G2 – Individual project (SMRT)

Hi there!

I’m Qian Tong from G2 and for my individual report, i have decided to look at SMRT and its current social media communication efforts.

In recent years, SMRT has experienced several major train disruptions and accidents, which generated negative reactions from its commuters. (Rahman, 2013) On 15 December 2011, Singapore has experienced its first major train service disruption. The severe lack of prompt support and poor communication from SMRT generated resentment and anger amongst commuters. This raises the question of how has SMRT addressed the reputation damage done since the major train disruption in 2011 and whether the organisation’s social media strategies are adequate enough to rebuild its relationship with the general public.

Research question

Therefore, in accordance with SMRT’s established social media goals and objectives, this paper will serve to address these questions: How is SMRT using its social media platform to engage with its consumers? Following that, how can SMRT create a closer relationship with its consumers to increase trust that will ultimately enhance the reputation of the organisation?

Data collection & Analysis

Based on the data collected, here are some insights that i have gathered:

  1. SMRT uploads daily posts on Facebook that describes its daily operations, stories from its employees as well as addressing news related to the organisation. For its Twitter account, SMRT provides daily real-time updates on its train services and disruptions. In addition, representatives from SMRT are diligent in addressing all concerns and complaints, but often respond with a standardized answer, directing these comments to their main corporate website.
  2. SMRT uses its social media platforms as avenues to disseminate information; hence there is a lack of interaction between the organisation and the public. Furthermore, the template responses given by SMRT exemplifies the lack of social presence and personality to the organisation.

Recommendations

In essence, SMRT uses its social media channels to primarily provide more information and hence, engagement with the public is low. To increase engagement, there is a need to tackle the aforementioned two issues with its current communication strategies.

The strategies below are designed with the aim of increasing engagement via promoting interactive content that allow citizen participation as well as to create a voice or personality that is relatable to its followers. This is in line with SMRT’s objective of “increasing greater engagement” with the public.

Strategy 1: Track My Train Ride Mobile Game

The challenge of this mobile game is to accumulate as many checkpoints as possible in the user’s actual train ride. Every month, SMRT will post a specific train ride journey (for example, from Bishan MRT Station to Somerset MRT station, City Hall MRT Station to Raffles Place MRT Station). To increase participation, players could post his game result on his Facebook profile and tag a friend to challenge that friend to surpass his game result. His friend will then receive a notification to the challenge on Facebook.

Strategy 2: #FoodTrialsWithSMRT Campaign

Studies have shown revealed that Singaporeans are generally passionate about their food and they love to share their opinions on food. Therefore, SMRT could tap on this behavioral aspect to generate content that Singaporeans can relate to and this would help in deviating from the strict corporate tone that SMRT has in its current social media strategies.

Conclusion

In sum, SMRT has not fully utilized the varying functions that its social media platforms offer, which has therefore stagnated its level of engagement with the public. This consequently led to the formation of a reputation that leans towards the general negative sentiment the public has of SMRT. SMRT should make a conscious effort to identify content that is most relevant to the public at present and come up with interactive strategies to increase engagement and ultimately change their perception of SMRT’s reputation.

Happy summer everybody!

Lim Qian Tong