Social Mention Sentiment Analysis: A Comprehensive Guide For Marketers

The social media scene is noisy. Everyone has something to say. There are so many brands and influencers, all vying for the attention of their target audience.

Sometimes, they have enormous resources at their disposal. But winning this battle has less to do with your budget and more to do with how attuned you are to the emotions and opinions of your audience. This is where social media sentiment analysis comes in to save the day.

Look, all those spreadsheets full of data in Excel are fantastic. But when was the last time you actually went to see what people have to say about your brand?

I guess we can all agree that marketing goes far beyond the numbers. Marketing is about feelings, opinions, and emotions (in the end, 95% of all purchases are emotional; it’s no secret).

So, isn’t this the perfect way to actually learn what your clients have to say? To help you out, today, we will explore the many benefits of social mention sentiment analysis and how to get started.

What is social media sentiment analysis and why does it matter?

Simply put, social media sentiment analysis is tracking brand mentions, gathering relevant information, and analyzing the data with one goal in mind – to determine how people perceive your brand and learn their opinions about you across social platforms.

This is exactly what you need if you hope to better understand your audience and create better-targeted content. But there’s even more to it. Most people already know how to check engagement metrics like comments, likes, dislikes, shares, etc.

But you also need to be able to turn all that into meaningful information that you can use to power up your marketing strategy. Generally, when people share content and mention brands, it might look great, but this doesn’t always result in a positive outcome for a business. 

For example, typing “Nestle” into X (formerly Twitter) search will bring up more instances of negative brand mentions than positive ones. You will see everything from someone complaining about a discontinued chocolate bar to the famous worldwide scandals

A screenshot of a random negative Twitter post about the Nestle brand

With sentiment analysis, you can quickly identify issues early on. Based on what you find, you can then respond quickly and effectively to control your brand narrative and take it in a different direction (if needed).

Often, the most effective way of doing this is by publishing press releases. You can reach out to media by yourself, hire a freelancer, or use a news sharing company (platform). But before you submit a press release, think carefully about the message you want to communicate.

Real-world examples of good social media sentiment analysis 

Social media is a powerful tool for online marketing, so you want to ensure that you are active on as many SM platforms as possible, especially the ones like Twitter (now X), which can be a goldmine for growing your traffic if you learn how to tap into it.

But that’s only the beginning of your journey – you must be able to understand the kind of interactions people are having with your brand, and this makes sentiment analysis an essential factor for growth. Here are some real-world examples of good analysis:

#1 Nike

A screenshot of a Twitter post by Colin Kaepernick featuring the Nike hashtag #justdoit

In 2016, during the NFL’s preseason, Colin Kaepernick took a stance against police brutality by taking a knee during the national anthem. This sparked a heated discussion that went on for years, with people divided on whether this was the right action or not.

Nike, as one of the world’s top sportswear brands, had a decision to make and take a stand. So, they made the bold choice to support him – a move now called “the Kaepernick gamble” by the media. By monitoring public opinion, Nike was able to track brand mentions and public reaction to this campaign across social media.

Very quickly, it became apparent that their move was not only the right one but also the most profitable stance despite the initial backlash from some customer segments. The company made over $6 billion off that campaign within a year!

a screenshot of a Twitter post commedning Nike for sticking to their Justdoit campaign in support of Colin Kaepernick despite the initial controversy.
A screenshot of a Twitter post supporting Nike for sticking to their Justdoit campaign

#2 Fitbit

A good sentiment analysis helps you align with your customers’ expectations, improve your brand credibility, and build trust. This is exactly what Fitbit experienced first-hand. By constantly monitoring what users say about them online, they were able to come up with new ideas to improve their services and products based on feedback and requests. 

For example, the “reminders to move” feature, which gently nudges users to get more active, is a successful result of this approach. Today, though relatively new to the scene compared to other brands, Fitbit has been able to build a loyal following of customers and grow their business.  

How to perform social sentiment analysis in 4 simple steps

Social sentiment analysis, when done right, can help you stay relevant and keep your competitive edge even if your ideal customers evolve. Here’s an easy guide to help you get started right away:

1. Monitor your brand mentions

Today, thanks to the many tools available (more on that later), it’s very easy to monitor brand mentions across all social media platforms. Also, you can now discover and track the conversations even when they don’t tag your SM handles. Most social listening tools like Hootsuite streams allow you to do that. 

A screenshot of a negative Twitter post complaining about IOS 16

The goal is to keep track of every instance where you are tagged and the times where you are not tagged but your brand name appears in the conversation. Still, monitoring your brand mentions goes beyond just names, so you should also keep an eye on the use of brand-relevant keywords and hashtags. 

2. Dig deep into the sentiments behind the mentions

A screenshot of a Twitter comment appreciating Starbucks in Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina

While there are many types of emotions, some of which are more complex than others, in your social sentiment analysis, you want to focus on three broad categories, namely positive, negative, and neutral. 

To the untrained eyes, a comment may seemingly appear random and doesn’t really mean much. Yet, to SM marketers and specialists, there is always a word or phrase that highlights an emotion, even when it isn’t obvious. 

So you want to look out for those phrases or words like “perfect, “great,” “best,” “worst,” “meh,” “sucks,” etc. Once you identify these sentimentally loaded terms, you want to group them according to the emotions they convey, keeping context in mind. This way, you can know when your social media strategy to serve up humorous engagement hits the target.

