Who’s winning the social media battle in the UK election and does it matter?

I’ve recently moved to a new apartment. When you’re moving, there are lots of things to sort out. Internet being one of them. After spending more than 5 hours on the phone over the course of 2 weeks with an internet provider, and still not having internet, I decided to take my frustrations public. I sent them an angry tweet! And lo-and-behold within 2 hours I had the internet up and running. This really showed me the power of social media and it got me thinking – is it going to be a deciding factor in this years election.

With election fever well and truly sweeping the UK, I thought it would be fun to take a look at who’s winning the battle on social media. To do this, I used import.io to build APIs to the Facebook and Twitter pages to each party to gather the amount of likes, followers and tweets each party has. Then I used Tableau to give you a visual representation of the winners and losers on social media.

As you can see, the clear winners in the Facebook department are the Conservative party. Most surprising from my point of view however, are UKIP who have currently around 382k likes on Facebook (the figures might have changed since I wrote this article!)

What’s more interesting is when we compare Facebook likes to polling numbers.

As you can see, the Facebook likes don’t appear to correlate with the predicted votes for the country. Both the Conservatives and Labour parties are predicted roughly the same number of votes, but have radically different social media numbers. Which leads me to believe that although in some respects social media is powerful (it certainly helped me get internet), it’s not the most reliable metric when judging who will win the election. Interestingly though, it was recently reported that the Conservatives are spending up to £100,000 a month on their Facebook page. It’s clearly working to get them loads of likes, but is it really worth the money is when you consider how little relevance Facebook likes seem to have?

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