There is no broader market segment than the electorate and in the run up to the first fully digital election it pays for political parties to have a strong following and voice on the most popular platforms – namely Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Our research shows how the main political parties have been using social media and found the Tories in the lead when it comes to Facebook and LinkedIn followers, while Labour are in control on Twitter (which came out top in the Mirror’s online poll as the most important platform for politics). But when it comes to Google’s challenger Google+ platform the Lib Dems are in the lead with a massive 41% of aggregated likes – trouncing the Tories into second place with just 28%.
While the Lib Dem strategy on Google+ plus may well have been conceived as a genius means of outmanoeuvring the major parties’ ownership of the ‘digital electorate’ on Facebook et al, it is ultimately a hollow victory. The platform achieves only seven minutes engagement per user per month on average, with only 35% of registered users active at all.
We have come a long way since the first televised Party Election Broadcasts of 1951, with voters sending more than 1.5 million Tweets during the #LeadersDebate with #BattleforNumber10 trending worldwide. Politicians who fail to channel resources toward the strongest social media platforms are missing a trick and probably missing out on votes in the process.