Social Media Sentiment Analysis: What Marketers Need to Know

Would you like to discover your audience's feelings towards your brand? Boost your online reputation? Ward off social media crises before they even happen?

If you answered yes, it's time you embrace social media sentiment analysis.

Here's everything you need to know about analyzing sentiment - from what it is and how it works to why you need to leverage it for your business.

Sentiment analysis is a powerful tool in any marketers' hands.

It adds depth to your social media performance monitoring by allowing you to understand not only the content, but also the context of what users are saying online.

This valuable insight, which you can only gain through sentiment analysis, will show you where you need to fine-tune your strategy to improve your results.
Yet, many companies fail to tap into this benefit.

Why?

They don't know how to leverage social media sentiment analysis in the right way or what kind of perks it would bring to their business.

Do these concerns sound familiar?

Below we reveal how to properly run sentiment analysis and use it to power your strategy:

What is sentiment analysis?

Here's a basic sentiment analysis definition:

Sentiment analysis is the process of identifying users' opinions expressed in text and categorizing them as positive, negative, or neutral.

You can run this process manually by reading through every message, comment, or review you received from your audience and labeling them accordingly. This process is extremely time-consuming, as you need to comb through millions of your community’s conversations.

To speed things up, you can automate your sentiment analysis activities and have smart algorithms do the job for you. As a result, you're able to analyze whole campaigns in a single click, compare their results, and even monitor their evolution over time.

Interested in how automated sentiment analysis works in practice? Check it out here.


We won't be diving deep into the mechanics of automated sentiment analysis here. On a basic level, though, it involves advanced technology, such as machine learning, natural language processing, and text polarity classification.

Image

Thanks to all these processes, you can analyze the sentiment of any written text across the Internet. But since you're interested in social media specifically, we're going to take a closer look at how sentiment analysis works on social media platforms.

Automated sentiment analysis example

Imagine you received the following review on your Facebook page:

"I really enjoy how easy this product is to use and how it successfully helps my team complete their day-to-day tasks."

Looking at this sentence, you can immediately tell the review is positive.

But how would computer algorithms determine its sentiment?

First of all, they would examine each word of the review and establish whether the mood they're conveying is positive, negative, or neutral. Then, they would measure how many words there are in each category and, based on this number, assign a sentiment type.

In the case of the mentioned review, there are two positively charged words - "enjoy" and "successfully" - which indicate that the entire sentence is positive.

Image

Of course, this is a very basic example and you'll likely receive more elaborate messages from your audience. Complexity is not an issue for the algorithms running social media sentiment analysis, though.

Today's advanced sentiment analysis tools can break down roughly any written message and determine its sentiment in no-time. As a result, you're able to quickly learn the feelings and emotions behind your audience's messages and respond appropriately.

TIP: For an extra granular sentiment analysis, use Socialbakers Suite. Our sentiment analysis tool will allow you to track sentiment on a post and campaign level and monitor its evolution over time.

Social media sentiment analysis vs. listening: what's the difference?

Looking at the example discussed in the previous section, you might wonder how sentiment analysis is different from listening.

Let us break it down for you:

Social media listening is the process of monitoring conversations across social media channels and identifying what is being said about topics that are relevant to you.

Social media sentiment analysis is the process of monitoring conversations across social media and identifying their context to understand the feelings and emotions of your audience.

Image

In essence, sentiment analysis adds a critical layer of insight to social media listening.

It complements the information you collect through listening and helps you build a more accurate picture of the ongoing online discussions around your business.

Let's illustrate this point using a real-life example.

Here's a tweet mentioning Socialbakers:

Image

Now, let's imagine we want to monitor conversations about Socialbakers happening on Twitter.

Using social media listening would allow us to discover this particular tweet and learn that the Twitter user @StickandGrow mentioned Socialbakers and our persona template tool in his post.

In other words, listening would enable us to find out the number and names of users mentioning our brand.

Using social media sentiment analysis, on the other hand, would help us understand the context of @StickandGrow's post. We would be able to see that the user expressed a positive attitude in his message and learn that he liked our tool.

To sum up, sentiment analysis is an invaluable addition to listening, giving you the key to understand online conversations and brand perception: the context.

Benefits of sentiment analysis for brands

There are tons of benefits of social media sentiment analysis your business simply can't overlook.

Here are five of the most important ones:


  1. Tracking your brand perception. Sentiment analysis is essential for monitoring your brand's reputation across social media. It allows you to gauge users' opinions about your business and understand what steps you need to take to enhance your brand’s image. 
  2. Adding depth to your performance analysis. Sometimes, raw KPIs values won't tell you the whole story. Social media sentiment analysis adds context to your performance and helps you figure out why certain trends, such as spikes in engagement or follower growth, are happening. 
  3. Gaining competitive insights. You don't have to limit yourself to only measuring feelings and emotions around your brand. Sentiment analysis works great for uncovering users' opinions about your competitors too, which can help you make better tactical decisions and get ahead of the game.
  4. Improving relationships with your audience. Knowing how your audiences feel about your business is important to building lasting customer relationships. It allows you to tailor your content and community management strategies and ensure your messaging resonates properly. 
  5. Spotting and preventing potential crises. Monitoring the emotions expressed by your audience can act as a crisis detector. By identifying an influx of negative tone messages early on, you're able to spot the upcoming crisis and take measures to stop it before it spreads.

The Takeaway

Social media sentiment analysis adds a whole new dimension to your performance insights. It enables you to uncover your audience's emotions about your brand, which can shape your social media marketing strategy and make it much more effective.

So, don't hesitate to try sentiment analysis yourself and see what benefits it will bring to your business!


You May Also Like

Socialbakers recognized in Enterprise Social Media Suites based on user reviews Socialbakers recognized in Mid-Market Social Media Analytics based on user reviews

High Performer & Leader
Social Media Suites, Social Media Management
and Social Media Monitoring, Social Media Analytics Category

G2 Crowd

Users love Socialbakers on G2 Crowd

Users Love Us Award

G2 Crowd

Market Leader

Market Leader

Featured Customers

5 of 5 Stars User Reviews 5 of 5 Stars User Reviews

5 of 5 Stars User Reviews & Top 20 Most
Popular Social Media Marketing Software

Capterra