Today, I’m looking at the social media work of the the Green Party, the last of the parties in my analysis. The winner of the battle is announced at the end of this article. My analysis is an assessment of their use of the social media platforms from my professional perspective.

The measures of this are:

  • The quality of their updates, in-line with best practice. Also an assessment of their creativity.
  • Their communication – are they having conversations or it is just broadcast?
    My key focus will be Facebook and Twitter, as they are still the dominant platforms, especially within politics.

This is not an assessment of their political messaging, policies or stances. I’m focussing on the official and main accounts for the broad parties, i.e. not supporter accounts or regional presences. I’m also not considering the size of their followers or ‘likes’ as this can be misleading due to paid growth. Another area I can’t consider is paid advertising on both platforms as I will not be exposed to it all from all parties.

So, if that is all clear, I’ll get going!

Facebook

Official Facebook Page – facebook.com/thegreenparty

Update quality

This looks at the use of imagery, copy and video to create impactful and engaging updates. For all parties I will look at their three latest posts (original posts, not shares from other Pages). I’m viewing the Green Party Page on 07/03/2015, the latest update is…

Screen Shot 2015-03-17 at 09.22.35

This update urges people to donate to an ‘appeal’ for the chance to attend a dinner. The use of a graphic is nice, it stands out well and gets the messages across. However, if this had been sized to 1200 x 1200 pixels, it would have taken up more ‘real estate’ in user’s newsfeeds. The copy is a tad on the long side and could have been reduced by incorporating some of the key info into the image. A solid if not awe-inspiring update.

Update score – 7/10

Next…

Screen Shot 2015-03-17 at 09.30.49

This update lets people know that the party leader will be appearing on a debate program on the BBC. They’ve taken the link from the BBC website which makes it easy for people to click through and find the required information. I like the fact that they’ve tagged the other parties, the TV channel  and the programme, this creates interaction with them and could lead to further reach. Aside from those points, it’s a fairly standard update, like many I have seen, it does what it says on the tin.

Update score – 6/10

Final Facebook update…

Screen Shot 2015-03-17 at 09.36.47

On the surface, this update is fine, as of course, they need their supporters to be registered to vote. I do think they’ve missed a trick here though. They could have created a custom graphic that communicated their key messages around why a person should vote Green, giving this update a dual purpose. They still could have included a link within the update copy in order to urge people to register. The sentiment is right,  however with a little thought, this could have had a bigger impact.

Update score – 5/10

Update average score – 6/10

Responsiveness 

This gauge looks at the responsiveness to questions, comments etc from the Page admins. Again, I’ll look at their last three posts. This isn’t suitable for a numerical score, so will be allocated on a very poor to excellent basis.

The Green Page receives far less comments per update when compared to the other parties – their Facebook following is relatively small, and of course there’s the fact that they have generally less supporters (although that could be debated Vs Lib Dems). I see this as an opportunity though – they should be actively responding, asking questions and debating as the time required to do this would be far less when compared to other parties. However, size of following and supporters has not been a factor in my responsiveness gauge for the other parties, so I must disregard this. They have responded to one comment on the BBC3 show update re the audience sample, so they have at least made some effort. Outside of this, there’s no responses in the other assessed updates.  The Green Party sneaks a ‘poor’ rating here.

Responsiveness rating – poor

Green’s use of Facebook is fairly standard however they have beaten some of their opponents. Just a little more imagination would have helped their cause.

 Twitter

Official account – twitter.com/TheGreenParty

As with Facebook, I’m looking at the last three tweets from the account, focussed on original updates and not including re-tweets. I feel this approach is fair as it represents a reasonable level of content that a user would absorb.

Tweet 1

Screen Shot 2015-03-17 at 09.55.52

This tweet updates the first Facebook update I looked at earlier. A simple resize of the image to 1024 x 512 pixels would have allowed the image to be fully loaded within the in-tweet image box and removed the slight crop. The copy is sharp enough, however there’s no use of hashtags to help increase reach. It would have been easy to make this far more effective.

Update score – 5/10

Next…

Screen Shot 2015-03-17 at 10.00.40

This Tweet is a reaction to Ofcom not considering Green to be a major party (they ‘beat’ the Lib Dems in total vote in the last GE). They’re quite right to respond, but the tweet could have been better. Again, no hashtags to amplify their message. They could have created a simple image with one or two key facts that show why they should be considered ‘major’, this would have increased the impact and reach of the message. Lazy!

Update score – 3/10

Final tweet…

Screen Shot 2015-03-17 at 10.08.40

This tweet is crying out for an image, even just of Keith Taylor, the MEP hosting the events. If you look at Keith’s profile, his header image advertises the event dates, it would’ve been easy to cut this image for Twitter and add it to the tweet. No hashtags and this stupid habit we’ve seen from all parties of adding ‘.@username’ at the start of tweets. ‘Join @GreenKeithMEP at our events etc’ would look better and serve the same purpose.

Update score – 3/10

Update average score – 4/10

Responsiveness 

I’ve looked over 24 hours of in-bound tweets. Within this period, they’ve received a number of questions that have gone unanswered.

Responsiveness rating – very poor

As with all parties, the Greens have let themselves down when comparing Twitter to Facebook. Must do better!

Summary

The Green Party have failed to show the energy in the social media approach that I’ve noticed many of their supporters have. It’s all just ‘ok’, but that’s a syndrome in political social media in the UK.

The winner?

That brings my party by party analysis to an end. I’ve really debated with myself about covering the SNP and Plaid Cymru and have decided that it wouldn’t be right to include them in this analysis. While they may have a bearing on the ultimate election result via potential pacts and alliances, only those in Scotland and Wales can vote for them, which means I shouldn’t be assessing them alongside the UK-wide parties. I hope that’s fair and makes sense. So, which party has triumphed? Scores on the boards:

Conservatives 

  • Updates across Twitter and Facebook –  combined average score  – 4.5/10
  • Responsiveness – very poor on both Facebook and Twitter

Liberal Democrats

  • Updates across Twitter and Facebook –  combined average score – 6.5/10
  • Responsiveness – Facebook poor and Twitter very poor

Labour

  • Updates across Twitter and Facebook –  combined score – 4/10
  • Responsiveness – very poor on both Facebook and Twitter

UKIP

  • Updates across Twitter and Facebook –  combined score – 4.5/10
  • Responsiveness – very poor on both Facebook and Twitter

The Green Party

  • Updates across Twitter and Facebook –  combined score – 5/10
  • Responsiveness – poor on Facebook and very poor on Twitter

Final league table:

  • Liberal Democrats (6.5 updates, ‘poor’ response on Facebook boosts them)
  • The Green Party (5 updates, ‘poor’ response on Facebook boosts them)
  • UKIP and Conservatives (4.5 updates, very poor response)
  • Labour (4 updates, very poor response)

The Liberal Democrats are the winners of my General Election 205 Social Media Battle! 

Well done to the Lib Dems, they won a tough battle of mediocrity. I wonder when the penny will drop with all parties? Social media is a huge opportunity, and I’ve yet to see it being used to maximum effect by a UK-based party. I’ll be publishing an article soon entitled ‘What’s Wrong With Political Social Media in the UK’, where I’ll share my thoughts on why it’s being so poorly delivered.

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