The Nigel Farage factor: UKIP is the most talked about party on Twitter

UKIP has been the most talked about UK political party on Twitter over the past three months, new research shows.

The party had a 30 per cent share of conversation, followed by 29 per cent for Labour, 25 per cent for the Conservatives and 11 per cent for the Scottish National Party (SNP), according to the study by We Are Social.

However, when it comes to the party leaders’ share of voice on social, the Conservatives are out in front. The Prime Minister leads with a 32 per cent share of voice, followed by UKIP’s Nigel Farage with 25 per cent.

Labour’s Ed Miliband takes third place with 20 per cent, followed by the SNP’s Nicola Sturgeon with 12 per cent, the Lib Dems' Nick Clegg with eight per cent and Natalie Bennett of the Green Party with three per cent.

"There really is no stand-out party on social media at the moment; all parties could be using social media to communicate and engage in much deeper ways with voters," said Paul Greenwood, senior research and insight director at We Are Social.

"Current Twitter conversation volumes show that UKIP has stolen a march on the larger parties, partly due to having its first two MPs elected to Parliament in that timeframe. Across its social channels, UKIP looks to be a strong challenger brand, getting its tone of voice right for its audience.

"However, looking at this in a more holistic manner, Labour seems more at home than most other parties on Twitter, with a consistent tone of voice and wide reach, talking about the issues that matter to the public. But using this as a prediction for any kind of result at the election is dangerous at this stage, especially given that most social media predictions were dramatically wrong about the Scottish Referendum."

Yesterday PRWeek reported on research from We Are Social that found the Conservatives are favouring Facebook in their election campaign while Labour is more adept at using Twitter.

Greenwood added: "On Facebook, the Conservative Party’s content is more engaging than Labour’s and appeals to a wider audience. However, Twitter doesn’t feel like a natural home for the Tories; they’re too formal and have a much lower posting frequency than the other parties.

"So, at the moment on social media, it’s the challenger parties that seem to be making a play for the potential voters on social, with the Green Party and UKIP performing well, albeit often from a smaller base making percentage growth easier. While the SNP’s growth has been fairly strong, it is hard to judge because its social channels have been positively affected by the referendum even after September.

"When looking at the main political parties it’s a draw between the Conservatives and Labour – one outperforming the other on Facebook and Twitter respectively. Overall, the Lib Dems appear to be out of the social media race and the SNP is an unknown. So very much like the election in general, the social media performance of the parties makes it difficult to pick a winner with any degree of certainty."

Despite the party being a big subject of conversation on Twitter, a PRWeek poll in December found that two-thirds of PR professionals did not think UKIP's PR strategy was up to scratch.

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