Carry out Social Media Sentiment Evaluation (Instruments + Free Template)
Imagine your company just released a product and everyone is talking about it on social media.
There are thousands of Instagram posts, Facebook posts, and tweets. The chatter seems to have no end. But is it positive or negative?
You need more context.
Enter: Social Media Sentiment.
Social media sentiment is the attitude and feeling people have about your brand on social media. It adds context to all @mentions, comments, and shares.
To find out where you are on the positive / negative spectrum, you need to analyze these conversions.
Bonus: Get a free social media sentiment report template to easily track the mood of the audience over time.
What is Social Media Sentiment Analysis?
A social media sentiment analysis shows you how people feel about your brand online. Instead of a simple number of mentions or comments, sentiment analysis takes into account emotions and opinions. It involves collecting and analyzing information in the posts that people share about your brand on social media.
Measuring social sentiment is an important part of any social media monitoring plan.
Why is social sentiment analysis important?
A simple listing of your social mentions will just tell you how much people are talking about your brand online. But what are they saying? Analyzing sentiment on social media will help you answer this question.
After all, a large number of mentions might look great at first sight. But if it's a storm of negative posts, it might not be great after all. For example, Peloton saw a sharp surge in mentions after launching its vacation ad in late 2019. However, the sentiment expressed in these mentions expressed some rather negative opinions.
This looks like a parody of an influencer's hostage video
– Jamie Pastore v9 (@ JamiePastore9) December 2, 2019
Analyzing sentiment on social media is sometimes referred to as "opinion mining". That's because the point is to examine the words and context of social posts to understand the opinions they reveal.
Here's why your brand needs to chase social sentiment.
1. Understand your audience
Marketers do their best job when they understand their audience. That means you need to understand how your audience feels about your brand, social posts, and campaigns, not just how often they mention you.
In the Mad Men era, marketers turned to focus groups to understand how people might react to a new ad campaign or tagline. Now all you have to do is pay attention to what they are saying on social media.
"We have used social listening for the past two months to report to our CEO through to top management." This is what the Engagement Director for Absolut, Malibu and Kahlúa told eMarketer. "We're showing that we can deliver meaningful insights faster than traditional insights or surveys," said Simon de Beauregard.
Who needs a rooftop bar when you can have espresso martinis delivered? https://t.co/A2k7zGPDIK
– Kahlúa (@Kahlua) May 27, 2020
An ongoing analysis of sentiment on social media can quickly notify you when customer preferences and needs change.
The Edelman Trust Barometer Special Report on Brand Trust and the Coronavirus Pandemic found that when COVID-19 became a world crisis in March, 57 percent of people wanted brands to stop marketing that was "humorous or too lighthearted" .
Social emotion analysis tools can help you make sure you are always aware of the changes your audience is expecting from your brand.
2. Improve customer service
Monitoring sentiment has significant customer service and support benefits.
First, it can alert your service and support teams to new issues they should be aware of. Then your company can prepare an appropriate answer, strategy, or script. You may even learn more about issues with a specific product run or product.
Second, monitoring for negative social mentions allows your team to reach people who may have a challenging experience with your brand. A simple response or follow-up can often go a long way in resolving a customer complaint.
Sure can! Consider it done, Zac.
– OREO cookie (@Oreo) August 9, 2020
3. Streamline brand messaging and product development
If you monitor social sentiment over time, you will understand how your messages can affect the way your followers think of you.
By following trends and examining spikes in positive or negative mood, you can learn more about what your audience really wants. This will give you a clearer idea of what kind of news you should post on each social network.
You may even get insights that can impact your overall branding strategy and product development. Or help you understand how movements you made offline resonate in the social arena.
For example, check out Translink, the company that operates transit services in Metro Vancouver. They started a campaign with Seth Rogan making etiquette announcements on SkyTrain. They engaged social media followers by asking what topics Seth should tackle next:
Hey #Vancouver, it's your transit! Help us select the next Seth announcements. Which one do you want to hear?
– TransLink BC | Masks mandatory (@TransLink) August 15, 2018
Over the course of the campaign, Translink's social sentiment rose by 5 percent. Much of this improved sentiment came from social media users who reported improved behavior by transit drivers in real life.
Today a group of five on the Sky Train boarded a busy train with backpacks. Then @ Sethrogens PSA plays about the etiquette of backpack trains like an angel from heaven. All five giggled and took them off. It was a beautiful @TransLink sight.
