On March 22nd, 2010 wrote on the subject of Reputation Management,Social Media.

The Social Media Penetration Of The Major UK Political Parties [INFOGRAPHIC].

With the UK elections fast approaching I thought it would be interesting to take a look at how well the major UK political parties were using social media to connect with voters.

With Barack Obama famously using social media to court the youth vote in the US elections, social media is now a viable  platform for politicians to connect with people on a large scale.

All of the UK parties are maintaining a social media presence, with Facebook pages, Twitter and YouTube accounts prominently linked from their respective websites. To take a snapshot of activity and a gauge of its success I recorded the following metrics,

  • Facebook page friends
  • Twitter followers
  • Twitter tweets
  • Twitter reach
  • Klout score – a measure of Twitter influence
  • Compete score – a measure of website traffic

While all parties get points for maintaining a social presence on the major social sites The Conservatives are way ahead of their competition when it comes to the number of raw followers and the reach of their campaign. The Green Party received the highest Klout score, a measure of their influence and interaction on Twitter.

Interestingly enough the extremist BNP received by far the largest level of traffic to their website, but were one of the lowest scorers when it came to followers and interaction levels – perhaps an indication of voters researching their headline grabbing policies, but a degree of unwillingness to follow and interact with them, will this translate into a lack of votes?

On the whole though the UK parties are doing a fairly poor job of leveraging and interacting with social media users. Compare the Conservatives 23,000 Facebook page friends with Obama’s profile currently over the 7.5 million mark. Even allowing for a smaller population and  lower levels of social media engagement it’s clear that campaigns are failing to achieve what they should be doing. It’s difficult to tell if this is due to campaign mis-management, or simply voter apathy after recent political events.

8 comments on The Social Media Penetration Of The Major UK Political Parties [INFOGRAPHIC]

  1. Richard Falconer says:

    Why are there 3 parties with no seats in Parliament included? Surely the Scottish Nationalists with 10 seats, The Democratic Unionists (8) and Sinn Fein (5 – untaken) have more claim to be major political parties than the BNP etc.?

  2. Mark Edmondson says:

    Yes, agreed – why are UKIP and BNP on here when they haven’t got a seat in Parliment? This could be construed as an attempt to legitimise their presence. If you want a defacto list of ACTUAL political parties in the UK (ok Euro seats aren’t included) – check out the UK Parliment website


  3. Matt says:

    I guess it all depends on how you define major. I thought it would be an interesting comparison to see if their press exposure has translated into social collateral.
    Personally I think it’s encouraging that people seem to be making the effort to educate themselves on their policies, and even more encoraging that this doesn’t seem to have increased their support if this data is anything to go by.

  4. David King says:

    UKIP, Greens and BNP all hold local seats and seats in the European Parliament, to which they were elected by voters. All three parties have a relatively decent chance of putting at least one member in HoC this election. In what way are they not legitimate? All three are national parties with national memberships, whereas Respect, for example, operates mainly out of Tower Hamlets with a handful of councillors, has one seat in Parliament and a couple of other local seats in Birmingham and Newham. Not a very strong argument against including them when you consider the amount of traffic and interest they drive online.

  5. James says:

    Social media penetration of the major UK political parties? The Greens, BNP and UKIP don’t even have any MPs!

  6. Matt says:

    @ James – Thanks for your reply, but sitting MPs aside I would sill consider those three parties to be ‘major’ in terms of vote share, number of constituancies that they’re standing in and also media coverage.

  7. Matthew Dempesy says:

    I think most of the political parties in UK are more interested in increasing their social presence in sites such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube than interacting directly with people. I am of the view that this is an alarming trend. Previously leaders used to meet people personally and this prompted people to discuss their problems with them. This also allowed leaders to get firsthand information about the problems of the masses. But nowadays this is considered less fashionable.
    Mathew | Multivariate Testing

  8. Yinka Oyesanya says:

    Look at where all the flirtations of political parties with the media has got us? Anyone happy with the presence and bullying of the leader of the BNP on the BBC in 2009? Has anyone asked why that happened?

    The political parties should think up great ideas – if they are capable – and not jump into bed with the media which has finally led to The Leveson Inquiry into telephone hacking. How long has this hacking business gone on? Did the government after Sir John Major deliberately allow this to happen in favour of a good press?

    Wrongfully using the media to win an election – through scaremongering of any sort – is, in my view, tantamount to cheating.

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