Let's Get Personal

There is no foolproof way to make any Facebook, Instagram or Twitter post go viral. But some public agencies have begun to show that humour and “keeping it real” can help them engage the public like never before

Let's Get PersonalA fine balance

The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF)’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter posts are a masterful balance of usefulness and humour. Dramatic posts of emergencies show SCDF’s rapid response, while snaps of firefighters (seen the one with the starched uniform standing upright on its own?) instil pride and engage even former servicemen. Even random events (a football match or a bus fare hike) are not spared – these emotion-stirring events can still be used to plug SCDF’s message: #995foremergenciesonly. The irreverent banter between @SCDF and @SGAG_SG really pushed the humour envelope further than ever before. We can just imagine old-school corporate comms types chewing their nails nervously, thinking, “They’re really asking for trouble!” To that we say: #youwin #youhaveguts

Let's Get Personal
Let's Get Personal
Let's Get Personal

Our observations

Be appropriate When updating on emergencies, SCDF never jokes around.

Know your audience SCDF replies in a personal tone; the humour level is calibrated according to the nature of posts and followers’ responses.

Have a clear message No matter how irreverent some of their posts may be, the message “#995foremergenciesonly” is repeatedly emphasised.

Let's Get Personal

For the wild at heart

The National Parks Board’s social media accounts are a celebration of Singapore’s rich flora and fauna. @NParksbuzz shares delightful Instagram images that will surprise those who haven’t ventured outdoors much. Get to know the lobster moth caterpillar, the changeable lizard and the large-tailed nightjar here. Each post is personal and relatable – from talking about the dry spell to a welcome hurrah to the new week. There’s not much “gov” speak even when followers asked why trees were cut down at Choa Chu Kang for a playground. The Facebook account gives its more than 22,000 followers an even richer experience: there are wildlife trivia and photos (check out Singapore’s version of sakuras in #sgbloom, which has won many likes) and updates on events related to green Singapore.


This article is part of a series 7 Ways To Go Steady With The Public.

  1. Growing With Our Citizenry
    The social contract between Singaporeans and the government is changing. How should government agencies respond?
  2. Earn Trust By Connecting Emotionally
    Head of Civil Service Peter Ong on the elements of trust and where the Public Service can do better.
  3. How Openness Strengthens Relationships
    Sharing data and crowdsourcing through hackathons is bringing two public agencies closer to the public.
  4. Bringing Help Closer To Homes
    Moving into the heart of communities and working closely with partners, the new Social Service Offices do their work guided by the principle that it's all about the people.
  5. Co-Creating Singapore: Citizens Have Their Say
    As Singapore moves towards a new relationship between people and government, three active citizens say it's time to give the people a bigger role in co-creating Singapore. 
  6. They've Got Your Back
    Challenge talks to four winners of this year’s PS21 Star Service Award who have earned the public’s trust by being there for them.
    May 14, 2014
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