What Is Social Sentiment?

Social Sentiment Explained

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Social sentiment is a way of measuring the emotions behind social media and other online mentions. Social sentiment doesn't just look at how many people are talking about your business. It adds context by measuring the tone of those conversations, comments, and mentions.

Businesses need to produce excellent content and interact with customers. Using social sentiment as a key metric, businesses can understand and engage in conversations surrounding their brand and industry.

What Is Social Sentiment?

Social sentiment is a way of measuring the emotions behind social media and other online mentions. Social sentiment can be:

  • Positive: Consumers are enthusiastic, happy, or excited.
  • Negative: Consumers are angry, annoyed, or frustrated.
  • Neutral: Consumers seem satisfied but don't express any particular feelings.

Social sentiment doesn't just look at how many people are talking about your business, it adds context by measuring the tone of those conversations, comments, and mentions.

  • Alternate name: brand sentiment

How Social Sentiment Works

Without sentiment, data can be misleading. If your company receives a large number of mentions on social media while launching a new product, you might assume the launch has been successful. However, if the majority of posts are negative, then the opposite is true.

But the presence of negative sentiment doesn't mean that a product or brand is a failure. The ratio of positive to negative is also important. Not every consumer will love your business. Even those who are loyal customers will sometimes discover products they don't like or have a negative experience.

Note

As long as the majority of customers have neutral to positive feelings toward your company, your overall social sentiment will be positive.

How to Measure Social Sentiment

Like any other marketing metric, you can't use the information that social sentiment provides without first measuring, analyzing, and understanding it.

Depending on the size of your company and the number of social media posts it has, measuring sentiment 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.

For businesses without the time and staff for a comprehensive review, there are a number of free and inexpensive tools available to measure and track sentiment. Most social media platforms provide some sentiment analysis, as do many third-party social media applications. Tools like BuzzSumo, Google Alerts, PeopleBrowsr, Rapidminer, and HootSuite all provide similar services.

These tools help identify sentiment based on descriptive words that customers or followers use in reference to your brand.

Tip

"Great bargains at Your Business" would be identified as having a positive sentiment, whereas "Awful customer service at Your Business" would register as negative. "Bought this sweater at Your Business" would be considered neutral.

Four Ways You Can Use Social Sentiment

Businesses can learn a lot from measuring social sentiment, but they can also use that information to help inform future decisions.

  1. Evaluate Your Brand's Health: Measuring your brand's sentiment provides a snapshot of how customers feel about your company, product, or service at that point in time. For regular analysis, you can use an automatic sentiment analysis tool to obtain a simple overview of your brand's health without analyzing each post. For big launches or other major brand events, dig a little deeper to make sure your marketing efforts are received positively.
  2. Deal With a Crisis: Social sentiment can indicate dramatic shifts in your brand's health. A spike in negative posts about your brand might indicate a developing crisis that needs to be addressed quickly. Your public relations department can use your brand's sentiment tools to find the root of the problem and develop a plan to counter the negativity. 
  3. Research the Competition: Doing a comparison of different brands' sentiments can show how your product or brand is perceived compared to your competitors. Once you understand your competitors' respective sentiments, you can strategize ways to improve the conversation about your brand or appeal more successfully to your target market.
  4. Move Your Marketing Forward: Social sentiment is a powerful tool for understanding the relationship between your brand, your customers, and your competitors. If you measure it regularly and act on what you learn, your team can create new marketing strategies for keeping up with the ever-changing needs and opinions of your customers.

Key Takeaways

  • Social sentiment is a way of measuring the emotions behind social media and other online mentions.
  • Social sentiment doesn't just look at how many people are talking about your business—it adds context by measuring the tone of those conversations, comments, and mentions.
  • Businesses can learn a lot from measuring social sentiment, but they can also use that information to help inform future decisions.