A week on from the June General Election and Britain’s political future is facing fresh uncertainty. What was meant to be a clear win for the Conservatives, turned into one of the most surprising and memorable elections to date, with the Conservatives losing the majority and seeing Labour soar up the polls with their “for the many, not the few” manifesto. However, it wasn’t just the political parties’ manifestos which were catching peoples’ eyes; social media arguably took the front seat in this election, so with this in mind we’re taking a look at how the parties managed to do this.
Corbyn and May both saw a big increase in their followings and engagement on Twitter.
Corbyn’s personal following grew by 45% from 850,000 to 1.2 million on Twitter, while May’s grew by 20% from 350,000 to 420,000.
Scrolling through Corbyn’s Twitter, you’ll find several tweets branded with Labour’s key message during the election: ‘for the many, not the few’. Labour’s tweets focused mostly on social issues, such as healthcare and housing, and were shared almost three times more than posts by the Tories.
In contrast, May focused on a “strong and stable leadership” and reinforced her policies on terrorism with her 4 actions to tackle Islamist extremism.
Both parties relied heavily on video marketing to get across their message on Twitter and often these were the tweets that received the most engagement.
In terms of social media, Facebook arguably took the main stage in this election.
Once again, Labour saw a 75% increase in the number of page likes over the general election period, while the Conservatives saw a rise of just 10%.
Posts on the Labour Facebook page were shared more than one million times and received more than 1.7 million likes between the election being called and the polls closing on June 8, whilst posts, pictures and videos by the Conservative party were shared 360,000 times in total during the same period.
On Facebook, Labour tried to appeal to the younger voters with their key manifesto promises, such as scrapping tuition fees and bringing back student grants. Labour also managed to win over young voters with its variety of celebrity endorsements, including the likes of Lily Allen and Billy Bragg.
Meanwhile, the Conservatives focused on the issue of Brexit, a strong economy and once again providing “stable and secure leadership” for Britain.
Both parties also took full advantage of Facebook ads to target particular constituencies. In the last two days of campaigning, Labour adverts were reportedly displayed to voters in 464 constituencies, compared to Tory adverts in just 205. It’s also been reported that the Tories spent more than £1 million on negative ads targeted at Corbyn, in an attempt to win the majority.
Until recently, Facebook and Twitter were the main places for politicians; however, Snapchat most definitely saw a rise in its status in this General Election.
The app; which has more than 10 million daily UK users, worked closely with Electoral Commission to design geofilters; which would encourage young voters to register and share their vote.
A record 250,000 young people signed up to vote in the 24 hours before the election deadline.
The parties were also quick to utilise the power of video marketing with YouTube.
Labour provided its 22,000 subscribers with several videos a week, featuring interviews with celebrities, as well as Corbyn himself and on key issues such as Brexit and the NHS.
In contrast, the Conservatives took a slightly different approach for its 21,000 subscribers, with videos highlighting the weaknesses of the Labour party. Their most popular video, entitled ‘On June 9th, this man could be Prime Minister’ received over 1.3 million views in the space of 3 weeks.
It’s clear that social media is becoming ever more present in politics and appears to be getting more people involved. However, will Corbyn and May be able to keep up this momentum across their social media channels once the furore surround the General Election dies down and the politicians have to knuckle down and start running the country? Only time will tell.
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