Chocolate and Vanilla ice-cream scopes in a black bowl with a tub of Ben and Jerry's Netflix & Chill'd ice-cream to the right of the bowl

Utilising Social Listening and Sentiment Analysis on Social Media

Utilising Social Listening and Sentiment Analysis to Improve your Social Media Business Decision Making

Since their inception, brands have always tried to gauge the opinions of the public. It’s not an entirely new concept to want to know what your customers are thinking, it’s just that technology has now evolved to the point where we are able to do this with more success. By utilising social media, we are now able to uncover what our audiences are saying about our own brands, our competitors, our industry and the market in general. 

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By closely examining social media channels and tapping into different global markets, a social media manager is able to understand the sentiment around their industry or brand and make more informed business decisions based on the information that they uncover.  

The main ways that this can be achieved are by social monitoring, social listening and social sentiment analysis. Social listening and monitoring are often terms used interchangeably but they have subtle differences. 

Social monitoring is the act of seeing what people are saying, whereas social listening is about analysing why people are saying these things. Social sentiment analysis takes things further and analyses the community’s actual feelings (positive, neutral, negative) around a product or service.

Social Monitoring

Social media monitoring means carefully listening to what people say, anywhere online, about a person, brand, product or thing. Social media monitoring also refers to tracking various conversations around topics and keywords of your interest.

By failing to monitor social media mentions, brands are at risk of missing business intelligence that could inform more strategic decision-making.

The act of monitoring is usually done by social media front line staff or customer care staff and is all possible to do ‘by hand’ but it is suggested that a social media management tool is put to use to automate this process. This will save on time and ensure less is missed than if undertaken manually. 

As an example, Ben & Jerrys would traditionally market their ice cream based on the weather. After checking the forecast, and seeing that a week of sun was coming up, they would fine-tune their messaging and launch a campaign. The idea made sense. Hot weather = customers wanting ice cream. With social monitoring, Ben and Jerrys looked at mentions around their products on sites like Twitter and Instagram and noticed there was actually an increase during poor weather, particularly when it was rainy.

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Social Listening

Whereas social monitoring keeps track of social media mentions and conversations, social listening takes it to the next level. Without the analysis and actionable responses, your brand cannot sufficiently meet the needs of its customers

Social listening can have several business advantages. Learn to create the kind of content your followers are asking for, strategise new ideas based on industry trends and overall improve your customer experience by continuously shifting your strategy to fit the current need.

Social listening, when employed correctly, can help you form future campaigns, improve your messaging, outpace your competition, construct an effective influencer program and even build more impactful brand partnerships.

In the example above of Ben & Jerrys, by monitoring their brand mentions and seeing an increase in rainy weather, the company was able to look for rain in the forecasts, as well as sun, and adjust their marketing plans accordingly. They then went one step further and released a new flavour, aptly named “Netflix and Chill’d”, a collaboration with Netflix which proved extremely popular.

Chocolate and Vanilla ice-cream scopes in a black bowl with a tub of Ben and Jerry's Netflix & Chill'd ice-cream to the right of the bowl
Social Sentiment Analysis

Emotions are the number one factor in making purchasing decisions. With a huge number of consumers now sharing their thoughts and feelings on social media, it pays for brands to understand how their products make people feel. If you want to know exactly how people feel about your business, social sentiment analysis is the answer. 

Again, this is all possible to do ‘by hand’ but it is suggested that a social media management tool is put to use to automate this process. 

Sentiment analysis is only effective when you’re able to separate your positive mentions from your negative ones.

Below is a quick example of what some of those terms might look like for a sentiment search.

  • Positive: best, love, high-five, amazing, perfect, thanks
  • Negative: worst, hate, ugh, disappointed, bad, avoid

It is important once you have these keywords next to your brand name, that you are reading them in the right context. For example, ‘crying’ would usually be seen as a negative emotion; however, if somebody was ‘crying over how funny that joke was” then it is a positive. On the flip side, if somebody “loves’ something, it is implied as positive, but if you “love when Zoom crashes and you can’t speak to your grandma” this would be negative. Context is important!

Mugs with chocolate shaped as a crying face, laughing face, a thumbs up and shocked face on white milk, around a laptop keyboard on a yellow background

Sentiment analysis is extremely critical if your organisation is making significant changes (product launches, price increase, partnerships). Being able to see any shifts in your brand sentiment is crucial.  

Sentiment analysis can also assist in finding your brand voice. When testing different forms of messaging, monitoring your brand sentiment for positive/negative mentions can help you formulate your communication strategy. 

Sentiment analysis is also important when doing competitor analysis. Find out what your rivals are doing and how this makes their customers feel. If you can learn from your competitor’s sentiment analysis it can help shape your own tactics moving forward.

With businesses relying on digital tools now more than ever, it is important that teams have a full understanding of the resources available to them. LSPR has been training professionals for over 25 years and has specially picked a team of digital marketing experts to help coach and guide you and your organisation through this long coming digital shift. Get in touch with our friendly admissions team to find out more about how we can tailor our training sessions specific to your organisation or industry.


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