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How to Use Social Media Sentiment Analysis in Your Listening

How to Use Social Media Sentiment Analysis in Your Listening

Home Blog Media Monitoring How to Use Social Media Sentiment Analysis in Your Listening

We sometimes discuss how social media metrics don’t always tell you the full story. Too often, they tell you the ‘what’ but not the ‘why’ or ‘how.’

Basically, they can lack context.

One metric where that doesn’t apply is sentiment. Sentiment is a metric that adds context to other metrics.

Getting as much context as possible around online mentions is important, especially. Yeah, it’s important to know how much people are talking about your brand, but you also need to know how they’re talking about you.

Is it glowing praise?

Bashing rants?

Utter indifference?

A mention from each of those sentiment categories can mean very different things for your brand. A glowing mention is a reputation management win, where a rant may be a customer service issue, and indifference probably won’t be high on any team’s radar.

Most brands lust after big jumps in the social media buzz game. But it’s a much different story if those mentions are negative. And how can you tell the difference? Sentiment analysis.

Holiday Marketing Toolkit 2020

About social media sentiment analysis

The sentiment is pretty simple to understand. It’s just a feeling or emotion, an attitude or opinion. On social media, the sentiment of a post can be seen in the tone or emotion conveyed in a brand mention.

Some social media management tools offer algorithms or filters to make it easy to gauge sentiment. In social listening tools, emotion analysis features will measure and report on the tone or sentiment of your social mentions.

Use Mention's sentiment analysis tools

Most sentiment analysis tools group different sentiments or feelings into positive, negative, or neutral categories. For example, in Mention, we use those 3 categories and assign a color-coded smiley to each mention to denote sentiment.

How to use social media sentiment analysis

So, how does having sentiment analysis in your social listening tool help you? It goes beyond seeing the context in your weekly reports.

Understanding customer sentiment is crucial for brands looking to maintain a positive reputation. By analyzing how customers feel about your products or services, you can identify areas for improvement and address potential issues before they escalate.

1. Prioritize your social media engagement

Mention comes with sentiment analysis tools included

When you log in to check on social media daily, you want to ensure you’re dealing with the most important mentions first. You always hope there are no fires to put out, but you need to be prepared and timely if there are.

You’ll also want to ensure you’re responding to unhappy customers as quickly as possible.

So wouldn’t it be great if you could see all negative mentions first? Placate any unhappy customers before they become more unhappy. Surely that’s more important than thanking people for including you in their #FF, right?

You can filter your unread or new mentions by sentiment in many social listening tools. Filter out the lower-priority items and focus on things that need to be dealt with first. For example, in Mention, you can set the filter at the top of your unread mentions stream for any alert.

This will come in handy when you need to:

  • Be on the lookout for a PR or social media crisis
  • Assist unhappy customers needing help
  • Respond to negative feedback from third parties

It’s handy for new mentions, too. Any time you need to find and browse mentions, sorting by sentiment can help you determine what you want.

For example, say your product team is improving a certain feature. You could search for that feature’s name in your feed and look at negative mentions about it to see what customers don’t like.

2. Measure your brand’s reputation

So that’s how you see the sentiment for each individual mention, but what about aggregate info?

You can also collect data on sentiment trends and patterns to better understand your brand’s reputation.

Reports on social media sentiment can help you see how positively or negatively your brand is perceived on social media based on the tone of mentions. Net sentiment score is a useful metric for summarizing overall sentiment by calculating the difference between positive and negative mentions.

mention sentiment analysis

Create custom reports with Mention’s Insights Center.

If the general conversation around your brand is changing, you can look out for changes in average sentiment to signal shifts in perception. Watch for different trends and patterns in sentiment and how they correlate to other social media metrics.

Another way to use sentiment reporting is to see the response to certain campaigns, launches, or events. Then, again you can tie that to the bigger picture to add context to your social media mentions.

For example, you may be able to attribute a jump in negative sentiment to your website going down a few days ago. Or you can check the aggregate data a week after a new product launch to see how the product is being talked about.

(In Mention, check the listening dashboard to view sentiment data.)

3. Assist with potential crises

You always hope your brand never experiences a social media crisis, but need to be prepared to deal with one anyway.

Social listening helps you be on the lookout for a possible crisis in many ways. Sentiment analysis is just one of them.

Working with the person handling your company’s PR or corporate communications can help you spot a sticky situation before it becomes a full-blown crisis.

And if a crisis does hit, measuring and filtering things by sentiment makes it easier to manage communications and get things sailing smoothly again.

For example, I’m sure you’ve seen some of the buzz Chipotle’s been getting. It’s probably meant a huge jump in mentions for their social media team. But it hasn’t been great:

social media sentiment analysis

Using social media sentiment analysis during this PR crisis can help their team monitor how the E. coli outbreak has impacted their overall brand reputation, who’s talking negatively about the brand, and what they’re saying.

Having all that information would help react quickly and put a long-term plan in place for dealing with the situation.

4. Perform competitive research

sentiment analysis

You know how much we love competitive analysis and research. Sentiment analysis is useful for both.

Creating alerts to monitor your competitors allows you to measure sentiment for them like you would measure it for your brand’s mentions.

Use sentiment analysis to measure and report how your competitors are discussed on social media. Keep an eye out for positive mentions to look for inspiration and negative mentions for community building or lead generation opportunities.

Like with your own brand, you can monitor how certain campaigns, announcements, and events impact its overall reputation.

And when the conversation’s not about you, you can still jump in when the time is right. For example, you can turn a competitor’s detractor into your next customer:

If you reply only to tweets where it makes sense to join the conversation and are careful not to be too pushy, it’s a great real-time way to engage with the community in your industry.

5. Add context to share of voice

Share of voice is another great way to benchmark yourself against competitors. But once again, metrics like that don’t always give you the full picture.

Share of Voice Calculator by Mention

For example, let’s say you start celebrating because you have the majority share of voice for your industry. But then you find out most of the conversation is actually negative.

Still feel like celebrating?

You don’t want the majority share of voice if most of the talk is negative.

So when you’re looking at the share of voice during your social media competitive analysis, make sure you’re also looking at sentiment over time:

social media sentiment analysis

It will add more context to your share of voice metrics and allow you to compare and contrast the sentiment of different competitors’ social mentions. You’ll be able to report how the market views your brand compared to your competitors in response to different campaigns and events.

It’s all about context

At the end of the day, sentiment analysis is about making it easier to understand the context surrounding a social media mention.

Other metrics may tell you what people are talking about, but sentiment shows you the gist of what they’re saying.

Do you look at social sentiment in your listening? Share how it helps you in the comments.

Learn how to use listening to increase engagement on social media:

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Brittany Berger

Guest Blogger @Mention