Customer engagement speaks volumes about your brand’s popularity. But how do customers feel about your brand? That’s the question a sentiment analysis aims to answer.
Your customers go through a range of emotions when they interact with your brand. Some are positive — they laugh at an all-too-relatable meme you shared. They’re overcome by warm, fuzzy feelings when they see your friendly holiday ad. They feel empowered when you share a motivational quote.
And then there are the not-so-positive emotions: the eye rolls after seeing a cheesy ad. The sour taste of a bad experience with your brand. The sticker shock when they see the price for your latest product.
For better or for worse, customers will feel some way about your brand. Here’s how you can gauge these feelings by conducting a sentiment analysis using social media intelligence.
What Is Sentiment Analysis?
Customer sentiments are the feelings that customers have about your brand when engaging with your products and services. Discovering and unpacking these feelings are the foundation of sentiment analysis.
Think of sentiment analysis as a formal, structured process to find out how your audience thinks and feels about your brand. Tools like Natural Language Processing (NLP) and algorithms conduct sentiment analysis at scale to detect positive, negative, and neutral customer emotions, as well as the magnitude of those emotions.
Analyzing customer sentiments can help brands decide if they’re delivering the experiences they think they are. Ultimately, brands are creating these experiences for the customer, not the brand itself. By learning more about the customers’ feelings when interacting with your brand, you can deliver more of what customers like and avoid what they don’t like.
How Does Sentiment Analysis Apply to Social Media Intelligence?
Sentiment analysis tools have become non-negotiable for improving social media intelligence and are part of an overarching intelligence strategy. Brands often deploy these tools on social media channels because customers willingly and openly share their opinions there.
There’s no denying that social media is a powerhouse of influence. Comments and content shared by your audience are public. When people want to research a brand, they often head to social media to see what others are saying. Research shows that social media is now as powerful as television for consumers making buying decisions. Consumers rely on social content and reviews to form opinions, become aware of products and services, and plan future purchases.
That’s why brands put so much emphasis on monitoring their social media image—how one person feels about your brand will impact how others feel about you, too.
How Can Brands Use Sentiment Analysis?
Analysis software can search a brand’s social media channels to look for keywords and brand mentions. It can also go beyond a brand’s channels to include other digital sources, such as forums, online review sites, blogs, and social networks. (This is important since 96% of consumers that talk about a brand on social media do not follow that brand!)
After collecting data, these tools compile them into bite-sized insights that brands can use to improve their consumer experiences. Let’s look at some of the steps you might take after conducting sentiment analysis and how those steps benefit your brand:
Deliver Top-Notch Customer Service
Consumers are becoming less inclined to tolerate poor customer experiences. Nine in 10 customers say service is a top factor when deciding to do business with a brand. Likewise, the majority of consumers say poor customer service is the number one reason they stop buying from a brand. A lack of good service has also encouraged 78% of customers to back out of a purchase.
Gauging your performance on the customer service aspect is mission-critical to your bottom line. Although many brands believe they are giving customers what they want, only a slight percentage of customers agree that brands understand their needs. That’s why customer sentiment analysis can be so powerful. It relies on data, not gut feelings or opinions, to determine whether you’re really connecting with customers on their level.
What’s more, it offers more insight into the “why” behind their sentiments. If a customer has negative feelings about your brand, learning what’s driving those feelings can help you decide the best way to change.
Improve Products and Services
Customer sentiments can reveal whether your products and services are meeting customer needs or falling short of expectations. Learn more about what your customers like, don’t like, and would like to see from your brand so you can improve on your offerings.
Bonus tip: Don’t just limit this to your own brand. There’s nothing wrong with a little competitive recon. The same sentiment analysis tools you use for your own brand can also look for customer sentiments about your competitors. This is a great way to discover industry trends and find flaws in your competitors’ products that you can address in your own products.
Generating a Higher ROI from Marketing Campaigns
Brands often design their marketing and ad campaigns to elicit certain emotions from their audience. Heartwarming stories, snapshots of success, and special deals that create a sense of urgency can all make customers feel differently in different moments.
Measuring customer sentiments after a campaign can help you understand whether your creative hit the target or missed it completely. One example is Expedia CA’s violin music-fueled commercial that had some viewers complaining after hearing the music ad nauseam. The company quickly addressed the complaints by airing a follow-up ad where the violin gets smashed, thus ending the screeching torture.
You can also use sentiment analysis to guide your next marketing initiatives. For example, after the launch of the documentary “Super Size Me,” McDonald’s UK sales tumbled as more consumers shifted their focus to healthier options. In response, McDonald’s aligned with new customer sentiments to eliminate the Super Size option, launch new healthy menu items, and give away free pedometers as part of its “Every Step Counts” campaign.
Discover and Resolve Issues
Unhappy customers will tell anywhere from 9-15 people about their experience. Oftentimes, the brand is not one of those people. Brands can’t resolve issues they don’t know they have, which is why many proactively monitor for issues via customer sentiment. Social media intelligence sheds light on unknown situations so that brands can step in and take action.
No brand can deliver on every customer’s expectations every time. But the key to retaining a customer that’s had a problem or issue with your brand is to try to make it right. A bad experience doesn’t have to be the final answer; rather, it’s an opportunity to offer a personalized resolution that will improve your reputation and may win their long-time loyalty.
Why AI-Powered Sentiment Analysis Is a Competitive Differentiator
Social media has opened new doors to gain real consumer insights. But the conversations on social media are many—billions of insights take countless hours to read and analyze.
That’s why AI is becoming critical to next-level sentiment analysis. AI tools can analyze billions of data points in real time and quickly turn brand mentions and keywords into usable insights. Algorithms rely on NLP to understand the context of conversations and nuances of opinions. After collecting the data, insights are categorized to determine the person’s attitude toward a brand and their opinion’s magnitude.
What makes an AI approach different from traditional social listening tools is that AI goes beyond using a keywords-driven strategy. Keywords only tell part of the story and can be used in different contexts. Non-AI tools stop short of interpreting the feelings behind the words, and therefore are less reliable in terms of gauging customer sentiment. When NLP is added to the mix, brands can get a better sense of what customers are saying and how they’re feeling. That’s where brands will notice the biggest difference.
Automating the process of collecting consumer sentiments allows brands to capitalize on more opportunities.They gain findings and insights from more content, plus the accuracy is higher because AI can analyze its findings against more pieces of data.
Results to Expect with Consumer Sentiment Analysis
The benefits of consumer sentiment analysis focus beyond surface-level insights about the customer experience. They aim to discover not only how customers feel about a brand, but also why they feel that way.
As a result, brands can use the results of sentiment analysis to make impactful changes to a product, service, or process to better serve their customers. It demonstrates that brands hear what their customers are saying and care enough about their experiences to adjust to their needs. Once you make these changes, continue tracking your customers’ sentiments to see if they improve.
In addition, sentiment analysis can help brands pick out common themes in a sea of customer feedback. Analyzing each response can take a Herculean effort and make it hard to decide where to prioritize your efforts. Allowing sentiment analysis tools to sort and categorize the data makes it easier to spot common denominators so brands can address their customers’ largest needs without the guesswork.
Linkfluence’s Radarly works across multiple platforms and supports multiple languages to monitor consumer sentiment. After ingesting new content, Radarly compares it to the billions of posts the tool has already classified. It detects similar patterns and infers sentiments based on probabilities. Our team of experts also regularly tests new methods of classification to ensure accurate results.
Request a demo to see Linkfluence in action and start finding the insights that help you make changes that matter.