What Is Social Sentiment and Why Is It Important?

Social Sentiment
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With the introduction of the first social media app, life as we know it changed. Staying on top of social media can be a daunting task. You have to produce excellent content, interact with your customers, follow what is being said about your brand and your industry on a regular basis—and quickly master each new digital platform. It can also be difficult to tell if your social media efforts are producing meaningful results for your business. But, it's crucial to not only stay up-to-date with new tools and concepts but to properly measure your efforts.

To accomplish this, you need to be tracking the right metrics on social media. One of the most important measurements is social sentiment.

Why Social Sentiment Is so Important

Social sentiment is a way of measuring the emotions behind social media mentions. It is a manner in which you can measure the tone of the conversation that's taking place—is this person satisfied, happy, angry, or annoyed? It's not enough to know that something is trending. Sentiment adds context to social media. Without sentiment, data can be easily misleading. For example, if your company was launching a new product and it was receiving a huge amount of mentions, you might automatically assume that the product has been well-received.

However, there's the distinct possibility that some, or most, of these posts, were negative.

How Social Sentiment Is Measured

Depending on the size of your company, and the number of social media posts it has, it can be a huge undertaking. A comprehensive review might include reading through each and every post and assigning a numerical score based on the tone of each post.

Luckily, there is a host of tools available to measure and track sentiment. Many of them are free, or at least inexpensive. Many social media platforms provide some sentiment analysis. Tools like BuzzSumo, Google Alerts, PeopleBrowsr, and HootSuite all provide similar services. For example, if a customer tweeted about an experience while shopping at Target, the sentiment would be identified based on descriptive words they used. "Great bargains at Target" would be identified as having a positive sentiment, whereas "Awful customer service at Target" would register as negative.

Social Sentiment Versus Semantic Analysis

While social sentiment and semantic analysis are similar, there are some key differences. Semantic analysis is best described as “keyword analysis,” but it can also be thought of as “topic analysis.” 

Semantic analysis is the study of the meaning of language and how language is understood. For example, when someone says the word “banana,” do they mean a specific brand of banana, or are they just speaking generally? You can use semantic analysis to extract useful, relevant information from large amounts of text and analyze foreign words and regional colloquialisms.

Four Ways You Can Use Social Sentiment 

Evaluating Your Brand's Health: To understand customers' feelings about your brand, it's important to analyze social sentiment regularly. It's an important exercise that aids in your understanding of people’s feelings about your company, product, or service. You can use an automatic sentiment analysis tool to obtain a simple overview of your brand's health without analyzing each post.

Dealing with a Crisis: Social sentiment can clue you into signs that indicate dramatic shifts in your brand's health. A spike in negative posts about your brand might indicate a developing crisis. Your public relations department can use social sentiment tools to find the root of the problem and establish a crisis communications plan to counter the negativity. 

Researching the Competition: Social sentiment is a useful tool to find out how your product or brand is perceived compared to your competitors. Once you understand your competitors' respective sentiments, you can strategize ways to enhance the conversation about your brand.

Moving Forward: Using these powerful social sentiment measuring tools, you can keep up with the ever-changing conversation about your brand and stay relevant.