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Ukip could be set to lead on Facebook as Rochester & Strood by-election reaches final stages

With the Rochester & Strood by-election taking place today, which could see previously Conservative MP Mark Reckless take the seat for Ukip, Birdsong has suggested that UKIP could also be set to take over on social media.

The social analytics company has given a snapshot view of the parties' social media standing, revealing that although the Conservatives maintain their position as the most ‘liked’ Political Party on Facebook, Ukip are now the second most popular party.

Meanwhile Labour ranks third, with the Liberal Democrats trailing in fourth place.

Jamie Riddell, founder of Birdsong, said: “Before May, Ukip had less than 100,000 fans. Their successful May European Election marked a watershed for Ukip rocketing their Facebook position to second place. Ukip are now less than 20,000 fans behind the Conservatives.”

Currently the Conservative party has 314,058 Facebook 'likes; while 23,228 people are actively talking about the party on the social network. Ukip has less 'likes' - 291,277 - but more people actively engaging - 57,915 on Facebook, according to Birdsong analytics.

However, Riddell suggested that if Ukip succeeds in today’s by-election, it could overtake the Conservatives in terms of social media followings.

As well as having more fans, the research found that Ukip has more engagement with its followers: 19.88 per cent compared to 7.38 per cent by Conservative Facebook fans.