Pharma and Twitter – Who’s Got Hand? And an Invite to the Follow Pharma Twitter List.

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:

  • Influence
  • Signal
  • Generosity
  • Velocity
  • Clout

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.

Twitter Ranking Pharma
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.  

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Pharma and Twitter – Who’s Got Hand? And an Invite to the Follow Pharma Twitter List.

  1. pierce moffett says:

    Very interesting — but allow me to ask the obvious question: does any of this matter? So you’re the #1 twitterer — how many prescriptions is that good for? How many $$ does that add to the bottom line?
    You made an interesting comment on one of your posts after this one: one company developed a Youtube strategy that relied on patient testimonials. Then one day, FDA rulings make it unclear whether those testimonials are still a good idea. Why should anyone invest time and money in all this when the FDA can come along tomorrow and pull the rug out from under your feet?
    Advertising, marketing, and PR people love blogs, twitter, youtube, etc., because it gives them more outlets they can bill for. But how are Roche or J&J suffering by not being Top Twitterers?

  2. Mark Senak says:

    Pierce, Pierce, Pierce – that is not a fair characterization of my profession. I would say that yes, it does matter. Twitter has become an important facilitation to communication because it is all about speed and reach. Let me ask you this Pierce, if you were suddenly faced with a crisis (think Tiger Woods) and you wanted to get out your side of the story, who would you rather be? Someone who has a no Twitter platform at all, or a poor one, or someone who has a lot of followers who are going to carry your water for you. If you chose the former, your crisis would only continue without your input into the story. If you said the latter, you would have made the right decision and you will have a fighting chance.

  3. pierce moffett says:

    I don’t mean to malign your profession — in fact, I’m in an allied field (I’m a medical writer, and I write a lot stuff that is basically scientific advertising or PR).
    If I were Tiger Woods, why would I care at all about twitter? If I were concerned about crisis response, I could have a press conference and my every word would go out instantly to every media outlet on the planet. Tiger Woods does not need Twitter to get his message out.
    I enjoy using social media on a personal level, but I remain unconvinced that it adds anything to the bottom line for virtually all businesses. As Roland Hedley said recently in Doonesbury, “Twitter is the first rough draft of gossip.”

  4. Mark Senak says:

    As usual, dear Pierce, we will remain on opposite sides of the river. Twitter drives about 20-25% of my traffic to my blog. If a person doesn’t get that, then I hope they enjoy the irrelevance to which they are doomed. As for press conferences, by time you hold one, you are reacting to news, not making it.

Comments are closed.