social sentiment analysis
Analytics & Reporting Competitive Analysis

Deciphering Social Sentiment Analysis - The 2024 Guide

Alexandra Papp
Alexandra Papp
Table of Contents

Social sentiment analysis has become the norm when it comes to brand monitoring, reputation management, and PR strategies.

But lately, social media managers and marketing strategists have started to include it as their monthly practice. Sentiment analysis has been studied and applied in different fields, but mostly in economics, marketing, health, emergencies, and politics.

In this 2024 guide, I will be focusing more on how marketing professionals can leverage social sentiment analysis, by addressing definitions, benefits, examples, how-tos, and tips and tricks.

Social sentiment analysis: the what, the why, and the how

  1. What is sentiment analysis
  2. Why analyze sentiment analysis in social media
  3. How to do sentiment analysis
  4. Social sentiment analysis example (on Instagram)
  5. How to improve your brand sentiment on social media

What is sentiment analysis

Sentiment analysis is the practice of identifying the tone and emotions expressed through written or spoken online communication. It is a subdivision of web & social listening that aims to determine whether a personโ€™s opinion or attitude towards a particular topic, product, etc., is positive, negative, or neutral.

The process is thorough and complex, comprising data mining, AI processing, sentiment classification, and optimization.

Social sentiment analysis on the Tesla brand

Sentiment analysis or opinion mining is a field of natural language processing (NLP) and artificial intelligence (AI), and it is continuously evolving with ongoing research into more nuanced and accurate methods of understanding sentiment and the context in which it is expressed.

To clarify the classification of sentiment analysis, letโ€™s take a look at each sentiment separately:

Positive sentiment meaning

Positive sentiment indicates approval, satisfaction, joy, or even excitement.

Positive sentiment is often associated with positive reviews, endorsements, or expressions of love and happiness towards the subject in question. For example, when a customer expresses satisfaction with a product or service.

Negative sentiment meaning

A negative sentiment reflects dissatisfaction, complaints, criticisms, or expressions of disappointment, sadness, and anger.

Negative sentiment can arise from a bad experience with a product or service, or any other interaction that fails to meet expectations. For example, a customer sharing a negative experience about a faulty product or poor customer service.

Neutral sentiment meaning

Neutral sentiment indicates that the conversation or mention is impartial, lacking strong positive or negative emotions.

Factual remarks, inquiries, or mentions that are neither complimentary nor critical can fall under this category.

When someone is just sharing or seeking information without expressing any personal feelings towards the subject, the AI classifies it as neutral sentiment. This type of indirect feedback is frequently seen in informational content.

Social sentiment analysis of Diego Rodriguez Pringles mention
Social sentiment analysis of Diego Rodriguez Pringles mention

Take for example this neutral sentiment post mentioning the famous brand Pringles, without really expressing emotion about anything in particular, let alone chips.

What is sentiment analysis in social media

Sentiment analysis in social media or social media monitoring sentiment analysis refers to social media listening, as opposed to brand listening or brand monitoring, which usually encompasses all online forms of content, everywhere on the internet.

Sentiment analysis on social media, however, only refers to collecting and analyzing sentiment data from social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, Snapchat, Pinterest, and so on.

Why analyze sentiment analysis in social media

Sentiment analysis is not only used by businesses to get insights into what their customers are saying about their products/services but also by public personas and PR agencies for reputation management.

Social sentiment analysis and sentiment evolution on Costco
Social sentiment analysis and sentiment evolution on Costco

Here are the main reasons why sentiment analysis can be a great asset for your brand:

1. Understanding public opinion

Sentiment analysis in social media allows brands to scout public opinion about their products, services, and overall brand image.

This indirect feedback uncovers valuable insights into what consumers like or dislike, helping companies understand their audience better, and adapt.

2. Crisis management and prevention

By monitoring social sentiment, brands can quickly identify negative trends or feedback that could escalate into a crisis.

Early detection allows businesses or public personas to address the issue swiftly, mitigate the damage, and prevent potential PR disasters.

3. Market insights and product development

Analyzing sentiment can serve as a form of market research, revealing consumer preferences, needs, and gaps in the market.

Sentiment analytics metrics can guide product development, improvements, and innovation.

4. Competitive analysis

Social media sentiment analysis can also be used to monitor competitors' standing in the market.

It helps understand how consumers feel about competitors' products and services and can uncover strategic advantages and opportunities for differentiation.

5. Enhancing customer experience

Feedback collected through social media comments analysis can help brands identify areas of their business that need improvement.

By addressing these issues, companies can enhance customer satisfaction, loyalty, and ultimately, retention.

6. Personalizing marketing and communication

The insights gained from social media text analysis can inspire more personalized and effective marketing strategies.

Social media marketers can tailor their messaging, campaigns, and content to resonate with their audience's current mood and preferences, leading to higher engagement rates.

7. Influencer identification

From micro-influencers to key opinion leaders, social media monitoring, sentiment analysis, and brand monitoring help with easy, quick influencer identification.

Costco social media influencer identification by size
Costco social media influencer identification by size

8. Measuring campaign effectiveness

Brand sentiment metrics are valuable indicators of the impact of marketing campaigns and PR efforts.

By comparing sentiment before and after a campaign, brands can measure its effectiveness in shifting public perception or improving brand sentiment.

Over time, AI sentiment analysis on social media can help predict trends and shifts in consumer behavior. This foresight can be crucial for staying ahead of the curve, adapting strategies proactively, and seizing market opportunities.

10. Studying the Voice of Consumer (VoC)

Action planning, data analysis, and feedback gathering are all part of the customer's voice. Understanding how consumers view and engage with your brand and products is the responsibility of VoC.

