How to identify and prioritize digital influencers using Monocl Professional

In our last blog “Gauging Social Media Influence - A Framework for Medical Affairs” we discussed why medical affairs can no longer afford to ignore the digital footprint of an expert.

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Gauging Social Media Influence - A Framework for Medical Affairs

And it’s not just us saying this, medical affairs leaders across the (bio)pharmaceutical industry consider digital influencers important. With that the relevant question becomes one of implementation: How do you identify and prioritize digital influencers relevant to your work?

To make this onerous task easy, we developed a new feature for Monocl Professional: we added digital influencer data, specifically Twitter information. Experts with Twitter accounts now feature the tell-tale little blue bird and the number of followers next to their name; clicking on the icon takes you directly to the expert’s Twitter feed.

In this blog we will walk you through a couple of examples designed to help you to get the most out of this new feature.

Identify and prioritize digital influencers

Monocl Professional contains information on over 3.7 million medical and scientific experts. To be included in the database a researcher/scientist needs to fulfil a number of criteria, e.g. have published a minimum number of publications in peer-reviewed journals. This hasn’t changed with the addition of the Twitter information: each expert needs to meet the criteria but once included, their professional Twitter account is linked. This way we make sure that the digital influencers you identify are true scientific experts.

Monocl Professional offers the option to sort experts by the number of Twitter followers and while that is a fun search to do on the whole database, there is a better way to find experts relevant to you.

Our product specialists recommend to start just like you would start any search for an expert with a relevant keyword, e.g. a therapeutic area, disease, drug or alike. For this example, we are looking for experts in AIDS research and find globally just over 207,000 in the database.

In a next step we can now narrow this list down using other criteria and then consider the experts’ Twitter footprint to find the digital influencers among the group of experts. Here are two specific use cases:

  • Filtering by geography helps identify experts who tweet in a specific language. If we narrow the search to France the list of AIDS researchers shrinks to 5,337 and sorting this list by Twitter followers gives us a starting point in the search for AIDS experts who tweet in French. The top three digital influencers in this search are Didier Raoult, David Marks and Francis Berenbaum. A look at their Twitter accounts show that Raoult tweets in both French and English, Marks in English and Berenbaum in French. From here you can dig deeper into the Twitter accounts of each of the experts to glean additional information that can help you decide whom to try and engage as a French-speaking and tweeting digital influencer. If you look at Didier Raoult’s account, for example, you will quickly see that it was only created in March 2020. His meteoric rise to the top spot in this search and onto the Top 5 list overall in terms of Twitter followers is thanks to his work on treating COVID19 patients with hydroxychloroquine and his very active tweeting about that. With that in mind, he is likely not the expert you are looking for to engage with on the topic of AIDS. A good way of honing in on the right experts is to refine your search further by sorting your list by “relevance” and then use the convenient Social Media slider filter to limit that search to experts with social media accounts or with social media accounts with a desired number of followers.
    Working down the list of experts and analyzing their tweets as well as their followers directly on Twitter allows you to quickly come up with a short-list of AIDS experts that lead the digital dialogue among their French-speaking colleagues and exclude those that are not relevant. In the case of French, additional searches with Canada, Switzerland as well as the French-speaking African countries might make sense.
  • Searching for researchers that attend specific meetings can help you identify experts that might be worth engaging specifically to cover that conference. For this example, we are narrowing our list down to experts who attended CROI 2020 and/or CROI 2018 which results in about 5,660 individuals with activities related to AIDS. Of these 325 have Twitter accounts and 76 have more than 1,000 followers. Using the sort and refine features of Monocl Professional has allowed us to narrow down the field of over 200,000 experts with activities related to AIDS to 76 individuals that match our specific profile requirements in less than one minute.

Starting with a list of experts and then focusing on those with a significant digital footprint offers a smart and streamlined way of identifying and prioritizing digital influencers without the need for social mining tools or a large investment in time and an advanced degree in hashtag sleuthing.

Making engagement more personal

What an individual tweets about can also provide you with a bit of a peek at the person behind the expert and help you engage them on a broader level. Let’s get back to our AIDS example: many of the AIDS experts with Twitter accounts are currently also tweeting out information about COVID19. As infectious disease experts this makes perfect sense and a comprehensive engagement strategy with such a digital influencer might include scientific exchange and sharing of insights about this top-of-everybody’s-mind topic, in addition to fostering a dialogue around AIDS.

These are just a few examples of how to find and prioritize digital influencers. If you have specific questions or would like a closer look at Monocl Professional and our new Digital Influencer feature, one of our specialists is happy to give you the grand tour.

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