David Cameron, the incumbent Prime Minister, pictured shortly before changing his Facebook status

'Digital election' results split according to social media platform

The relative performance of UK political parties on social media varies across specific platforms, with right-leaning parties currently enjoying the largest followings, according to cross-party and cross-platform analysis by marketing recruitment company EMR.

The Tory party is currently winning the 2015 ‘digital election’ overall, with the largest aggregate social media following across four major networks - Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+.

EMR’s research examined the social media presence of the seven main political parties (those currently invited to take part in the TV election debates), using their social media following on Wednesday 25 February 2015.

The findings show the Tories have the biggest aggregate following across Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+ with almost 541,000, 24 per cent of the total 2.2m ‘digital votes’ across the four social media platforms.

UKIP occupies second place with almost 445,000 followers or 20 per cent of the total, while Labour comes in third with 19 per cent, 122,000 behind the Conservatives.

The Liberal Democrats and Green parties are both tied on 12 per cent of the aggregated following, separated by only 8,000 followers/likes, with the SNP closely behind with 11 per cent.

Looking at individual social platforms, the Tory party leads on Facebook, with a 26 per cent share according to the comparative number of Likes. However, UKIP runs them surprisingly close, with a 25 per cent share. Labour has a 16 per cent share, with the Liberal Democrats behind both the SNP and the Green parties, attracting only eight per cent.

On Twitter, Labour holds the majority, based on followers, holding 27 per cent of the digital vote, leading the Tories at 20 per cent and Green Party at 16 per cent.

As may be expected, the Tory party is well-supported on LinkedIn, it being a predominantly business-oriented social media platform. The Tories took 47 per cent of the digital vote based on LinkedIn followers, streets ahead of the Lib Dems in second with 17 per cent and Labour third with 16 per cent.

Some good news for the Lib Dems comes from Google+, where it enjoys a huge majority, scoring 41 per cent of the digital vote, ahead of the Conservatives on 28 per cent and Labour on 13 per cent.

Commenting on the survey findings, Simon Bassett, managing director at EMR, said: “The flurry of digital activity to accompany every pre-election promise shows that political strategists are taking heed of what communications professionals have long known: that an effective digital offering is fundamental to any winning campaign.

“The Tories have an impressive lead in terms of aggregated following on social media, with their vision for Britain being shared with almost a quarter of the politically engaged ‘digital electorate’. With the race hotting up, it will be interesting to see if Labour is willing to spend big in order to close this gap.

“The less established parties may well be pining for a digital democracy following the results of our research. A Parliament built on social media would see the Greens take 76 seats and UKIP 130 – many more than they are likely to win under the current electoral system.”

The ‘digital election’ results in full:

Digital elections table  

Note: figures in brackets show the number of House of Commons seats this share of votes would secure.

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