millennials re-captured on social media. And they sure delivered. It was primed the biggest event of the year, powerfully attracting a vibrant crowd every night, whilst loudly communicating the ethos behind Artbox. 

It combined the nostalgic inclinations of millennials (vintage arcade games and trinkets) with futuristic overhead lights that seem to resonate so well with our sentimental tech gen. It was a night (or nights) to remember, a momentous event that would pull in the same crowd and then some in time to come. Its success? It played to and catered to the millennials‘ genuine affections.

Top 5 Social Media Publicity Boo-Boos in Singapore

Social Media Marketing can be a fun and exciting way to engage an audience. You can mix and match platforms, or even partner with another company to promote your offer.

However, there were a few campaigns where the wrong social media strategy was employed, leaving a bad taste among the locals. 

Gushcloud Singtel Incident – Badmouthing Others 

Around the time when Gushcloud bloggers began to gain traction, a slew of disguised advertisements began to crop up on these regularly frequented online spaces. Because of the personal nature of blog content, audiences are inclined to take bloggers at their word. 

However, not all bloggers are genuine and authentic when it comes to social media marketing. They promote items they don’t use, they even hazard to cross boundaries and help a paying advertiser slander a competing brand. 

A leaked email brought to light by Xiaxue revealed that Singtel agreed to pay $4000 in cash and incentives to Gushcloud bloggers in 2015. The condition? They have to publish slanderous comments on Starhub and M1’s services, driving sign-ups to Singtel instead.

Rebecca Lim’s “Retirement” Stunt – Turning Concerned Fans into Possible Haters

The validity of social media has been in doubt, particularly in the saga of recruiting actress Rebecca Lim to socially announce that she is retiring. It turns out that she wasn’t retiring. Instead, she was just promoting some insurance plans.  

Hoards of Youtube and Facebook commenters were outraged, citing the lack of integrity and commented that they felt “cheated”. Fans who were genuinely concerned and sad about her retirement ended up being the laughing stock. 

It is one thing to make a mistake, and the other to not take responsibility for it. Although Rebecca has apologised, she assumed that many have “misunderstood” and “misinterpreted” her message, putting the responsibility over to the readers instead. The CMO of the insurance company also did not apologise as he claimed that he did nothing wrong.

Although the campaign attracted attention, it did not portray the company or the actress as empathetic towards their concerns. The trust of the people has also been shaken.

According to an interview with Marketing Interactive, Edwin Yeo, General Manager of PR agency, SPRG, pointed out that the stunt should have conducted a scenario planning before the announcement to anticipate the reactions.  

National Geographics’s NS Man Publicity Stunt – A Mark of Disrespect to the Singapore Army 

There is a definite tendency for social media marketing to veer to the extremes in Singapore. For instance, Nat Geo’s NSman publicity stunt in efforts to promote their latest television programme, Every Singaporean Son 2: The Making Of An Officer.

Many onlookers were affronted by the display and felt it utterly disparaging to the legacy of National Service in Singapore. This view was echoed by the Singapore Army Facebook page, which also claimed that the army was neither informed of this publicity stunt nor the use of its uniform. 

Philip Electronics Bear Stunt – Instilling a False Sense of Fear Among Citizens 

During the beginnings of social media, social media and marketing agency, TSLA planted a bear-costumed person on a sidewalk foraging through rubbish bins. The entire stunt was just to promote their latest shaver. 

It prompted animal right’s group, Wildlife Reserves Singapore and the media to send teams out in search of the missing bear. 

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The campaign ended in a catastrophe. Sensationalist tactics rarely bode well with the local crowd. Despite Singapore’s global outlook, the Asian values of conservatism and reverence are still strong here.

The disastrous stunt has also prompted the police to investigate the possibilities of a public nuisance act that breached Section 268 of the Penal Code, which could lead to a S$1,000 fine. 

Scoot’s World’s Longest Virtual Flight Publicity Stunt – A Promise That Failed to Deliver

To commemorate its first anniversary, a local budget carrier, Scoot, created an app and organised a virtual competition in 2013.

This is an electronic spin to the “last hand on the car” game. Participants are required to keep tapping a button on their smartphone screen every 60 seconds, with the last person left tapping the winning $20,000 cash and a year of free flights.

Sounds enticing, eh

The excitement did not last as the server crashed due to technical difficulties

Out of the 7,000 people who registered for the contest, only 2,000 managed to “board” the virtual flight before “take-off”. Scoot’s Facebook page was flooded with lots of grievances from potential contestants. Many were disappointed as some of them have even taken leave from work just to participate in this contest. 

It was a big promise, and big promises cannot fail. 

When conducting a massive-scale campaign which involves the use of electronic platforms, it is crucial to check that everything is working in order. Otherwise, a failed promise may disappoint your audience and affect your brand’s trustworthiness in the long run. 

Conclusion – Social Media Marketing Campaigns are No Different from Traditional Marketing Campaigns 

Marketing on social media is no different from traditional marketing. It involves inciting a response from a fellow human, and hence, you have to win the trust of your audience. 

In a nutshell, to win with people in the game of marketing, you have to: 

  • Be authentic, not pretentious.
  • Understand and empathise with their concerns.
  • Be creative with your campaign, such as collaborating with fellow brands or influencers to reach your audience.
  • Give your audience a sense of positive feeling. This can either be a sense of hope (in the case of securing a better retirement), sense of identity (in the case of feeling part of a group) or sense of excitement (in the case of winning prizes).
  • Offer them lots of value before selling to them.
  • Get your audience to participate in your social media page. This can be done through interactive polls, contests and free webinars. 

To avoid sabotaging your campaign, which also puts your brand on thin ice, you have to avoid:

  • Overpromising but underdelivering.
  • The spread of negativity.
  • Creating false alarms just to sell something to your audience.
  • Creating offensive caricatures to reflect a specific group of people, such as getting actors to don upon army uniforms in public.
  • Not taking responsibility when your campaign faces a backlash. 

Got a social media campaign you want to run? MediaOne handles campaigns of all sizes! Call us at (65) 6789 9852 or email us at [email protected] today. 

Author Bio

Tom Koh is widely recognised as a leading SEO consultant in Asia who has worked to transform the online visibility of the leading organisations such as SingTel, Capitaland, Maybank, P&G, WWF, etc. Recently he was instrumental in consulting for a New York-based US$30B fund in an US$4Bn acquisition. Tom is a Computational Science graduate of the National University of Singapore. In his free time he performs pro-bono community work and traveling.

Social Media Campaigns in Singapore: What Works