Which Unions are the most influential in social media?
Following on from the league table of trade union websites I produced earlier this year, I thought I’d look at who the most influential trade unions are in social media.
It’s difficult to measure reputation on the Internet. However, with the increasing importance of social media – including retweets, likes, +1s, replies, and follower counts – the organisations I work with and advise are increasingly keen to keep score and compare themselves with their rivals, be they private sector or non profits. Social media influence is critical to unions as well as companies, and the unions I’ve worked with are very keen to know if there is any way to measure progress.
There are two main services attempting to measure social influence online: Klout and Kred. They analyse social networking systems and provide an estimated influence value by scoring factors such as how many times a tweet is retweeted and how quickly new followers are being added.
I’ve used scores from Klout and Kred to create an average score of online social influence for all the main Twitter accounts of trade unions affiliated to the TUC. I’ve compiled the results into a table below:
|Union||Username||Klout (out of 100)||Kred influence (out of 1000)||Average (out of 100)||Notes|
|8||The Writers’ Guild of Great Britain||@TheWritersGuild||58||750||66.5|
|13||Chartered Society of Physiotherapy||@thecsp||53||732||63.1|
|21||BFAWU||@IanBFAWU||49||695||59.25||Closest one we could find.|
|26||FBU||@fbunational||48||Privacy settings do not allow Kred access.||–||Estimated position based on Klout score.|
|30||Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists||@SCP_PodiatryUK||47||609||53.95|
|32||Society of Radiographers||@SCoRMembers||43||558||49.4|
|34||AEP||@katefallonaep||39||535||46.25||Closest one we could find.|
|37||URTU||@URTUonline||Not used recently enough for scoring.||221||–||Estimated position based on Kred score.|
|–||Advance||No Twitter account|
|–||Aegis||No Twitter account|
|–||BACM-TEAM||No Twitter account|
|–||BSU||No Twitter account|
|–||FDA||No Twitter account|
|–||HCSA||No Twitter account|
|–||NACODS||No Twitter account|
|–||NASS||No Twitter account|
|–||NGSU||No Twitter account|
|–||NUM||No Twitter account|
|–||POA||No Twitter account|
|–||SURGE||No Twitter account|
|–||UCATT||No Twitter account|
|–||Unity||No Twitter account|
|–||OURS||No Twitter account|
|–||YISA||No Twitter account|
Sources: Klout.com & Kred.com, November 2012.
Unite come out top, with an average of 81.8, followed by PCS with 75.35 and Unison with 73.5. This is a good result for PCS in particular, given the comparative size of the union, and Unite enjoy a significant lead in 1st place.
The NUT come next with 69.85, followed by Equity (69.65), UCU (68.95) and the NUJ (67.7). The Writers’ Guild of Great Britain, Musicians’ Union, and the RMT make up the rest of the top 10. A special mention should be given to The Writers’ Guild of Great Britain, who come 8th despite having just 1,333 members. This is a fraction of the membership of many unions, and even though their membership are likely to be influential themselves, this is a very impressive performance.
Some other smaller unions do well, with the BDA and PFA coming 14th and 15th respectively. Conversely some larger unions will be looking to do better, noticeably the GMB in 24th place despite having 600,000 members, and USDAW in 29th with 386,000 members.
Quite a few of the smaller unions have no Twitter presence yet, or at least not one that can be found via their website or search engines. It may be a lack of resources which prevents them from managing a Twitter account. It will be interesting to see how many add accounts over the coming year.
How can unions increase their influence through social media and Twitter?
Any strategies should be developed according to the priorities of the unions, but here are a few simple pointers:
- Spend time managing the Twitter account and posting regular updates.
- Interact and connect with people. Retweet items of interest, start conversations, and follow people.
- Tweet links to the latest news on the union’s website.
- Tweets are limited to 140 characters. Write them well to make the biggest impact possible.
- Use an effective and professional image for your Twitter account.
- Link to the union Twitter account from the union homepage and email signatures. I had to dig around to find a number of the Twitter accounts above as there was no link on the union’s website.
There are, of course, some significant limitations with any analysis of this kind. Most notably:
- I’ve used services that estimate influence and the results will necessarily be limited by how well these systems work.
- I’ve only looked at Twitter, as it’s the only social media network that’s open to full analysis. However, it is clearly the most influential service in social media for organisations like trade unions.
- Some organisations may use multiple Twitter accounts in their communications strategy, diluting the influence of their main account.
Despite these limitations, I hope my analysis is useful for identifying some of the key union Twitter accounts to follow, as well as providing an up-to-date list of the main union Twitter accounts.
If this league table proves useful, I plan to update it once a year. This should hopefully be a useful measure of progress, and it may be interesting to see how rankings have changed a year from now.
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