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Best Digital Practices for Governmental Social Media in the UAE

Social media has become an integral part of communication strategies for government organisations worldwide. They provide unique opportunities for engaging with the public, disseminating information, and maintaining transparency in government actions. In the context of the UAE, effective social media use becomes a critical factor in creating a positive image and ensuring effective communication with the public. However, managing accounts for government institutions imposes more restrictions than commercial account management due to the necessity of adhering to an official tone of voice.
This publication aims to highlight the best practices in the UAE. This article showcases various formats and approaches that help diversify content.
In identifying best practices, we focused on quantitative indicators such as overall engagement and the number of likes, comments, shares, or views. Additionally, specific publications were selected based on expert opinions.
According to our research, video content is the most consumed and engaging form of content. Our observations indicate that this also holds true for governmental digital platforms. Over half of the presented cases in our selection involve video content. Users prefer watching short videos to reading lengthy texts. The selection includes videos featuring official figures and animated content. It is worth noting that videos featuring ordinary people typically garner numerous reactions.
Our selection also includes a substantial number of cases featuring infographics, a trend explained by the fact that users can quickly obtain the necessary information in a concise and visually appealing format.
One of the standout cases in our selection is the collaboration between social media star and the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment. This case demonstrates how attention can be drawn to the issues addressed by the department in a native format. Such an approach can also attract a new audience, including the youth, to the department's account and build trust with users. This example and others are given below.
“In the United Arab Emirates an effective digital presence is vital for a positive public perception. A recent study by RCheckUP, supported by insights from marketing experts, reveals that most government institutions in the country excel in using social media to inform the audience and readily follow trends in short video content. However, the majority still fall short when it comes to engaging with users and responding to queries”, -- Alexander Kuznetsov, Digital Reputation expert, founder of RCheckUp Digital Communication Agency

Facebook

Ministry of Education

A video dedicated to presenting the Greening Education Hub project at the Expo City Dubai exhibition. In the video, ministry representatives discuss the project against the booth’s backdrop. The video gained over 12,000 engagements, with an average annual engagement rate of 85. The account's audience consists of 403,000 followers.
“From the examples provided, the content shared by the Ministry of Education on Facebook (Meta) has gained the highest number of engagements across all institutions. Currently, most government entities in the UAE are quite active on social media but only a handful are involved in active engagement. The government institutions are doing well in communicating with their stakeholders but are currently not up to the mark when it comes to responding to queries. That's one area I would like to see improvements”, Tausif Mulla, Senior Faculty & Course Leader at Westford University College, Sharjah.

Ministry of Finance

A video dedicated to UAE astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi. The video, which features photos of the astronaut, concludes with the hashtag #SafeReturnSultan. The video gained over 6,200 engagements and 75,000 views, with an average annual engagement rate of 24. The account's audience consists of 337,000 followers.

Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation

A video highlighting the need for a midday break from June 15 to September 15 due to the heat. The video (which addresses social responsibility and family values) features construction workers calling their families during the midday break. The video gained over 3,800 engagements, with an average annual engagement rate of 50. The account's audience consists of 1 million followers.
Video interview with a trade representative of A-One Textiles where he shares its success story. The video description also highlights that the trade representative was honoured with an award of 11,000 dirhams. Such content is appealing to the audience and positively highlights the organisation’s activities. The publication gained over 1,000 engagements and 22,000 views with an average annual engagement rate of 50.
“There are a few things to be kept in mind if a brand wants to succeed on social: speak with an authentic voice, customize posts based on the platform being used, use trending hashtags, use short form videos and other multimedia, respond to questions/comments and always keep an eye on the analytics”, -- Priyanka Dasgupta, Digital & New Media educator and Strategic Communications scholar based in Dubai.

Ministry of Climate Change & Environment

A publication on how the UAE leads globally in the percentage of its country's area with marine reserves. The post is accompanied by an image and infographic. The publication gained over 2,800 engagements, with an average annual engagement rate of 23. The account has an audience of 30,000 followers. Publication with an infographic about Etihad Airways adhering to the principles of sustainable development. The post gained over 490 engagements, with an average annual engagement rate of 23.
“The use of social media by government authorities in the UAE is commendably diverse and engaging, focusing primarily on video content and infographics. This approach effectively captures the audience's attention and disseminates information concisely and visually appealingly. The collaboration between the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment and a social media influencer is an excellent example. It creatively draws attention to environmental issues and reaches a broader audience, including younger audiences. While these practices are already impressive, there is always room for improvement. Experimenting with different formats and frequencies of user interactions could enhance engagement further. Additionally, exploring various tones of voice while maintaining the official and respectful nature of communication might help make the content more relatable and accessible to a broader audience”, -- Yasir Saeed Zubair, Manager Communication, Economic Cities & Free Zones AD Ports Group, Abu Dhabi.

Ministry of Defence

A dynamic video from the ministry about recent military exercises. The video showcases the military equipment manoeuvres and actions of various troops. Official figures are present on the stands. The video gained over 77,000 views and 1,500 engagements, with an average annual engagement rate of 13. The account has an audience of 10,000 followers.

The Telecommunications and Digital Government Regulatory Authority

A post urging the creation of a safe online environment for children. The publication gained over 750 engagements, with an average annual engagement rate of 25. The account has 61,000 followers.

Instagram

Ministry of Interior

A video featuring a ministry speaker in front of a green screen showing natural disasters. The visually appealing sequence (combined with the ministry representative's participation) allows for positive communication with the audience. The video garnered over 20,500 engagements, with an average annual engagement rate of 450. The account's audience consists of 654,000 followers.

