The history of sentiment analysis and social media
With all the mass reach social media has these days, the power that comes with riding your wave is just hard to deny. With thousands of posts and tweets, the chatter seems to have no end. But it’s important to know whether all of this gossip is for or against your agendas. Imagine launching a product that has become the talk of the town. But is it all good or bad? A little more context, especially if you’re running a business, won’t hurt anyone.
Enter sentiment analysis.
In sentiment analysis, also known as opinion mining, opinions in a certain text are defined and categorized as positive, negative or neutral. On the other hand, if you do a sentiment analysis on social media, you will learn how people are feeling about your brand online. Instead of just counting in mentions or comments, sentiment analysis also takes into account emotions and opinions. It’s mainly about collecting and analyzing information in the posts that people share about your brand on social media platforms.
The most attractive factor in using social media for sentiment analysis is that there is a huge pool of data to collect. With the increasing number of consumers tagging and talking about brands on different platforms, measuring public opinion is no longer a job. In addition, the analysis encourages companies to be more proactive with social media and to be in direct contact with their customers. You can translate those feelings into actionable business data and keep customers’ emotions from falling by the wayside.
So how do we do an analysis of social sentiment?
The ideal way to do an analysis of sentiment on social media is to collect all the data you can. While sentiment analysis can lead to relevant insights for brands, it has its own challenges.
Step 1: find out where the consumer is speaking
Consumers everywhere don’t shy away from reaching out to brands – both on and off social media. Businesses must pay close attention to all social mentions wherever their customers address them directly. This is how a brand manages to use the good and tackle the bad in good time. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Youtube and LinkedIn are the best places to analyze the mentions when consumers speak directly to the brands there. It is also important to monitor review forums on third party websites like Google Reviews, Reddit, etc. If you find yourself in the ecommerce world, the on-site reviews are especially valuable. However, manually monitoring all of these platforms can be time consuming. For this reason, a social listening tool is highly recommended for reasons of time.
Step 2: Choose your terms for analysis
Sentiment analysis only works if you can separate the positive from the negative mentions. For example, best, high five, love, amazing, perfect, etc. are positive terms, while worst, hate, disappointed, bad, avoid, etc. are negative terms. Hence, finding specific terms that highlight customer sentiment is of great importance. Some terms are relatively straightforward while others can be industry specific. In any case, the mood terms must be clearly divided into positive and negative terms.
Step 3: add context to your mentions
Everything gets a bit tricky here. The number of sentimental terms in your searches won’t always tell the full story of how customers are feeling. It is important to double-check your mentions and put context while leaving room for analytical errors caused by sarcasm. If someone tweeted, “I love it when I lose my luggage after a nine-hour flight,” they are not enthusiastic about their experience. Hence, it is important to check the context of the mentions before counting them.
Step 4: let an analytics tool do the work for you
The sheer amount of conversations currently going on is enough to motivate you to invest in a third-party hearing aid. These tools allow you to monitor and organize your social mentions in real time, as well as select sentiment analysis terms that you want to track and generate a sentiment analysis report. This report monitors all positive, negative, and neutral mentions over time to see if brand awareness is improving every month or not.
Social media is probably the largest pool from which to search for public opinion and collect informative data about the success or failure of a particular brand, product, or marketing campaign in the eyes of the public. Sentiment analysis is not a perfect way to analyze what works and what doesn’t for a brand. But it is definitely a starting point to understand the general sentiment in the public that can be used to initiate campaigns based on their feedback.