A Bournemouth University academic has been working with social media analysts SoTrender to evaluate the social media activity of the UK’s main political parties in advance of the UK elections.

Dr Darren Lilleker, an expert in political communication, has been helping the team to analyse Facebook, Twitter and YouTube output to see who is winning the election battle on social media networks.

Dr Lilleker said, “Social media may not have an impact upon the outcome of an election but, to some extent, the activities that parties and citizens engage in on platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube may be a reflection of broader political attitudes and behaviours which have resonance at this or subsequent elections.

“We find political parties approaching social media in different ways but with different returns on their investment. Labour are the most interactive and the have the most engaged following but tend to over-communicate.

“The Green Party’s output appears to indicate that small parties can gain a following and build awareness through clever use of social media and by developing attractive content. Some users appear to be active across profiles suggesting they are either aiding their choice or are an activist on one party profile and trolling an opponent.”

The project, titled ‘General Election 2015 on social media’ gives an honest account of each party’s performance on social media. The Liberal Democrats have the lowest following on Facebook, and second lowest on Twitter, while the Conservatives come out on top for Facebook followers, with the UK Independence Party trailing in second. On Twitter, the Labour Party have the highest following, with the Conservatives in second.

The report was also quick to praise the efforts of the Green Party and their main campaign video ‘Change the Tune’, stating it had the widest reach of any post by another party.

Download the report below to read it in full. SoTrender-general-election2015