Ministry of Tolerance and Coexistence

A dynamic video showcasing cultural diversity and peaceful coexistence in the UAE. The video’s main message is delivered with the images of diverse people (including those in national attire). Images of the planet and the UAE are shown as places where different nations can coexist peacefully. The video also features the UAE’s official figures and the head of the Catholic Church, symbolizing tolerance and multiculturalism. The video includes UAE national symbols and the ministry's identity. It garnered over 10,000 engagements, with an average annual engagement rate of 184. The account has an audience of 60,800 followers.

Ministry of Climate Change and Environment

An excellent example of collaboration between the ministry and a blogger whose activities are not directly related to the ministry's interests. In the video, chef Leyla Fathallah prepares a dish from food leftovers, emphasizing the value of climate impact reduction. The video got over 6,000 engagements, with an average annual engagement rate of 87. The account has an audience of 75,900 followers.

The Cabinet

A video message to Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan from the children of the UAE. In the video, children sing and dance in national costumes, school uniforms, and astronaut uniforms. All three portrayals convey the idea that thanks to Sheikh, children can study and pursue high-tech careers while preserving their national identity. Notably, Sheikh is portrayed as a father and protector of the children of the UAE in the video description. The video garnered over 4,200 engagements, with an average annual engagement rate of 558. The account has an audience of 276,000 followers.

Ministry of Defence

A video demonstrating the unity of the UAE Armed Forces. The video shows military personnel from various branches of the armed forces, emphasizing that both men and women serve in the UAE army. The video got over 3,000 engagements, with an average annual engagement rate of 441. The account has an audience of 83,400 followers.

Ministry of Education

A post about the EMSAT test, which will be applied optionally, including for university admissions. The post is illustrated with a carousel of infographics. The post gathered over 3,400 engagements, with an average annual engagement rate of 259. The account has an audience of 383,000 followers.

X/Twitter

Ministry of Education

A video urging people to thank teachers and join the Greening Education Hub project. In the video, a man in national attire sends a letter of gratitude. The video garnered over 228,000 views, with an average annual view count of 8,000. The account has an audience of 391,200 followers.
"Government authorities are trying to use social media to the maximum in order to appeal to most of the population and age groups, especially the younger generations. That's why many of them are now focusing more on developing their accounts on Instagram or even TikTok, rather than Facebook. It's also interesting to watch how institutions are experimenting with new formats, such as AI-generated videos or "how-to" videos, to appeal to younger followers. A great example is the Ministry of Education issuing a video tutorial on how to use their online services", -- says Dr. Adham Fayad, Assistant Professor in Business Management at De Montfort University, Dubai.

The Cabinet

An announcement of a summit with attached infographics, featuring Sheikh UAE. The post garnered over 148,000 views, with an average annual view count of 7,000. The account has an audience of 343,200 followers.

Ministry of Interior

A video with a representative of the ministry providing instructions on what to do in case of a WhatsApp account hack. The video got over 58,000 views, with an average annual view count of 5,000. The account has an audience of 947,800 followers.

UAE Election

A post promoting a remote voting application, illustrated with an infographic about the application. The post was viewed by over 32,000 users, with an average annual view count of 6,000. The account has an audience of 25,000 followers.

Ministry of Defence

The Ministry of Defence published several posts with infographics. One of the posts got over 16,900 views, while another publication garnered over 14,900 (both had an average annual view count of 7,000). The account has an audience of 77,300 followers.

LinkedIn

Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation

An announcement from the ministry about declaring January 1, 2024, a paid day off for all the UAE’s private sector employees. The post serves as an example of situational content. The publication got over 3,000 engagements, with an average annual engagement rate of 28. The account has an audience of 111,000 followers.

Ministry of Education

A publication from the ministry about the electronic recognition of education certificates. The message includes cards with infographics. The post got over 400 engagements, with an average annual engagement rate of 100.
A publication about the formation of the Youth Council of the Ministry of Education. The post includes photos of representatives presented in the form of cards. The post got over 140 engagements, with an average annual engagement rate of 100. The account has an audience of 120,000 followers.

Ministry of Climate Change and Environment

A publication with an animated video urging the preservation of ecological sustainability through various measures, including banning disposable plastic bags. The post got over 250 engagements, with an average annual engagement rate of 50. The account has an audience of 35,800 followers.

Ministry of Finance

A post about 2022’s budget surplus quoting the Deputy Emir of Dubai, Deputy Prime Minister, and Minister of Finance. The message is illustrated with data-infused infographics and a photo of the ministry's representative. The publication garnered over 90 engagements, with an average annual engagement rate of 22. The account has an audience of 56,000 followers.

Ministry of Industry & Advanced Technology

A publication about the visit of the State Minister for Advanced Technologies, Sarah bint Yusef al-Amiri, to a Lipton tea factory. The message conveys a commitment to sustainable development principles and is accompanied by a general photo featuring the state minister and an infographic about the factory. The publication got over 120 engagements, with an average annual engagement rate of 13.
Additionally, a video about the recent conference was published. The video highlights the declaration of sustainable development principles and the development of new technologies. The post garnered 90 engagements, with an average annual engagement rate of 13. The account has an audience of 29,000 followers.
At RCheckUP we specialize in reputation analysis and creation of a brand image in the new media realm, bridging the gap between governmental bodies & large-scale companies and their audiences to build people’s trust in our clients.
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