Managing digital thought leader (DTL) accounts is generally in-sourced to a department within Medical Affairs or delegated to consultants who manage third-party software designed to simplify the process. While we recommend both a premium dashboard and an external party to monitor DTL activity, it is possible to do it yourself, “DIY it.”
In fact, you may already be used to that approach. Medical Affairs teams concerned about budget most likely compiled the DTL list in the first place rather than using software. This was probably done on an individual basis by searching each platform (e.g., social media apps, medical blogs, news sites). Most thought leaders with a large relevant social following are leveraging Twitter and LinkedIn as primary platforms. In our opinion, Twitter is often one of the best platforms to find new opinion leaders since they offer more search capabilities for end-users. Hence, Twitter will make repeat appearances in this guide.
If your organization does not have outside assistance profiling and monitoring DTLs, follow our simple four-step process to keep track of all that activity yourself.
Step 1: Mine the Data on a Budget
You can use the free tool Followerwonk.com to find thought leaders with thousands of followers in under a minute. You can quickly search Twitter bios for words such as “cardiologist” or other keywords relevant to your therapeutic area. Narrow the search to only individuals with more than 1,000 followers. Followerwonk also allows you to limit the search by geography.
Step 2: Narrow the List
Once you’ve compiled your initial DTL search, set thresholds to find the top DTLs. We briefly touched on this above. Each therapeutic area has different metrics that matter, but we generally recommend focusing on DTLs with a minimum of 1,000 followers.
To find relevant posts, use the advanced search function. Enter a string of keywords and the DTL handle (i.e., @DTLName) to see how many owned or earned posts they appear in. Consider a scoring mechanism to prioritize thought leaders based on relevance.
Step 3: Develop the Profiles
Profile development differs depending on the needs of the organization. Still, it should include key information about each thought leader relevant to your broader medical strategy, record who they are and what channels they are involved in, and include information about any research or journal publications they have.
If you’re on a budget, you want to be efficient. The best way to do that is through alignment analysis, which ensures you are focusing on DTLs who fit well with your company or line of business. For more guidance on thought leader profiling, click here.
Step 4: Monitor the Activity
If you don’t have access to premium research tools, create lists to manage all monitoring activities. Twitter gives users the ability to create lists of accounts, for example. You can create a list of societies and another list of DTLs. Viewing a list timeline will show you the activity of all people or organizations on that list. This is a great way to filter your Twitter experience to a narrower, more relevant audience.
You can also send lists to other Twitter accounts through direct messaging. This is a simple way to share lists with others on your team. From there, you can all see which DTL is doing the most moving and shaking, so to speak. Twitter allows you to see top content versus the latest content. In this way, you can seek out the posts which had the most engagement—and discuss why with your team.
Back to Followerwonk; it’s a great tool for monitoring, not just searching. In some cases, organizations, ours included, spend money on best-in-class DTL monitoring tools to make the process automated, save the team’s time, and produce more consistent results. For those looking for a DIY model, our simple four-step process will help you create collaborations that ultimately fulfill your strategic objectives.