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Using Social Media Analytics to Navigate the Global Conversation on Vaccines

Staying on the leading edge of social media marketing in the pharmaceutical industry requires a dedicated, continuous assessment of what’s relevant, what you can bring to the table to address important issues raised in key conversations, and what it is about your brand power that sets you apart from your competition. To do this effectively, you need comprehensive social media analytics.

But, trying to mine platforms like Twitter on your own for a full view of a global conversation is, well, kind of like trying to reel in the 3-ton shark from Spielberg’s 1975 thriller, Jaws. As Chief Brody says, “You’re gonna need a bigger boat.”

Northern Light’s Social Analytics takes the entire Twitter community, rather than a sample selection, into account, allowing pharmaceutical companies to examine global conversations, determine the leaders of those conversations, and gain insight into the way people feel about what’s being said. The program uses AI-based machine learning to filter searches by industry and to cross-analyze results based on selected hashtags, keywords, accounts, locations, or sentiments.

Let’s say a pharmaceutical company is interested in becoming part of the global conversation on vaccines. 

Hashtags & Sentiments

Social Analytics can help you quantify the content in terms of focus, reach, and overlap, for selected hashtags. Users can see, through quantified data results, both the relevance and importance of these hashtags among your target audience. 

To begin, we’ll take a look at the use of #vaccine over the past 90 days. #vaccine shows a reach of almost 1.1 billion impressions. In comparison, #vaccination shows roughly 71.2 million impressions, but is only 54% semantically similar to the #vaccine conversation. Simply making the hashtag plural (#vaccines) adds 268 million impressions to the reach, but the semantic similarity is only 43%. Neither of these is a good complementary hashtag for pharma companies to use because the accounts posting are discussing different issues than the accounts using #vaccine. Conversely, while #vaccineforcorona shows just under 200K impressions, it is 91% semantically similar to the #vaccine conversation. Is adding 12 characters to your tweet worth expanding your reach by a tiny percentage? Probably not, unless you’re using it to make a point.

How people feel about the subject matter is key in understanding your marketing approach. Is the conversation centered around fear and sadness, or hope and innovation? As Mayor Vaughn explains in Jaws, “It’s all psychological. You yell ‘Barracuda,’ everybody says ‘Huh? What?’ You yell ‘Shark,’ we’ve got a panic on our hands…”

So, how do people feel about what’s being said? Twitter shows that sentiments are generally neutral to positive and inquisitive. The sentiments around posts containing #vaccine are led by “virus,” “safe,” “like,” and “should.” For #vaccineforcorona, sentiments among posts are led by the words “virus,” “available,” “free,” and “good.” 

Keywords & Influencers

As for associated keywords used in posts with #vaccine, of course “vaccine” tops the list, followed by the use of “covid19,” “coronavirus,” “covid,” “billgates,” and “pandemic.” Inside of Social Analytics, each keyword can be clicked on for further investigation. For instance, the conversation around “billgates” shows the sentiment “conspiracy,” while “vaccine” shows the sentiment “safe.” And, if your interest lies more in focusing on the keywords used, as opposed to hashtags, you can swap from your Hashtag search in Social Analytics to a Keyword search with the click of a button. 

In swapping the analysis to focus on the keyword “vaccine,” we learn that the World Health Organization dominates the conversation, and that the most-used, related hashtags are #COVID19, #vaccine, #coronavirus, and #coronavirusoutbreak. 

Since you now know the World Health Organization tops the list of influencers for “vaccine” keyword use, you can click on their account to analyze their particular conversation further. The top sentiments surrounding their posts using “vaccine” are “equitable,” “effective,” and “better.” The analysis also shows they have some posts related to vaccines for Hepatitis B.

Competitive Intelligence 

What if your interest lies more in what your industry competitors and Big Pharma have to say about vaccines? Social Analytics allows users to search by Twitter account to examine the hashtags and keywords that your competitors are emphasizing in their posts. 

Northern Light can create a version of Social Analytics that deletes references to a particular pharmaceutical company’s drugs so that the benefits of social media analysis can be realized without risk of running afoul of regulatory issues.

Pfizer Inc. – By using the Social Analytics Account feature to analyze Pfizer’s Twitter account, we learn they have posted 596 times, using 91 different hashtags, over the last 90 days. These posts made roughly 39 million impressions. Among those, almost 299 thousand impressions were made using #vaccine in 19 posts, and over 575 thousand impressions were made using the keyword “vaccine” in 41 posts. Most often (35 of the 41) the keyword “vaccine” appeared alongside #COVID19. Pfizer Inc.’s leading sentiment surrounding their vaccine keyword conversation is “progress,” and their leading sentiment surrounding #vaccine is “agreement.” 

From this analysis, we also learn about Pfizer’s marketing campaigns. They are using #COVID19 to market their related vaccine progress and clinical trial updates and #westandwithscience to highlight their commitment to finding a safe and effective vaccine for COVID-19. They are also using #pfizerproud and #sciencewillwin to highlight their accomplishments, as well as to promote an educational video series on STEM topics for kids. 

Social Analytics allows you to view data down to the very tweets on which the data has been reported. You may wonder what the posts not linked to #COVID19 contemplated. With a quick look, you can see all but 3 of the 41 Pfizer posts ultimately related to the COVID-19 conversation. Two posts used keywords without hashtags, another post referred to COVID-19 as “SARS-CoV-2,” and another referred to the vaccine as “BNT162.” As for the 3 unrelated posts, one talked about vaccines for GBS infections, one promoted Pfizer’s innovation in vaccine R&D, and one announced Pfizer’s Global President of Vaccines as one of the top 100 Latina leaders for 2020. 

Sanofi – From searching Sanofi’s Twitter posts using the Social Analytics Account feature, we learn they have posted 438 times, using 50 different hashtags, over the last 90 days. These posts made roughly 10.8 million impressions. Among those, 130 thousand impressions were made using #vaccines in 2 posts (notice they are using the plural), and over 262 thousand impressions were made using the keyword “vaccine” in 23 posts. Often (14 of the 23) “vaccine” as a keyword appeared alongside #COVID19. Their leading sentiment surrounding their vaccine keyword conversation is “available.” 

We also learn, for their marketing purposes, Sanofi is also using #COVID19 to market their vaccine progress, as well as #fightcovid19. They are using #sanofiacts and #westandwithscience to market their commitment to finding a safe and effective vaccine for COVID-19. 

The conversation outside of COVID-19 shows they are also focusing certain efforts on keeping routine vaccinations at the forefront during the pandemic and on highlighting their vaccine development, investment, and discovery efforts. 

Contact Northern Light

Without the right social media analytics, the marketing intel Twitter houses remains an untapped, bottomless sea of potential. Just as Chief Brody says, “Why don’t we start leading the shark to shore instead of him leading us out to sea?” 

For more information on how Northern Light’s Social Analytics platform can maximize your social media marketing efforts, contact us today.

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