How is pharma using Twitter in 2013?

This year is far from over but, as our work to refresh PMLiVE’s Digital Handbook comes to an end with only updates for its social media and mobile app directories left to do, it feels like a good point to take stock.

The first of these updates to be completed is for the Digital Handbook’s Pharma Social Media Directory and its section for pharma and biotech companies on Twitter.

Adding nearly forty new, or new to me, Twitter accounts over the last few days a few themes emerged.

Companies, such as Novo Nordisk, are still joining at a corporate level, proving that it’s never to late to start using social media at the highest level, while others already there, such as Pfizer, Bayer and Roche, continue to diversify with local level accounts.

While many pharma Twitter accounts address multiple stakeholders, often including healthcare professionals, patients and journalists, dedicated accounts for the media are also emerging.

Lilly has taken a fairly straightforward approach in this area, while GE Healthcare has gone for something more unusual, putting its chief communications officer Jeffrey DeMarrais in charge of @GEHealthcare_HQ.

Other areas where dedicated Twitter accounts can be seen are conferences, something GlaxoSmithKline and Novo Nordisk both have accounts specially for, and even cycling – Novo, again, has its cycle team on Twitter and Amgen has an account for the Tour of California cycling race it sponsors.

Finally, in a somewhat counterintuitive move, I’ve also added a number of Twitter accounts that had previously been below the radar thanks to a one, two, three or even four-year gap since their last tweet.

If one of the take-home messages about social media and Twitter is that it’s never too late to start using it, another really has to be to either keep using your accounts or manage their closure.

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