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② Social media marketing in Singapore [Research]


Welcome to article 2/3 focused on social media marketing in Singapore. We will cover here salient facts affecting the social media marketing world in Singapore. Explore with us the history of the influencers and insights about media. In the social media rush towards new platforms and new features, it’s easy to forget about some fundamentals: culture & people. We believe that a brand will only succeed with a strong understanding of the market & its audiences.

To elevate our knowledge and conduct better campaigns for our clients, Digital Business Lab decided to partner with Dr Crystal Abidin (PhD in Anthropology & Sociology, and Media Studies) and conduct deep research in Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Thailand. Dr Crystal Abidin specializes in influencer cultures, online visibility, and social media pop culture, especially in the Asia Pacific region.

For this series about Singapore, we will dig deeper into a country that has been praised for its melting pot society as well as for its quality of life & dynamic business environment. From a marketing perspective, it is a country with a long-established influencer landscape, rooted in the old 2000-s blogs, and with a strong e-commerce culture also originated from the blogs. Nowadays, it is a small but mature and wealthy market, as well as a gateway to Malaysia & Indonesia.

Social Media Marketing in Singapore: influencer marketing insights

  • The established and long-lasting impact of the Influencer industry from as early as the mid-2000s has also resulted in politicians adopting Influencer strategies as part of their campaigning. This includes the strategic use of Instagram selfies (Abidin 2017a) and more recent video entertainment in partnership with some of the biggest Facebook and YouTube content creators (Millennials of Singapore 2020, Nubbad TV 2020)

💡  Takeaway: The influencer industry is established in Singapore for over 15 years and influencer marketing tactics are broadly adopted. 

  • Influencers constitute a big part of youth culture and online media and feature frequently in the mainstream news (Abidin 2016c)

💡  Takeaway: The impact of influencers in Singapore goes beyond the Instagram feed and is reaching traditional media outlets. We recommend brands in Singapore to be mindful of this and to take extra care in partnering with Key Opinion Leaders.

  • Since the Influencer industry started in the mid-2000s and has become established and mature, it is not uncommon for Influencers to literally “grow up” and “grow old” online, and transit across different genres to complement their life stages (Abidin 2015b).

💡  Takeaway: It is important to identify the “previous genres” of these long-established influencers in Singapore to make sure the brand is aligned.


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Media & other insights

  • In light of the ailing television and radio industries, mainstream channels and networks in Singapore have been known to employ Influencers to produce content for them to attract the young crowd (Abidin 2018a)

💡  Takeaway: This is fundamental in the view we recommend to have about the way to activate influencers, it’s all about content! Old media channels do recognize the appeal of these influencers in the qualities of their content, what about your brand?

  • However, there have been instances where the context and humour that worked so well on social media for young audiences did not translate well for more conservative older audiences on television, resulting in Influencers experiencing some backlash (Abidin 2019a)

💡  Takeaway: Don’t forget about the qualities of the medium employed to deliver the content, within social media marketing we can have a similar rationale when comparing YouTube VS TikTok. 


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  • Alongside the popularity and prominence of advertising Instagram, cafes in Singapore have taken to adapting their offerings to maximize consumer attention. While many cafes have already been designed and decorated to be “Instagrammable” to attract the disposable income of young crowds, when Instagram introduced boomerang and short videos, some cafes took to updating their menu to include foods that could demonstrate process with moving image, such as a DIY glaze doughnut, or colour changing drink (Leaver et al. 2020).

💡  Takeaway: Brick-and-mortar businesses can also benefit, quite organically, from the exposure of influencers and clients’ personal accounts. This is going back to the roots of maximizing a brand existing client-base to reach further.

Explore article 1 & 3of this series:

Interested to learn more about Singapore?
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