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Life Science Companies on Twitter: Who’s On Top?

Twitter is currently the most active area for life science companies in social media, we count around 170 accounts. For this analysis, we only count companies who deal primarily with non-FDA regulated products. While our survey earlier this year confirms Twitter as the top interest for marketers, we find that follow through isn’t always guaranteed. To highlight life science companies which are doing a great job on Twitter, we employed the influence tool Klout to rank them.

Klout is an application which gives Twitter accounts a score according to how many followers they have and how much they engage with others on Twitter. It’s not perfect, but gives a good indication of the performance of a Twitterer. The life science companies on Twitter are shown in the ManyEyes bubble chart visualization above, and the largest circles have the top Klout. The colors represents Klout’s assessment of the performance of the Twitter account, and by viewing the chart on the ManyEyes site you can also color by the class they assign to each user, see a description of the Klout classes here. You can also access the data, and the top 10 Twitter accounts are shown below. I’d like to thank Mike Chelen for creating the Klout batch application for us.

No. Company Twitter Account Klout Score
1 Mendeley mendeley_com 46.21
2 Integrated DNA Technologies idtdna 45.71
3 Life Technologies LIFECorporation 45.21
4 BioData biodata 44.29
5 Affymetrix GenomicApps 42.01
6 Agilent Agilent 41.48
7 EpiExperts/New England Biolabs EpiExperts 41.17
8 Accelrys Accelrys 40.56
9 Life Technologies Dynabeads 40.42
10 Thermo Fisher servingscience 40.02

How accurate are the results? For the most part, the results match our intuition as to which Twitterers ‘get it’ and are doing well. However, we did notice that some larger brands can get away with little engagement and still have a strong Klout score. See, for example, @Agilent which is an automatic feed. This may be where Klout is not as accurate, because we all know accounts that are engaging are more effective. Several of the larger brands follow far fewer than follow them, and we suggest that if they truly want to listen to customers and participate, that they should follow and engage. We don’t see larger life science brands having a personality like Twitter successes Zappos or Comcast have, and would love to see this take place. Indeed, Comprendia has a significantly higher Klout score than even these large corporations, likely due to our three years of daily effort on Twitter and the personal relationships we’ve formed with life science influencers (and we truly care about the community, we’re not just trying to get a high score).

Smaller companies are well represented in the list, with Mendeley, Integrated DNA Technology, and BioData being in the top five. All have great engagement–a must for small companies to get good traction. We were pleasantly surprised to see that @GenomicApps, a new account started by our colleague Ruby Gadelrab aka @divabiotech a few months ago, is already competing well with more established accounts. We know Ruby’s a social media aficionado, so this isn’t surprising. We’re also happy that @EpiExperts, which Tweets about the epigenetics community we developed with New England Biolabs, is doing so well after only starting a few months ago as well.

What is the relevance of this study to your Twitter strategy? We know social media is not all about numbers, but having more followers and influence gives you better exposure and all the benefits. Twitter’s increasing impact on search engine results has been recently documented. Check out our howto post on getting more Twitter followers or take our Twitter workshop. Not only will these resources help you to raise your Klout score and influence, but the strategies and tactics will help you get more out of the application, including getting more feedback and learning about trends. We can also use the Klout batch application in conjunction with our other social media monitoring tools to find life science influencers in any area, contact us for more information.

Also interesting for life science brands is that Klout is allowing users to promote other users, and one could envision that it could be used in many ways to get your brand noticed. We had a lively discussion about it on Twitter this week, and of course I welcome your continued comments. In addition, Klout’s move is a result of the ‘gamification of social media‘ that is occurring also in applications such as Empire Avenue.

P.S. An honorable mention goes to @Clonegene who were 11th on this list, and engaged with us this week, asking about their ranking!

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