What is success in social media? Who in the medical product industry is making the best use of social media? For a nice qualitative overview – see "Are Pharmaceutical Companies on Twitter Satisfying Patients' Needs?"
In my mind, the best use of social media is two-fold. First is that the use of social media is not done for its own sake, but in support of a communications plan that is reflective of business goals. Second, in this day and age, it is ensuring that that in a time of crisis, a company has invested in the development of platforms that allow it to track, analyze and respond to developments as they rapidly unfold.
By my count, there are now a dozen pharmaceutical companies using Twitter. Twitter has become an increasingly important tool for communications, particularly fast communications, and allows a user to generate news that others can pick up and send to others. Twitter allows you to reach beyond your immediate constituency to reach those outside your circle – in other words, you reach your friends' friends.
And there are few social media tools that have had so many new applications built around it. In particular, there have been applications built that assess the reach and influence of those who twitter. One of them is Twitalyzer. Twitalyzer is easy to use and assesses a Twitter user in five primary areas:
These are good areas. There may be other valuable things to consider, however. For myself, I think the level to which a user socializes is very important. In other words, if a user is not following anyone at all, there is a low sociability factor.
But for purposes of the analysis today, I used Twitalyzer and identified those companies on Twitter who had the highest influence level and the highest clout factor. All analyses were run on the same day.
Here is how Twitalyzer analyzes influence: They consider the following factors to arrive at your score:
- Relative reach measured by the number of followers;
- Relative authority based on the number of times one is re-tweeted;
- Relative generosity based on the number of times one re-tweets others;
- Clout measured by the number of times one is cited by others;
- Velocity based on the number of tweets one has made in the most recent 7-day period.
In the analysis of pharmas that Twitter, what we see is that one company, Novartis, runs away with the title of having the greatest level of influence and clout, followed by a friendless Amgen in second place and the highly engaging Boehringer in third place. Roche and AstraZeneca are quite low but still in the upper half of those companies on Twitter.
Why would Amgen, who follows no one on Twitter, and with less followers than Boehringer or Roche or several others still come out in second place. It is because their content is such that others on Twitter are citing their tweets more often. That means they are doing more, while engaging less, which certainly stands out and though counter-intuitive, nevertheless is true.
A few companies that had been twittering, or had set up Twitter feeds, were left out because they have either gone silent (Pfizer_News, e.g.- not a tweet out of them since 11/20) or have never tweeted (Allergan, e.g.) or just gone missing. And for purposes of the analysis, I removed any of the Twitterfeeds that were solely about jobs (Merckcareers1, e.g.).
Where would FDA have figured into this equation? They are doing better than most pharmas, but they aren't doing well. The agency's FDA_Drug_Info Twitter feed has 3556 followers, which is impressive, but follows only 7 feeds, which is not. The agency is only following its other Twitter feeds, NIH and CDC feeds. Their influence rating is 1.0 and their clout rating is 0.5 – room for improvement.
You shouldn't be too concerned if you are at the bottom of the list because there is a lot of room for improvement by the entire industry. At least you have established your presence, and if there is a crisis situation, you at least have some capacity. The companies who aren't on the list don't have that advantage.
Lastly, I have created a Twitter list of all pharma companies on Twitter if you would like to follow it and this list does include the jobs Twitterfeeds as well as the FDA's FDA_Drug_Info twitter feed.
Come back later this week to check out another SocMed look-see.