3. Track social sentiment scores

Your analysis is not complete after you become aware of the words or key phrases used to describe your products or services. You should feel the pulse of your target audience and customers before and after launching a campaign.

But how? Calculate and weigh the percentages for the negative and positive mentions before, during, and after. 

If you check the percentage of your total mentions that are positive and there are more positive than negative, then you are clearly doing something right. But of course, you will need to keep an eye on this and ensure that it doesn’t tilt towards the other side of the scale.

Also, it’s important to come up with strategies to increase positive reviews while reducing the size of negative mentions in your chart.

4. Mind the challenges and know the limitations

A screenshot of a Twitter post arguing that online sentiment scores don’t always align with reality

Like everything else in life, there are hurdles to be aware of when running a social media sentiment analysis. For example, if you rely on unstructured or inaccurate data (which, let’s face it, is rampant on social media), then inevitably, the conclusions will be incorrect. Then, sometimes, it might be complicated to really get the right context for a comment. 

What’s worse is that your preferred monitoring tool might not pick up on nuances such as irony, sarcasm, etc. This is why no matter how well your algorithm is trained to analyze sentiments, it’s always a good idea to have a human go over the data and double-check it. 

There is also an argument as to whether online sentiment scores reflect offline opinions. But the truth is they both count because offline clients are also the ones coming online to express their contentment or dissatisfaction. So, both groups overlap, and usually, it’s hard to distinguish them.

Best ways for tracking brand mentions & more

If you are in a competitive niche, getting new customers can be challenging. Many marketers rely on guest posting to improve their SEO rankings and get more customers with varying success. Adding social mention analysis can help you better understand how to make your guest posts more aligned with what your audience actually wants to see. 

And the right sentiment analysis tools are crucial if you want to stay on top of your game. You may have heard of options like HootSuite Insights, Brand24, Semrush, etc., but here’s why we recommend Keyhole for tracking your brand sentiment analysis on social media: 

Real-time social listening

Use our #Listening & Campaigns section to catch relevant insights as they happen to help you grow your brand. Imagine you put in a lot of effort learning how to create a new social media style guide or launch a new product. How do you know if it resonates with your audience? 

With Keyhole, you are able to instantly capture brand mentions and keep tabs on your reputation across all social platforms. Get notifications and more.

Track your keywords, gauge how your target audience is feeling about your latest campaigns and launches, and know exactly how to respond. Cut through the jargon and understand the conversations. All it takes is a keyword or more and the click of a button. 

Influencer tracking 

Marketing requires collaboration, not just with anyone. Keyhole gives you the data you need to make strategic decisions when it comes to working with influencers.

With this, you can find the one with the most engagements and track ROI for every campaign. You don’t need tons of subscriptions to different software to stay ahead in your niche. 

Stay ahead of the curve with profile analytics

Track your growth over time and see where your strategies worked and where you need improvements. It can be difficult to make sense of all the social media noise and really get the insights that make your business strategies more effective.

The interface is also easy to use and organize, making it easy to see the data that matters. Don’t forget to do a competitive analysis to know where you stand. 

Tap into current trends

Never go out of relevance as you keep up with the constantly changing trends. It can be hard to keep up with the latest trend, but you don’t have to struggle if you have access to the right tool.

You can tap into current trends, map out the popularity of trends, and even do market research using keywords and hashtags. As a result, you will be able to better understand your audience’s pain points and how to best serve them. 

Remember that good tactics paired with consistency bring real results. The Nike story proves that. So don’t quit when the conversations are not in your favor. Instead, find a way to turn it around.

Wrapping up

The power of social media sentiment analysis lies in what you do with the information and data at your disposal. Use them to adapt your marketing strategy and SEO efforts in real time.

Find ways to respond promptly and positively, even to seemingly neutral or negative feedback, in a way that highlights your decision to constantly do better. And, of course, don’t forget to use the insights you gain to maintain and increase the customer’s happiness. 

While there are many tools for social media sentiment analysis, you want to use one that can handle almost anything you throw at it. Join over 100,000 global brands who are using Keyhole for their decision-making process.

Take the guesswork out of your strategy, and know what your consumers really think and feel about you, your products, and your services. Sign up for the free trial now.

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Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is social sentiment analysis?

A social sentiment analysis is basically any activity or tactic for discovering, analyzing, and interpreting people's opinions, feelings, and behavior toward your brand, product, or service.

2. Is social sentiment analysis always accurate?

The accuracy of your data can be affected by several factors, such as the tool you are using, the source of your information, and even the words or language your audience uses. Most software used do not understand the nuances of human language. This can affect the reliability of the data when customers use colloquial expressions, make ironic statements, etc.

3. What is the data limit for sentiment analysis?

Depending on the size of your business and your target, this can vary. A small business might need thousands of words and phrases, but a bigger company will need, at minimum, a couple of millions or more to get a complete picture of what kind of reputation they have as far as that audience or market is concerned. Of course, this is not set in stone, so feel free to tweak things as needed.

-Increasing website traffic generated through social media by 20%.
-Increasing brand awareness through social media.
-Finding 10 leads every week that come through social media.

4. What social media sentiment tool should I try?

There are many tools that can help you mine the opinions and emotions of the public toward your brand. You want to be sure to choose software that has robust features, is easy to set up, and doesn't require any technical knowledge to use. Keyhole gives you all that and even more at one of the most competitive prices on the market.

Put an end to manual legwork once and for all.