– Corey Rollins (@CoreyRollins) August 14, 2018
However, when Toronto's TTC made similar announcements with Rogan, the response wasn't great.
Yes, Seth Rogan is too loud and annoying. #TTC
– FuzzyWuzzy💤 (@FuzzyWuzzyTO) August 15, 2018
Monitoring mood will help you understand how your fans and customers are feeling. How can you fit that into your larger strategy?
4. Understand where you stand in your niche
Brands cannot be everything for everyone. Monitoring social sentiment can help you understand where you are at in your business niche. This, in turn, can help you reach the right audience with the right news at the right time.
It can also help you understand what areas of your company you really excel in and what you might need to improve.
For example, using sentiment analysis on social media, the researchers found that Heathrow Airport is known for good WiFi, washrooms, restaurants and lounges. However, social media users were not happy with the airport parking, waiting times, immigration and passport control procedures, and the staff.
Knowing this, Heathrow could aim to improve those areas that customers are not happy with. Or it could focus on the areas that are already doing well and distinguish itself as a comfortable airport with good facilities.
Call to all gourmets! 🍔🥪🥛
Get up to 50% off and up to £ 10 on food and soft drinks every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday in August as part of the # EatOutToHelpOut program.
To find out who is attending, visit: https://t.co/EBSZqo73TW. pic.twitter.com/fyYRRPFGKl
– Heathrow Airport (@HeathrowAirport) August 3, 2020
5. Recognize brand crises early on
You never want your brand in a crisis. In this case, monitoring social mood can help you spot the problem early on. You can implement your Rapid Reaction Plan to minimize or avoid the negative sentiment altogether.
Coca-Cola recently put up a giant billboard in an area of Amsterdam that was badly affected by overtourism before the pandemic. In Dutch it said: "I will never say again that there are too many tourists in my city."
The problem? When the billboard went up, many (often badly behaved) European tourists had already returned to Amsterdam. The residents of this neighborhood certainly did not agree with the message on the billboard.
On Amsterdam's Marie-Heinekenplein there is a large @CocaCola sign that reads "I'll never say again: There are too many tourists in my city." Welll … actually I'm surprised how many there are already. @BvdPijp @AmsterdamNL pic.twitter.com/F6E47gsOW0
– Jaap Kooijman (@Jaap_Kooijman) August 10, 2020
The negative sentiment in response to the billboard spurred Coca-Cola to dismantle it within a few days.
A particularly important time for brands to listen to how consumers are feeling. The Edelman special report found that by the end of March, 33 percent of respondents had already "convinced other people to stop using brands because they felt they were not acting appropriately in response to the pandemic".
Monitoring social sentiment would have helped these companies correct course in time to stop these customer losses.
How to do a social media sentiment analysis
The first phase of performing a social media sentiment analysis is collecting data. The following section introduces some powerful tools that can help you make the process faster, easier, and more accurate.
However, if you are not ready to invest in specialized tools just yet, you can do some additional research.
Monitor your mentions
The first step in analyzing sentiment on social media is finding the conversations people have about your brand online. The challenge is that you don't always get tagged in these conversations.
Fortunately, you can set up Hootsuite Streams to monitor social channels for any mentions of your brand, even if they aren't tagged. So collect them all in one place.
1. In the Hootsuite dashboard, create a mentions stream for each of your social accounts. This keeps track of the mentions people tag your accounts on social networks.
2. You also need to keep track of the posts that you are not tagged on. On Instagram, you can monitor hashtags related to your products or your brand name. You can use hashtags or keywords on Twitter. Make sure to stream your brand name and product names.
For more information on setting up your mentions, see our full post on social listening.
Analyze the feeling in your mentions
Next, look for terms that indicate the mood in your mentions. Think about the kind of positive or negative words people might use to talk about your brand. Examples could be:
Pros: love, amazing, great, best, perfect
Cons: bad, awful, awful, worst of all, hate
There will likely be other terms specific to your product, brand, or industry. Make a list of positive and negative words and scan your mentions for posts that contain those terms.
For Twitter, you can set up Hootsuite to run some of them automatically.
- Create a search stream on the dashboard with your name and an important positive keyword.
- 2. Create a search stream with your name and an important negative keyword.
Remember, you need to pay attention to the context. Is someone being sarcastic when they say they have "the best" experience with your brand?
What is a Social Mood Report?
Once you've gathered the data, it's time to analyze it and put it in a report.
