As the U.K. polling stations near closing time up and down the country today, parties and candidates have been making their final efforts to influence voters. While The Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties are attempting to exploit the followings they have accumulated over the past few weeks on sites such as Facebook and Twitter, the Labour Party appears to have all but abandoned its social media accounts for the day.
Conservatives have also dominated YouTube and election-related Google searches with ad buys.
To coincide with its final e-mail push and a YouTube homepage ad it’s running today, the Conservative party has launched a Facebook application prompting users to easily share its message with their friends across the social network.
Posts on the party’s Facebook page also feature links to blog entries from key Conservative figures, as well as a final polling day video message from party leader David Cameron. In addition, the party’s Facebook and Twitter avatars have been updated today to read, “Vote for Change Today.” The Twitter account is also driving users to the Facebook app.
The Lib Dems’ Facebook presence, meanwhile, features numerous links to information on candidates in individual constituencies, pointing users to their respective blogs or sites. In addition, video content from Liberal figures including party leader Nick Clegg has also been posted throughout the day. The party’s Twitter account features links to similar content, and makes use of a #lovedemocracy hashtag – most likely referencing the party’s commitment to electoral and parliamentary reform. The #iagreewithnick tag, adopted from supporters by the party and used in recent weeks, is also present.
By contrast, Labour’s Facebook page has not been updated at all since around 2:30 pm Wednesday afternoon. Although the party has a far smaller following on the network than both of its major rivals, it is surprising to see it is not even attempting to make use of the channel to mobilize its supporters on polling day itself. Labour’s Twitter account has been updated just once today, stating a claim that the hashtag #imvotinglabour was among trending topics in the U.K. today. At the time of publish, it wasn’t.
The Conservative party is running Google search ads for election-related keywords, including “voting,” “polling stations,” and “how to vote.” Those ads prompt users to “Vote Conservative,” and link to the party’s official site. No rival parties – or indeed advertisers – appear to be running ads on those terms, seemingly giving the party 100 percent share of voice in paid results around those searches. In fact, according to ClickZ’s research, searches for keywords such as “labour” and “lib dems,” also return ads for the conservative party alone, suggesting the other two have pulled their campaigns for polling day.
In addition, the Conservatives claim to have sent 100,000 text messages to supporters today urging them to “vote for change,” and to suggest the party to friends, family, and colleagues.
The graph below depicts how the official Facebook presences of the three major parties have grown over the past few weeks. While the Conservatives and Lib Dems have seen the number of users that “Like” their pages grow at similar rates, Labour’s support on the social network has lagged considerably.
It’s worth noting, however, that numerous unofficial Facebook pages have also gathered a substantial following. For example, a group titled “We got Rage Against the Machine to #1, we can get the Lib Dems into office” currently has over 165,000 followers – twice as many as the Lib Dem’s official Facebook presence.
Follow Jack Marshall on Twitter at @JackMarshall.
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