Niamh Reed
Niamh Reed 17 October 2018

Social media and sentiment analysis: a match made in business heaven

Sentiment analysis and social media go together like bread and butter. Here’s how sentiment analysis can support your social media strategy.

There are more than three billion social media users globally. That’s a lot of people you could potentially reach with your social media strategy. Social media presents businesses with massive potential for business growth, positive brand perception, and great customer service.

But this potential is difficult to realise. Unfortunately, complaints, enquiries and even praise from consumers on social media aren’t always handled appropriately, if at all. As a result, many businesses fail at cultivating a positive brand reputation on these social channels.

This is where sentiment analysis comes into play. It helps businesses monitor their brand perception and give their social media presence a boost toward the positive.

What is sentiment analysis?

Sentiment analysis is the name for technology that senses tone and emotion behind the text we post online and send in messages. It works by looking for keywords in our posts that denote positivity (great, excellent, happy, relieved etc.) and negativity (bad, awful, waiting, broken etc.). It then quantifies each post as positive, negative, or neutral.

It’s young and can be fooled by sarcasm, but it’s still capable of giving a pretty good idea about how your customers feel about your brand, your business and your customer service.

The meaning behind the message

In a world where Facebook and Twitter never sleep, your customer service needs to be ready 24/7. With 78% of people who complain to a business on Twitter expecting a response within the hour, creating a positive customer experience on social media can benefit from all the help available.

But online messages can be tricky to get emotional meaning from. They don’t have facial or vocal cues to help, and when you’re on the clock, a wrong response might lead to a social media faux pas that can make a negative sentiment worse.

When sentiment analysis is added to the mix, however, it analyses each of these messages and gives them a sentiment score. This allows your messages and mentions to be automatically parsed by emotional context. In turn, this helps you make sure that each complaint, enquiry or positive comment on social media is responded to appropriately. Be that by a human agent, a chatbot, or automation software.

Public perception

The sentiment score of these social media mentions can also be analysed to show positive or negative feelings about the brand and business. And it can do this whether you have six mentions or 6,000.

This level of fine-tuned analysis offers an accurate overview of your public perception amongst social media users. This overview can be a quick snapshot of the current sentiment about your business. Or it could be an ongoing analysis that lets you track your brand perception over time. This means that you can watch how your brand perception evolves as your business grows.

Plus, using sentiment analysis at the right time, or on posts and mentions relating to targeted keywords, can indicate the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns. A positive or negative sentiment following a new marketing campaign will tell you what resonated well with social media users, and what didn’t.

Sentiment analysis on social media, then, will help you define part of your audience. It will help you refine your brand identity and voice. And you could gain a clearer understanding of your market. With this information, you can fine-tune your marketing.

Grow your presence

By using sentiment analysis to monitor your social media and improve your customer experience on platforms like Twitter and Facebook, you stand to gain brand awareness and increasing presence — helping your business grow. In fact, 71% of customers that have a good social media experience with a business are likely to recommend that brand to others. So, when you improve your social media experience, you stand to improve your brand awareness too.

The beauty, and the beast, of social networks for businesses is that responses to complaints are available to both current and future customers. When you have sentiment analysis on your side, you have something helping you ensure a great social media customer experience and a positive brand voice. So, handling customer service through a public platform changes from the bane of PR, to the perfect opportunity to transform complaints into a positive brand reputation exercise.

In other words, you can not only show off a great customer experience on social media, but demonstrate to prospective customers that your support (and so your business) is accessible and friendly.

Hand in hand

With sentiment analysis, your social media can tell you what people think of your brand as it grows. It can outline how well your latest marketing effort has been received, and it can provide a platform for you to show off your great customer service.

When sentiment analysis and social media are put together, the benefits to your business and brand perception make it clear; the two are a match made in business heaven.

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