Your social media sentiment report should include at least the following:
- Total engagements with your brand over a period of time
- Total mentions of your brand
- Number or percentage of positive mentions
- Number or percentage of negative mentions
- A calculation of your social sentiment score as a percentage (see below)
- A graph of your social media sentiment rating over time (so you can look for spikes and see what may have caused changes).
You can calculate your social sentiment score in several ways:
- Positive mentions as a percentage of total mentions
- Positive mentions as a percentage of mentions that include the sentiment (removing neutral mentions)
Which method you use doesn't matter as long as you are consistent. The second method always results in a higher score.
It is helpful to include a graph showing the ratio of positive, neutral and negative mentions. This shows team members and managers the latest sentiment details at a glance.
You can use the following tools to generate graphs and reports automatically. You can also manually create an Excel or Donut Social Vibe Chart in Excel or Google Sheets.
We also created a free social media sentiment report template that will allow you to create a professional looking report in minutes.
5 tools to analyze sentiment on social media
1. Hootsuite Insights Powered by Brandwatch
Brandwatch's Hootsuite Insights allows you to use detailed Boolean search strings to automatically monitor social sentiment. You also get word clouds of the most commonly used words to talk about your brand. Plus charts that compare your social sentiment with that of your competitors.
In addition to positive and negative emotions, Hootsuite Insights tracks certain emotions such as anger and joy over time. This allows you to check for any sudden changes or ongoing trends. You can also filter sentiment by location or demographics to see how different the mood is in your audience.
Alerts are a handy feature that can be used to notify you if your mood suddenly changes. Then you can be one step ahead of any problem before it gets out of hand.
Mentionlytics' pitch is: "Discover everything that is being said about your brand, your competitors or a keyword."
You can broaden the scope of your search to see what people are saying about your brand on the internet. There's a built-in sentiment analysis feature that works in multiple languages.
Digimind helps you closely monitor your social media presence by identifying and analyzing all relevant conversations about your brand and your competitors.
It pulls information from 850 million+ web sources so you know you're getting a complete picture of sentiment towards your brand.
You can also analyze mentions and apply filters to greatly customize your sentiment analysis process.
4. Crowd Analyzer
Crowd Analyzer is an Arabic language tool for social listening and sentiment analysis. This is especially important for brands with an Arabic-speaking audience, as other social emotion tools are generally unable to detect feelings in Arabic posts.
TalkWalker gathers information from more than 150 million sources and uses artificial intelligence to analyze feelings, sound, emotions and much more.
Social Media Sentiment Report Template
Our Social Media Sentiment Report template provides the structure you need to create a meaningful social media sentiment report to share with your team.
To use the template, click file Click the tab, and then click Make a copy. That way, you'll have your own copy of the template that you can use every time you need to do a new social sentiments report.
Bonus: Get a free social media sentiment report template to easily track the mood of the audience over time.
How to improve the mood on social media
If you were paying attention when we talked about the benefits of sentiment analytics on social media, these tips on how to improve mood won't shock you.
Know your audience
We said earlier that social sentiment analysis can help you understand your audience. But it works both ways: knowing your audience can help you achieve (and maintain) a positive social feeling.
Knowing your target audience well can help you create messages related to them. More importantly, you can avoid messages that upset or annoy you, like in the Coca-Cola example above. Basically it boils down to:
Give your audience more of what they want.
Pay attention to the needs, wishes and color dots of your customers. What are they fighting with? How can you use social media to solve their problems, entertain them, or somehow make their lives better?
By listening to your customers, you'll learn how to engage your audience and raise their mood.
For complete tips on understanding your audience, check out our guide to conducting audience research.
Engagement in social media can be divided into two categories:
- Reactive engagement. When replying to comments, mentions, and direct messages on social media.
- Proactive engagement. When you take the first step and get in touch with other users. This is especially useful for building excitement about a particular campaign or product launch.
Both are necessary to raise the mood on social media. The key is to maximize positive interactions and resolve negative mentions quickly.
For more information, see our article on social media engagement.
Play with your strengths
Social media feels most authentic when you do what you already do best with it.
Do you have a great team? Look for ways that they can become part of your social presence. Perhaps you have in-depth specialist knowledge on a certain topic? Let your followers know what you know.
Like the Heathrow example above, social sentiment can help you understand what your audience thinks is great about your brand. You can also learn what to think is not that hot.
Play to your strengths as you work on improving the lagging areas.
Above all, look for ways to add value to your fans and followers while remaining true to your brand identity.
Track the mood on social media and manage all your profiles from a single dashboard with Hootsuite. Schedule posts, reply to comments, measure performance, and more.