How Social Media Is Shaping The UK General Election 2015

| April 27, 2015

As the UK General Election reaches its climactic finish, who is winning the campaign through the use of Social Media. Facebook & Twitter have played a huge role in UK politics, with all UK political parties, yes even UKIP, using it for everyday messages about just how well their campaigns are going. What are some of the statistics behind the social media, and who is really winning the war of this digital political world?

General Election 2015

General Election 2015

Social Politics

The social media monitoring platform Yatterbox has carried out analysis on social media and found that there has been more than 31,000 tweets from all political parties combined. Averaging out at roughly 24 tweets for each candidate.

Political advertising is widely banned in Britain, with strict rules governing party election broadcast. Paid for TV ads and radio broadcasts are banned. There are none of these restrictions when it comes to internet advertising however. This is why all political parties have been spending records amounts advertising through platforms such as Google Adwords, Youtube, and Facebook’s advertising platform. These campaigns have become similar to U.S. adverts in their style of attack on other parties.

Carl Miller who is the research director of the Center for the Analysis of Social Media from the think tank Demos has commented that through their research they have found 34% of young people have said their decision on who they vote for will be influenced by social media.

Both main political parties are being advised by former Obama advisors, trying to mimic the presidents successful social media election campaign. Labour is being advised by David Axelrod, and the conservatives have hired Jim Messina for their campaign advice.

Labour Party

Labour  Party Logo

Labour Party Logo

When we examine the Labour party we find that outright their volume of activity wins hands down. Labour candidates on average are posting almost twice as much as their respective Conservative candidates on both twitter and facebook. Since April 1st, Labour have made over 14,000 posts on twitter and facebook.

Labour were found to have mentioned the NHS, tax, and housing more than the conservative party, by a large majority. The NHS alone was more than double the number of mentions. Labour tweeting about it more than 5,700 times, and the Conservatives Mentioning it only around 2,300 times. On tax labour were found to have mentioned that in more than 3,600 tweets, and the conservatives had tweeted about it 2,200 times.

Ed Miliband managed to get himself his own trending hashtag on Twitter called #Milifandom. This was followed by outpourings of love for the leader from an army of teenage fans. Someone even started a cool Ed Miliband spoof twitter account, with photoshopped images of Ed’s face on hunky and well known celebrities. Labour would win the election if it was based on Twitter tweets. Labour dominates Twitter with more than 205,000 followers.

Conservative Party

Conservative Party Logo

Conservative Party Logo

Since the economy has been the main part of the message from David Cameron and the Conservatives, it comes as no surprise that the economy was mentioned in more than 1,700 tweets by the Conservatives, with Labour with approximately 650 tweets, trailing behind even the Lib Dems.

The Conservative campaign ads have been depicting Ed Miliband as a socialist, who would be reckless with the economy, and lead the country into chaos. A post on facebook said that if Labour were voted into power, the country would look like France, with a sagging economy, and socialist government.

The conservative party spend on Facebook ads every month runs into more than £100,000 ($150,000) a month. From this the conservatives have amassed a total of more than 423,000 likes, followed by UKIP, who have approximately 410,000 likes. The Conservatives would win the election if it was based on Facebook likes. Conservatives aren’t able to match Labours Twitter domination though, with only 152,000 Tory followers.

Minority Parties

UKIP Plaid Cymru Greens

UKIP Plaid Cymru Greens

Even the smaller parties in the Uk election have packed a punch with their output on social media among the most prolific between the main parties. Plaid Cymru, the Green Party, and UKIP, all voicing their strategies, approaches, and opinions about what they would do about the countries issues, despite having considerably less candidates standing for election.

When taking into account the number of candidates by party on social media platforms such as twitter the results about who was talking the most about the different aspects of the country were vastly different. Plaid Cymru won when it came to the economy, and the deficit. While the Greens dominated the topics of energy, and housing, leaving UKIP to beat everyone unsurprisingly with Europe, and immigration, but also on defence.

The only real viral video of the campaign has been the Youtube video by the Greens, depicting a boy band made up of the male political leaders called Change The Tune. It managed to go viral with more than 772,000 views. Beating by a massive landslide any of the other political parties youtube videos.



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