Social sentiment analytics with positive results are more likely to indicate better customer relations.

Sentiment analysis in social media provides a bouquet of actionable insights that can significantly enhance many aspects of business operations.

How to do sentiment analysis

The easiest way to perform sentiment analysis for social media is for brand managers, social media marketers, and brand owners to use social listening tools.

These tools automatically scan social media for brand, product, or service mentions and classify them as positive, negative, or neutral.

Social listening and analytics platforms like Sociainsider offer an accessible way for non-technical users to tap into the power of sentiment analysis without needing expertise in data science or natural language processing.

Socialinsider's social sentiment analysis on Cardi B
Socialinsider's social sentiment analysis on Cardi B

So if you are wondering how to measure brand sentiment, follow these 4 easy steps:

#1. Identify on what platforms your target audience spends their time

Before starting to dig for every positive or negative mention on the social mediascape, you should first identify what are the most relevant social media channels for your business.

Where do the whispers come from?

To do so, you need to do a little bit of research and extend your social media research to your niche and competitors.

#2. Make a list of relevant keywords or brand mentions

After successfully identifying where your audience lies, you can start researching the most used and relevant keywords and brand mentions.

Using a social listening tool, you can start with adding a hashtag, and look for popular, related hashtags and keywords.

Make a list with the most used and relevant results.

Popular hashtags for Walmart with Socialinsider social listening tool
Popular hashtags for Walmart with Socialinsider's social listening tool

Hereโ€™s an example of how Socialinsiderโ€™s social listening tool uncovers related hashtags for the brand Walmart.

#3. Add the keywords to a social listening tool

Next, you can either start drawing sentiment analysis on your primary keyword or hashtag, or, you can run all the relevant keywords through the sentiment analysis tool.

#4. Analyse, strategize, and optimise

Once you have a clear sentiment classification, you can start analyzing them by category.

Tools like Socialinsider go in-depth and give you access to clickable content, organized by sentiment, alongside valuable data like engagement rates and reach. From here, you can strategize your next move and optimize your PR campaigns.

Walmart emotion sentiment analysis by Socialinsider
Walmart emotion sentiment analysis by Socialinsider

Social listening, sentiment analysis, and customer feedback management are essential components of effective brand strategy and customer relationship management.

All three of these components can be achieved through social listening tools.

Social sentiment analysis example (on Instagram)

To look a little bit closer at how sentiment analysis is done, I took Walmart as a brand and used Socialinsiderโ€™s Instagram listening platform to measure brand reputation.

Following the steps described above, the platformโ€™s social media sentiment analysis tools offer a detailed view of the sentiment evolution, and categorization (split), out of which almost half of the mentions are neutral, half positive, and a minority of them are negative.

Whatโ€™s cool about the platform is that it not only offers social media sentiment analytics but also emotion analysis.

Here, we can see the number of mentions linked to each emotion: surprise, joy, sadness, disgust, anger, or fear.

Socialinsider's sentiment analysis for Walmart
Socialinsider's sentiment analysis for Walmart

While it is obvious that the majority of mentions express joy, there are still high values for mentions that express negative emotions.

This is why, I can easily filter out these mentions, and reveal the mentions that might raise concerns. In doing so, I can select each mention and choose to interact with it, or, create topic clusters and focus on a strategy to better address the issues.

Socialinsider's social sentiment analysis on negative mentions about Walmart
Socialinsider's social sentiment analysis on negative mentions about Walmart

Pro tip: You always begin sentiment analysis with negative mentions to avoid obvious disasters and further reduce the risk of text analysis errors. You can set up the alerts to alert you each time there is a mention, which will expedite the process and help you avoid a PR crisis.

How to improve your brand sentiment on social media

Now that you know how to measure sentiment, using social listening tools, I will walk you through a few basic but essential steps you can take to improve your brand sentiment on social media:

Step 1: Engage proactively with your audience

Quickly address concerns or negative comments identified through social listening. Sometimes, brand reputation management is a full-time job, if the brand has many mentions to monitor, and a lot of social comments to answer.

Step 2: Celebrating positive feedback

Answering positive comments, resharing endorsements, and interacting with happy clients are key to improving brand sentiment on social media.

Step 3: Create content that resonates with your audience's values and interests

Use the insights from the sentiment analysis to tailor your content marketing strategy. Analyze what type of content determines your audience to engage positively with your brand. ย Focus on what truly matters to your followers, and be ready to answer their positive comments.

Step 4: Get creative

Step out of your comfort zone, and start exploring opportunities where your brand can interact with future clients.

Donโ€™t just wait for them to come to you!

Use sentiment analysis, social media monitoring, or social listening to start new conversations that spark interest in your brand.

Ryanair starting conversations with users on social media
Ryanair starting conversations with users on social media

Ryanair starting conversations with users on social media

Take this Instagram post from Ryanair where they use user-generated content to draw attention and engagement from their customers, at the same time, positioning themselves as a cool brand.

Final thoughts

Social sentiment analysis is a branch of sentiment analysis, aka opinion analysis or opinion mining, and it is widely used by marketing agencies, social media marketers, and business decision-makers.

It helps brands establish their position in the market, through the eyes of their audience.

The perks of social media analysis are numerous, and its value is undebatable.

Setting clear objectives and using the right social listening tools are the secret to creating long-term, strategic content and reputation risk prevention.

Alexandra Papp

Alexandra Papp

Creative Thinker | Content Writer | Sustainability Utopian. Passionate and versatile information scavenger. Funny and witty but also dead serious and determined. Asks a lot of uncomfortable questions.

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