Gordon Brown needs to consider his social media reputation

Following on from Friday’s post on Labour’s Twitter lead, research says that Gordon Brown has a lot of ground to make up with Britain’s 30m online social network users as he looks to make his keynote speech at the Labour Party conference this week.

Of course, his social media reputation is not the only thing he and Labour needs (a fight back would be nice, but not the place).

Social media agency Yomego carried out a Social Media Reputation audit (a new service it is launching) of the Prime Minister’s online reputation looking across the spectrum at Facebook, Bebo, Myspace, Twitter and YouTube alongside other social spaces such as blogs, comments, ratings, reviews and user-generated content.

While the party might have more MPs Twittering and engaging with social media, David Cameron’s reputation in the world of Twitter, Facebook and the blogging community is ranked 20 points higher, which is of course ironic give what he thinks for instance of Twitter (“Too many twits might make a twat.”) although he really should come clean about Facebook as well (I’m just sitting here drumming my fingers waiting for that one).

Out of a possible 100, the Prime Minister scores 42.59 in the audit, which measures the volume and newness of social media chatter and whether it is positive or negative.

To be honest the recent week’s that Brown has been having that is almost better than expected. From here on out, and with his speech this week, the party and Brown have to get that higher.

According to Yomego, in Brown’s case there was lots of noise, but opinion was almost universally unenthusiastic with his “sentiment” score lower than that achieved by British National Party leader Nick Griffin (seriously? I find that hard to believe, but that is what the agency says).

Tory leader David Cameron rated a score of 62.49 with the level of noise on social media networks achieving similar volume and recency to the PM, but the overall sentiment rating more than three times better than his Labour counterpart. Well the Tories are between 13 and 15 points ahead in the polls depending on who you look at so that is going to happen.

A ray of light for Brown comes from the Liberal Democrat who should be soaking up the anti Brown/Labour chatter, but while leader Nick Clegg scores a respectable 54.13 he is let down by a low noise rating. You mean no one is talking Clegg? Apparently he is not exactly inspiring the Lib Dems to new heights as the party’s recent conference appeared to demonstrate (either that or Lib Dems don’t chatter/make much noise in social media).

Steve Richards, MD of Yomego, says that the audits carried out so far have underlined how important it is for brands (political parties) to manage that social media noise and sentiment around them.

“The noise around your brand may be deafening but if that noise is overwhelmingly negative, its reputation will suffer real damage. Conversely, if positive sentiment about your brand is drowned out by your competitors, you won’t see the benefits.

“For politicians, with nearly 30m people in the UK alone regularly using a social network, social media reputation is an important barometer for measuring whether their message is getting through and how it’s being received. That’s particularly true as we enter the party conference season and all parties start gearing up for a general election next year.”

Other stuff thrown up by the audit, but not strictly earth shattering (but here you are) are the high scores achieved by Barack Obama who scored 77.79 (shocker – he is the social media king, or president as he likes to be known) and French Premier Nicolas Sarkozy achieving 66.15. Does he Twitter? Do the French? I’m sure they do, but weirdly I don’t think I have ever followed/been followed by someone from across the channel. The rest of Europe yes, France no.

I digress, um here’s a bit of how they did the Social Media Reputation audit, which Yomego says is a first measurement system combining quantity and quality, with insight and will be officially launched at Mipcom 2009 (5th – 9th October).

The result is a total score out of 100, representing an average of the level and freshness of noise generated and the nature and recency of sentiment behind what’s being expressed.


  • http://www.pr-media-blog.co.uk Jon Clements

    Interesting post, Gordon.
    The debate over whether a) Labour really understands social media and b) what difference it will make to them in the run up to the next election inspired some heated debate following the post we did after interviewing Labour’s “Twitter Tsar”, Kerry McCarthy:


    The risk that politicians make by staking a claim to social media savvy is that their capability is not only there to be analysed (what they say on Twitter and blogs is freely available to anyone with internet access) but also subject to equally public support or ridicule. The ability to criticise them in public is no longer the preserve of professional journalists.

  • Gordon Macmillan

    Thanks for the comment Jon I read/enjoyed and linked to your blog in my last post and you are spot on in what you say, which is why whatever Labour does must be done carefully and with thought as it can and does blow up quickly in people’s faces exactly because as you said people can equally support or ridicule.

  • http://www.burning-head.com Leo Ryan

    interesting? Plausible? Who can tell, unless we know how are these figures arrived at?

    And no, this line on their web site doesn’t do the job: “It is worked out via a formula that uses data from manual and automated processes.” nor do subsequent similarly opaque statements about “latest automated natural language technology,”.

    If I sound a little cranky its because if we want social technologies and environments are to be used effectively we need to be able to substantiate these kinds of figures, otherwise we risk being accused (and possibly guilty?) of gimmickry, and quackery.

    And surely marketing has seen enough of that?

  • http://www.yomego.com Joe Hughes

    Just wanted to say firstly thanks for picking up on the report, we will also being doing a post speech score for both Gordon Brown and David Cameron after their respective conference speeches and will publish these over the next couple of weeks.

    Just in answer in Leo’s point I couldn’t agree more the world of online reporting can be a nightmare and bad scoring systems harms us all, as potential clients trust the whole industry less.

    In terms of how the score is calculated in simple terms we start with a monitoring tool based on spidering content, the results of this are loaded into a reporting system and categorised based on the platform the results come from.

    This process provides the raw data, This data is then processed through natural language filters to gauge sentiment. This sentiment is then manually checked as natural language filters aren’t perfect yet.

    From this raw data the score is calculated and weighted based on target audiences.

    If anyone wants to go through it in more detail drop me an email joe@yomego.com


    Joe Hughes
    Research and Insight manager Yomego

  • http://www.burning-head.com Leo Ryan

    Hey Joe, thanks for responding, I’d love to hear more about the detail behind this and will drop you a line.

  • http://www.louishalpern.com Louis Halpern

    Interesting that Joe doesn’t include engagement in the scoring here.

    AND I’m not sure the UK political parties have really learned from the US presidential election. The Obama team understood that that they had not only be in the “space” but get also their supporters active in the social media space. I’m sure that, like most of the social media industry, the political parties have a plan for their visible spokespeople but social media works because it provides a channel for real people to debate.