LiquidGrids Re-Launches Social Media Analytics for Health Industry

3/29/12Follow @bvbigelow

San Diego-based LiquidGrids, which unveiled a beta version of its healthcare-focused social media analytics less than five months ago, is re-launching its business today after overhauling its technology. The startup was known as Swarmology when founder Malcolm Bohm outlined the concept for me in November.

“We were getting confused with the plethora of other ‘swarms’ that are out there,” Bohm says. “Some people were saying Swarmology sounded like a bad movie.”

Bohm started the company to carry out data mining of social media websites, using the information to help pharmaceutical companies and other health industry customers identify interesting trends and take advantage of social media marketing opportunities. The original search engine was designed to collect a host of medical and health-related terms, such as “insomnia,” “sleepless,” “nap,” and even phrases like “dead on my feet.” The startup then planned to use the data to develop and implement social media marketing strategies for customer products like sedatives or sleep aids.

But the lag time in collecting the swarm of data was a problem, Bohm says. So the company started over, developing a database of roughly 500,000 medical terms, diagnoses and diagnosis codes, procedures, pharmaceutical and over-the-counter drugs, and common misspellings of each. This “social health knowledge base” is continuously updated, and growing at a rate of 2 million new social media posts per day. The data are organized into categories, or grids. “We are drinking from the firehose of liquid social dialog, and it’s being indexed into a series of core grids,” Bohm says. Hence, the company’s new name, LiquidGrids.

The company also developed a new search algorithm to run against its database, as well as a “multi-channel intelligent messaging system” that enables the company to carry out large-scale social media engagement campaigns in real time. In a statement issued by LiquidGrids today, Bohm says, “Marketing teams at pharmaceutical, biotech, medical device, and healthcare companies are struggling with how to best connect with consumers online, and LiquidGrids offers a means to directly reach consumers in a very targeted and meaningful way.”

Bohm says the company’s technology can engage with the more than 89 million people who participate in health-related conversations in social media every day.

Interest in social media marketing has been growing throughout the life sciences industry.

Earlier this month, GlaxoSmithKline awarded a “multi-year, multi-million-dollar” order to India’s second-largest software services provider and a British provider of digital marketing technology to carry out global marketing campaigns for GSK. Bangalore-based Infosys and London-based Fabric Worldwide will help GSK capture and analyze what people are saying about its products on its own website and on social media, according to a Reuters account. The project is intended to help GSK run more targeted marketing campaigns.

Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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