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Pandemic intensifies UK Parliament’s reliance on social media

 New polling from DGA Interel UK/YouGov reveals MPs reliance on social media is increasing – with over half checking their social media more than 10 times a day.

Public affairs and strategic communications consultancy, DGA Interel UK, is today publishing the results of a poll of Members of Parliament exploring how the pandemic has impacted their social media habits.

Over 100 MPs were surveyed by YouGov in July 2021 and the research found:

  • Half of MPs check social media more than 10 times a day
  • 95% of MPs check social media at least once a day, three-quarters check at least five times a day
  • Half of MPs say their usage of social media has increased during the pandemic
  • Over half of MPs see social media as important for engaging with members of the public

How often to MPs check social media?

DGA Interel UK’s research has revealed that 95% of MPs check social media at least once a day.

Three-quarters check at least five times a day: 93% of Labour MPs check their accounts five times a day or more, with the Conservatives on 89%.

Labour MPs are significantly more dependent on their devices – with 54% of those responding saying they check social media more than 10 times a day compared to just 36% of Conservative MPs.

Only 2% of MPs say they don’t use social media, or that their team uses it for them.

And how does that compare to before the pandemic?

Half of MPs say their usage of social media has increased during the pandemic, with just 1% saying they use it less.

50% of Conservatives and 52% of Labour MPs say they use social media more than before the pandemic.

Conservative MPs have increased their use of social media the fastest, with 19% saying they are using it a lot more than before the pandemic in comparison to 14% of Labour MPs.

How are MPs using social media?

 The survey revealed a huge disparity in how Labour and Conservative MPs use social media.

Taken as a group, over half of MPs (55%) see social media as an important tool for engaging with the public. But that figure stands at 65% for Labour MPs versus just 43% for Conservatives.

Just shy of half of MPs use social media as a key tool to keep up to date with business, charities and other key stakeholders – with 58% of Labour MPs thinking this was an important use of social media, compared to 39% of Conservatives.

55% of Labour MPs use social media as an important tool to inform their views and campaigns; with 28% of Conservatives saying the same.

Despite this divergence in approach, there was broad agreement when it came to engaging with members of the press: 30% of Labour and 28% of Conservative MPs felt social media was useful for this purpose. Nearly half of all MPs felt that it wasn’t important to engage with press online.

Mario Creatura, former Digital Special Adviser to the Prime Minister in 10 Downing Street, joined DGA Interel UK in February to lead its Digital Unit.

Mario Creatura, Head of Digital for DGA Interel UK said:

“DGA Interel’s poll clearly shows that Members of Parliament are spending more and more of their time surfing social media – to listen to their constituents, engage with businesses and inform their views on key issues.

“Not understanding how the Facebooks and Twitters of the world subtly shape public opinion, which in turn hugely influences our elected representatives, is no longer an option. Wherever your interest lies, it’s clear that there is only one direction of travel: jump on the digital travelator and try to keep up, or else risk disconnection and irrelevance.”

DGA Interel UK’s Digital Unit serves high-profile clients across a wide-range of industries. The Unit focuses on developing new campaign channels and sits at the heart of Interel’s integrated communications offering. It offers digital campaigning advice, social media strategy and website development among other digital services.

To explore how the Digital Unit can help your organisation, email DigitalUnitUK@InterelGroup.com.