Which unions are the most influential in social media in 2013?

by / Thursday, 21 November 2013 / Published in Blog
Trade Union

In 2012 I carried out some research to see which TUC affiliated unions are the most influential in social media. I published the results on my website in a league table. It’s been a year since that first survey, so I’ve updated the results to see how things have changed, enabling unions to measure their progress over the past year.

It’s difficult to measure social media influence. Twitter is arguably the key social media platform for unions, and also the most open for analysis, so this research is based on Twitter alone.

There are two main services for measuring the influence of a Twitter account: Kred and Klout. They use different criteria, and so I’ve taken an average score weighted equally between these two services. Both Kred and Klout look at indicators such as the number of followers, tweets, retweets and mentions in other people’s tweets.

The full results are below:

Union Username Klout (out of 100) Kred influence (out of 1000) Average (out of 100) Notes
1 (1) Unite @unitetheunion 84 902 87.1
2 (3) UNISON @unisontweets 65 883 76.65
3 (2) PCS @pcs_union 62 897 75.35
4 (15) PFA @pfa 60 870 73.5
5 (5) Equity @EquityUK 65 798 72.4
6 (6) UCU @ucu 65 796 72.3
7 (4) NUT @NUTonline 64 Privacy settings do not allow Kred access Tied for 7th place. Estimated position based on Klout score
7 (26) FBU @fbunational 64 Privacy settings do not allow Kred access. Tied for 7th place. Estimated position based on Klout score.
9 (18) CWU @CWUnews 61 783 69.65
10 (7) NUJ @NUJofficial 60 784 69.2  Tied for 10th place
10 (12) NASUWT @NASUWT 60 784 69.2  Tied for 10th place
12 (9) Musicians’ Union @WeAreTheMU 60 776 68.8
13 (13) Chartered Society of Physiotherapy @thecsp 60 770 68.5
14 (8) The Writers’ Guild of Great Britain @TheWritersGuild 59 773 68.15
15 (10) RMT @RMTunion 59 771 68.05
16 (14) BDA @BrDieteticAssoc 59 769 67.95
17 (11) BECTU @bectu 58 774 67.7
18 (19) ATL @ATLUnion 59 745 66.75
19 (21) BFAWU @IanBFAWU 55 763 65.65
20 (25) BALPA @BALPApilots 58 720 65
21 (24) GMB @GMB_union 53 757 64.35
22 (17) Community @CommunityUnion 52 751 63.55
23 (16) Prospect @ProspectUnion 52 747 63.35
24 (23) ASLEF @ASLEFunion 52 735 62.75
25 (20) TSSA @TSSAunion 51 740 62.5
26 (22) AFA CWA @afa_cwa 54 706 62.3
27 (35) NAPO @Napo_News 51 708 60.9
28 (28) EIS @EISUnion 48 706 59.3
29 (27) Nautilus Intl @nautilusint 48 704 59.2
30 (32) Society of Radiographers @SCoRMembers 50 682 59.1
31 (29) USDAW @UsdawUnion 47 695 58.25
32 (30) Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists @SCP_PodiatryUK 44 655 54.75
33 (31) Accord @GedNichols 42 667 54.35
34 (-) FDA @FDA_union 42 622 52.1
35 (33) UCAC @AthrawonCymru 41 617 51.35
36 (34) AEP @katefallonaep 42 593 50.65 Closest to an official account
37 (38) BIOS @BIOS59799033 40 586 49.3
38 (-) Unity @UnityUnion 28 618 44.9
39 (36) NACO @NACOtradeunion 31 537 42.35
40 (-) UCATT @UCATTunion 36 407 38.35
41 (37) URTU @URTUonline Not used recently enough for scoring. 340 Estimated position based on Kred score.
42 (-) NASS @NASSnewsinfo 19 161 17.55
43 (-) NGSU @TimPoil 18 120 15
Advance No Twitter account
Aegis No Twitter account
BACM-TEAM No Twitter account
BSU No Twitter account
HCSA No Twitter account
NACODS No Twitter account
NUM No Twitter account
POA No Twitter account
SURGE No Twitter account
OURS No Twitter account
YISA No Twitter account

Sources: Klout.com & Kred.com, November 2013.

Unite is still in the top spot by a large margin, with very impressive metrics that compare favourably against most high profile celebrity accounts. Unite’s performance on Twitter is really impressive, and goes to shows how effective unions can be in social media. Unison move up to 2nd place, pushing PCS down to 3rd. The PFA is one of the biggest risers – they have jumped from 15th in last year’s survey to 4th place.

Equity and UCU stay in 5th and 6th place respectively, while the NUT drop to joint 7th and the FBU jump from 26th to joint 7th. The CWU have also significantly improved their Twitter presence, going from 18th to 9th, while the NASUWT and the  NUJ completes the top 10.

Biggest risers

Union Positions moved up
FBU 19
PFA 11
CWU 9
NAPO 8

Biggest falls

Union Positions moved down
Prospect 7
BECTU, Writers Guild of Great Britain 6
Community, RMT, TSSA 5
Most unions have improved their Twitter metrics over the last year, and it’s noticeable that many of the unions that have dropped down the table are the ones that have stayed still.

Another interesting development is that more unions have started using Twitter in the last 12 months. Last year, 38 of the 54 TUC-affiliated unions had Twitter accounts. Now 43 are using Twitter, including the FDA, and UCATT, who just launched their account in October.

There are, of course, significant limitations with any analysis of this kind:

  • The results are reliant on the effectiveness of Kred and Klout at measuring social media influence.
  • Also, although I’ve based this analysis on Twitter, many unions will be using other platforms, especially Facebook.
  • Some unions may have a strategy where they use multiple Twitter accounts, and this could dilute the influence of the main official account, affecting their position in this analysis.

The results show that most unions are increasingly utilising their Twitter accounts, while five more unions have opened accounts in the past year. Twitter has become a key online tool for unions.

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