With all the mass reach social media has these days, the power that comes with riding on its wave is simply hard to deny. With thousands of posts and tweets, there is seemingly no end to the chatter. But it is important to know if all that chatter is in favor of or against your agendas. Imagine launching a product that has become the talk of the town. But is all that talk good or bad? A little more context, especially when you are doing a business, doesn’t hurt anyone.
Enter sentiment analysis.
Sentiment analysis, also known as opinion mining, is the process of defining and categorizing opinions in a given piece of text as positive, negative, or neutral. Whereas, when you do sentiment analysis in social media, that tells you how people feel about your brand online. Rather than simply counting in mentions or comments, sentiment analysis factors in emotions and opinions as well. It majorly involves collecting and analyzing information in the posts shared by people about your brand on social media platforms.
The most attractive factor about using social media for sentiment analysis is that there’s a vast pool of data to gather. With the increasing number of consumers tagging and talking about brands on various platforms, gauging popular public opinion is no longer a task. Additionally, doing the analysis encourages businesses to take a more proactive approach to social media and directly engage with their customers. They can translate those feelings into actionable business data and prevent customers’ emotions from falling by the wayside.
Now, how do we perform social sentiment analysis?
The ideal way to conduct a social media sentiment analysis is to collect all the data you can. Although sentiment analysis can result in relevant insights to brands, it has its own set of challenges.
Step 1: Find out where is the consumer talking
Consumers everywhere are not shying away from sounding off on brands – both on and off social media. Businesses need to pay undivided attention to all the social mentions wherever their customers are directly addressing them. In doing so, a brand manages to capitalize on the good and address the bad in time. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, and LinkedIn are the best places to start analyzing the mentions as consumers directly talk to the brands there. It is also important to monitor review forums on third-party sites like Google Reviews, Reddit, etc. In case you are in the e-commerce world, then the on-site reviews are particularly valuable. However, monitoring all these platforms manually can certainly be time-consuming. That’s why a social listening tool is highly recommended for the sake of saving time.
Step 2: Choose your terms for the analysis
Sentiment analysis works only when one can separate the positive mentions from the negative ones. For example, best, high-five, love, amazing, perfect, etc. are positive terms, whereas worst, hate, disappointed, bad, avoid, etc., are negative ones. Hence, searching for specific terms that highlight customer sentiment is of high importance. Some terms are relatively straightforward, whereas others might be industry-specific. Either way, the sentiment terms need to be clearly divided into positive and negative terms.
Step 3: Put context to your mentions
This is where it all gets a little tricky. The amount of sentiment-related terms in your searches won’t always tell the full story of how the customers feel. It’s important to double-check your mentions and put context to it while you leave some room for analytical error caused due to sarcasm. When somebody tweets, “I love it when I lose my luggage after a nine-hour flight,” they aren’t thrilled about their experience. So it is crucial to check the context of the mention before counting it in.
Step 4: Let an analysis tool do the legwork for you
The sheer amount of conversations happening at the moment is enough to motivate you to invest in a third-party listening tool. These tools help monitor and organize your social mentions in real-time and help you pick and choose terms related to sentiment analysis that you want to track and produce a sentiment analysis report. This report monitors all the positive, negative, and neutral mentions over time, which helps determine if the brand perception is improving or not on a monthly basis.
Social media is probably the biggest pool from where one can mine for public opinion and start the process of gathering informative data on the success or failure of a particular brand, products, or marketing campaigns in the eyes of the public. Sentiment analysis isn’t a perfect way to analyze what works and what doesn’t for a brand. But it definitely is a starting point to understand the overall general public sentiment, which can be used to initiate campaigns based on their feedback.