Using Social Media Sentiment Analysis to Really Understand Your Members

Have you ever wondered how your members feel about your membership site and business? How they truly feel? If you were a fly on the wall, you could probably learn a ton just listening to your customers’ casual conversations. We recently talked about the differences between social media monitoring and social media listening. And we gave you a list of tools you can use to listen to your social media.

Quick reminder about social listening: 

Social listening is where you . . . listen to what’s being said about your company and your brand—even when you’re not mentioned—and even what’s being discussed about your competitors and in your industry. Social listening is keeping your ears (and eyes) open for online conversations your current or potential customers are having that have to do with your business by tracking topics, themes, keywords, and hashtags relevant to your industry.

But there’s a part of social media listening we didn’t talk about as in-depth, and that’s social media sentiment. Social media sentiment is the part of social media listening that informs you about the positive and negative emotions behind a social post or conversation regarding your business. It’s a way of measuring and knowing what’s behind mentions, shares, comments, and other engagements. It’s putting metrics into context and, as with almost every other situation in life, knowing the context in which something is said is critical to accurate understanding. 

For example, you may be excited about all the shares your most recent Facebook post is getting, but what if those shares are captioned with “Don’t buy this product!”? Not good. You need to know these things so you can make adjustments—not just to change the perception but possibly to the product as well. If there’s a positive in this negative, though, it’s that you’re hearing (social listening!) this sentiment straight from the customer, not via hearsay. Emotions are what drive users to share, comment, and engage with a post, so you want to be sure the emotions driving your customers are positive.

How Sentiment Helps Your Overall Business

Knowing how your customers and followers feel about your business is key to current and future product creation and marketing strategies. The more you know about what your audience wants, the more you know which products and services will fit their needs. When you understand how customers currently feel about your brand and business as a whole, you have a better idea of what future products and services and marketing strategies are needed to generate leads and interest. 

Another benefit of analyzing and knowing social media sentiment is that you get a better idea of how your product or service compares to your competitors’. If your product is getting negative reviews and your competitor is getting positive reviews, what are people saying about how your competitor did better? Knowing this helps you adjust your strategies.

And overall, you can improve your customer service by doing the number-one thing customers want from you: for you to listen!

How to Measure Sentiment

Sentiment is measured by analyzing the emotions that drive shares, mentions, and other engagement. You want your membership site to be mentioned as having “awesome e-courses,” not “inattentive to client concerns.” So does that mean you have to analyze each and every post? Yes! Are there tools to help you do that? Of course! There are many social-media-sentiment analysis tools to help you measure which posts are good and bad and which are neutral. 

But just a quick note: of course, human emotions are more complex than good, bad, and neutral. What about obsessed, surprised, sad, disappointed, annoyed, or even scared? No matter which tool you use, sometimes the best analyzer of human emotion is a human being. That’s good to keep in mind when reviewing analytics, data, and reports.

Just like there are more emotions than good, bad, and neutral, the context of the conversation and the way it’s being said—the tone—is more than just the words someone writes. For example, if a person comments, “Great. That’s so helpful,” are they meaning it sincerely or sarcastically? Again, sometimes the best analyzer is you, the human being. 

But there are helps out there to get you started analyzing.

  • Hootsuite Insights allows you to sort and filter mentions by sentiment and to track that sentiment with keywords. It provides an overview of sentiment that allows you to determine your next move, campaign, or product. 
  • Brandwatch claims it’s the “world’s leading social listening platform.” With Brandwatch, you get engagement and monitoring analytics tools and also the ability to monitor the tone of posts. 
  • Twitter Advanced Search is a free tool within Twitter that helps you find tweets based on social sentiment, both positive and negative. 
  • QuickSearch gives you an overview of your online brand. Its social media search engine also helps you generate content ideas, find influencers, understand your audience, and spot social trends. 
  • Rapidminer allows you to gain insight by extracting information from the text of different content sources, including social conversations. 
  • Mention gives you the tools you need to see who’s talking about you on social media so you can listen and learn from your members, then improve your brand and business. 
  • Semantria Lexalytics is especially good for understanding the context and tone of a mention or post. It analyzes the words and context of a post against others around it and evaluates the sentiment on that basis. 

How to Use the Results

Now that you know what social media sentiment is and how to analyze it, and you have the tools to interpret your data, you can put out customer-service fires before they spread or even start, keep your brand’s health in check and give it the meds it needs before it falls ill, and keep an eye on the sentiment regarding your competitors’ brand and products—allowing you to hopefully stay one step ahead. 

What do you do to listen to your members on social media? How do you analyze the sentiment in their posts? Let us know in the comments below. 

Categories: Marketing Social Media
About Lindsay Flanagan

Lindsay Flanagan is a senior editor and project and social media manager at Eschler Editing. She earned her Master of Arts in English and Creative Writing and spent over a decade working in higher education before joining the Eschler team. She and her husband are the proud parents of two brilliant daughters and make their home in Heber, Utah.

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