| 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
The Social Media Strategy was implemented according to 6 principal phases:
(1) PLANNING – JANUARY-MARCH 2011
Development of the Emirates ID social media strategy started with a consultation of all the key stakeholders both internal and external. The strategy was developed in close conformity with key national priorities including the Federal Government Vision 2021 to ensure development furthered national interests. In addition, the strategy was mapped precisely to the objectives of the Emirates ID 2010-2013 Strategy to maximise the use of social media channels to support the ID registration process. The result of the process was the March 2011 Social Media Strategy.
(2) STAKEHOLDER BUY-IN – APRIL-JUNE 2011
The strategy was showcased to all relevant stakeholder communities to elicit further input. In addition to internal government stakeholders (who were asked to suggest improvements that would facilitate close collaboration with their own social media strategies), Emirates ID engaged a broad range of community voices to ensure that the customer was placed at the centre of all design choices. A particular objective during consultation was to elicit the views of young people across UAE as they are a key user demographic for the new channels.
(3) AWARENESS AND TACTICAL ENGAGEMENT – JULY-DECEMBER 2011
During this phase, Emirates ID redesigned the social media channels to further the core objective of registering 100% of the UAE population in the ID programme. New communication messages and a far-reaching awareness campaign about the importance of the mandatory ID card enrolment were intensively promoted across the range of channels. The tactical engagement phase acted as a test case for the core social media strategy elements including clear publication of Emirates ID information, close federation of channels, use of uniform messages and emphasis on cultural content and national pride.
(4) STRATEGIC ENGAGEMENT AND ADVOCACY – 2012
The next phase of implementation saw the introduction of the full strategy for the creation of a totally interactive virtual organization dedicated to interactive two-way communication. In addition to supporting the registration process, monthly cultural competitions were introduced, a real-time social media helpdesk was established and a concerted effort was made to build a base of loyal supporters or ‘champions’.
(5) EVALUATION AND REPORTING – 2012
At the end of year 1, officials compiled and presented a detailed report of their activities. Reports were widely publicized to all stakeholder communities as well as published openly on the Emirates ID website. The process of yearly reporting focussed the implementation team on analysing each aspect of the social media channels and brought together a wealth of both qualitative indicators such as satisfaction levels (27% increase over year 1) and quantitative analytics (24,000 new facebook fans in 7 months). All figures were compared against Key Performance Indicators in the strategy.
(6)LESSONS LEARNED – 2013
A comprehensive evaluation was carried out to provide lessons from the 2011 strategy. Dramatic improvements in customer satisfaction with social media have led both to several other government departments conducting bilateral meetings to emulate the Emirates ID approach (62% of the public sector organisations in the UAE still do not use social media). Emirates ID plan an ambitious expansion of its social media strategy within its upcoming 2014-2019 Strategic Plan.
| 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
To ensure the social media strategy reflected the latest and most successful approaches in a fast-changing field, Emirates ID consulted with a broad range of internal and external stakeholder groups:
(1) GOVERNMENT – Internal government stakeholders ensured full conformity with existing social media strategies and identified opportunities for collaboration:
* Emirates eGovernment Authority
* Ministry of Social Affairs and Higher Education
* Abu Dhabi Systems and Information Centre
* Ministry of the Interior
* Emirates Competitiveness Council
(2) COMMUNITY – Community groups provided Emirates ID with their needs and opportunities to ensure that social media channels could maximise their appeal to important user groups:
* Youth Groups
* Local Community Leadership
* Expat Organizations
* Technical and Developer Communities
(3) INDUSTRY EXPERTS – Industry Experts from across the world were consulted to benchmark the social media strategy against the most successful examples from the public and private sectors:
* eGovernment and Online Participation Specialists
* Social Media Communications Consultants
* Technology and Service Development Professionals
* Youth Engagement Advisors
(4) CUSTOMERS – Social Media Users were extensively consulted through surveys, focus groups and sentiment monitoring to provide real-time feedback on what worked best on the social media channels:
* Young Emiratis
* New Migrants and Residents
* Gulf Cooperation Council Nationals
(5) PARTNERS AND SERVICE PROVIDERS –Service Providers were brought in to provide outside expertise and perspective on the planning, design, development and execution:
* Social Media Specialists
* Technology and Web Design Companies
* Communications and Messaging Consultants
| 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
The development of the Emirates ID social media presence represented a mission critical part of Emirates ID 2010-2013 strategy. The following specific resources were dedicated to the mobilisation of the project:
(A) HUMAN RESOURCES
• The Department of Government and Community Communication at EIDA is responsible for managing and observing the social networking tools which belong to EIDA. In recognition of the fact that Social Media represents a living organization in the virtual domain, the department is augmented by of 5 full-time communication professionals supported by 15 external specialists.
(B) TECHNICAL EXPERTISE
To facilitate the development of the website and communication channels, a range of specialist expertise areas were deployed by Emirates ID:
1. SOCIAL MEDIA COMMUNICATION SPECIALISTS – Social Media Specialists were employed to ensure the redesigned communication strategy reflected the latest trends and thinking among younger demographics and maximised recent functionality across major social media channels.
2. SERVICE ANALYSTS – Service analysts were employed to conduct a rigorous benchmarking process for each aspect of the redesigned social media presence against state-of-the-art examples across the public and private sector. Service Analysts made recommendations on the design and deployment of each service component.
3. COMMUNICATION AND MESSAGING – Communication and Messaging consultants were brought on board to ensure that messages promoted by Emirates ID across the social media channels were appealing to the correct users and clearly conveyed the necessary information.
(C) FINANCIAL RESOURCES
The redesign of the website was funded with an initial budget of AED 1 Million ($ 275,000) inclusive of personnel costs, technical costs and other expenses. At the completion of the project, the final cost estimate is AED 1.1Million ($300,000) inclusive of enhancements that were developed during implementation. Budget was generated from the Emirates ID internal funds. All funds for the social media redesign were drawn from external revenue streams including fees from ID cards.
| 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
A large number of components contributed to the success of the Emirates ID website. However, the following 4 outputs were especially integral to the success of the initiative:
ESTABLISHING TWO WAY DIALOGUE
Establishing the Social Media Helpdesk was instrumental in creating a vibrant and engaging social media presence for Emirates ID. The helpdesk has allowed tech-savvy Emiratis to get a personalised answer to their questions within an average 20 minutes and provided a sense of instant gratification through a rapid, personalised response. The popularity of the helpdesk was immediately obvious, with 15,000 tweets and posts sent in the first 18 months and a 10% rise in positive comments about Emirates ID.
NEW ENGAGEMENT TECHNIQUES
Unique competitions on the social media pages - including a monthly cultural competition and the ‘milestones in the history of the UAE’ series - have succeeded in forging a strong sense of national pride among users, gaining new followers for Emirates ID. Arabic language content grew by 15% to over 40% of all discussions today. The fast-growing number of followers on Facebook, over 24,800 in late 2013 up from 500 in early 2012, further underlines the popularity of these campaigns with users.
GROWTH OF ONLINE NETWORKS
Emirates ID effectively supported the ID registration process through a concerted social media campaign building on established networks. By strategically targeting 29 key public figures and the UAE’s leading 325 companies, the social media team was able to leverage the extensive networks of these stakeholders to reach over 6 million people directly with key messages about the mandatory enrolment process. The outcome was a 29% rise in monthly registrations delivered by social media channels.
Engaging senior figures in providing personal answers to the questions of social media users has been highly successful in fostering a strong sense of national belonging and demonstrating Emirates ID’s commitment to customers, convincing all citizens and residents, especially younger users, that the organisation cares about and values their input. The Director General of Emirates ID now has a dedicated community of followers which in itself has created a new stakeholder channel through which Emirates ID can spread key messages to the population.
| 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
ENGAGEMENT AND PARTICIPATION METRICS
Emirates ID implements a robust system of eParticipation indicators linked to a wide range of communication channels. Key 2012/3 results include:
* 29% monthly rise in ID applications due to social media contact
* 600% increase in Twitter followers and a massive 3,430% increase in Facebook fans.
* 15% rise in Arabic language content
* 10% Increase in positive comments about Emirates ID
* 12% decline in negative comments about Emirates ID
* 85% satisfaction with social media channels, up from 58% in 2011
* 326 private companies helped to spread Emirates ID messages
* 20 minutes - average response time for social media suggestions
* 6.2 million – number of social media users, mainly young people reached with key messages
Emirates ID made it a top priority to showcase its social media approach internationally to ensure that the strategy was competitive with global leaders. In 2013, this strategy resulted in a Gold Award for Social Media Measurement from the International Association for the Measurement and Evaluation of Communication and a Best Criterion for Measuring the Performance of Social Pages Award from the Society of New Communications Research. Emirates ID has been awarded the prestigious ‘Best Social Media Site for Government Communication at the Sharjah Government Communication Awards. The Facebook Page also received the ‘Best Strategic Facebook Page’ aware in 2013 from the Tatweej Academy.
Emirates ID undertook a full suite of compliance measures to ensure that the social media helpdesk reached the same high standards of compliance for customer service as physical ID services. Emirates ID is certified by the British Standards Institution for the International Customer Service standard (TICSS: 2010). Emirates ID has also successfully obtained International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 9001 Certification for Quality Management System, ISO 20000 certification for ICT quality and ISO 27001 for strict adherence to the global quality management standards.
PROJECT MANAGEMENT METHODOLOGY
Emirates ID implements a rigorous Project Management Methodology - PROMOTE (Program Management of Technology Endeavours) to ensure that 1) IT Projects are completely aligned with Business Objectives, 2) cost and schedule targets are achieved and 3) performance is effectively managed and monitored.
KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATOR (KPI) SYSTEM
KPIs are closely monitored and results published on the webportal to show readers at a glance progress toward the KPI implementation. To date, 90% of strategic KPIs and 76% of operational KPIs have met or exceeded targets.
| 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
1. CREATING PERSONALISED INTERACTION
CHALLENGE – Initially under the new strategy users who left comments or suggestions on social media channels were greeted with generic responses that lacked a personal touch and often failed to deliver a sense of gratification and value.
SOLUTION – A special team was dedicated to monitor all social media and provide individual personal responses to all contact, rather than stock messages.
OUTCOME - A thriving eParticipation presence with personality generated over 5000 comments in the first 7 months.
2. CONTROLLING CONVERSATION
CHALLENGE – The first efforts by Emirates ID to contribute to community discussions on social media tried to overly shape what users were talking about. The result led to an initial backlash from contributors who posted 42% negative comments about Emirates ID.
SOLUTION – Taking on board social media best practice from across the globe, Emirates ID issued guidance that all communications should be unmediated to allow for the free exchange of ideas.
OUTCOME – Happy contributors who provide valuable and constructive feedback to improve Emirates ID services and a 10% rise in positive comments coupled with a 12% fall in negative mentions.
3. FAILURE TO HUMANIZE SOCIAL MEDIA PRESENCE
CHALLENGE – Initially, redesigned channels had a ‘corporate’ feel to their branding and communications that deterred younger Emiratis from contributing and really engaging. Interactions were impersonal.
SOLUTION – Engagement of younger Emiratis in branding sessions and personal involvement of senior figures such as the director general in direct communication with users helped create a more engaging and approachable online presence
OUTCOME – 85% satisfaction with social media channels, up from 58% in 2011