Social Media Sentiment Analysis: An Easy Guide

In this guide, we’ll explore the what, why and how of social media sentiment analysis so you can unlock valuable insights and understand your customers’ emotions and opinions.

Despina Singh
July 12, 2023
7 min read

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Table of Contents

What is social media sentiment analysis? 

Social media sentiment analysis unlocks the essence of what people express about your brand or business across social platform. It goes beyond tallying mentions or comments, delving into the realm of emotions and opinions.  

By analayzing social sentiment, we gain valuable understanding to strengthen our social media monitoring plan, enabling us to grasp how people perceive our products, services and brand. It's like peering into the collective customer conversation, making sense of how people talk about your brand and whether their comments are positive, negative or neutral. 
 
Types of sentiments 
When it comes to emotions it can be quite complex and might not fit into neat categories. However, we can broadly categorize sentiments.  

Whether it's a brand mention or a conversation, they usually carry a specific sentiment: positive, negative or neutral.  

Here’s what some terms might look like for each sentiment:  
 
Positive: fantastic, excellent, delightful, wow, impressive, enthusiastic 
Negative: terrible, awful, horrible, frustrating, annoying, upsettingm, ugh 
Neutral: acceptable, average, okay, moderate, satisfactory, ordinary 

Importance of sentiment analysis in social media 

Social media sentiment analysis plays a vital role in grasping the significance of your brand's presence online. As mentioned earlier, just counting the number of social mentions won't give you the full scoop. It's crucial to delve deeper and uncover the true sentiments expressed by people.  

While a substantial number of mentions may initially appear impressive, if they mainly convey negativity, the narrative changes completely.  

Sentiment analysis lets you uncover the emotions and opinions behind those mentions. This knowledge empowers you to understand public perception and take actions to improve your brand's reputation and address any issues head-on. 
 

In 2020, companies claimed a 54% adoption rate for technologies that analyze customers' sentiment from reviews or social media.  
By the end of 2023, this figure is projected to soar past 80%, showcasing a remarkable surge in implementation. 
Source: Bain & Company  

Top 4 benefits of social media sentiment analysis 

Social media sentiment analysis offers numerous benefits that can have a positive impact on your organization.

  • Brand monitoring and reputation management: Proactively track and manage brand reputation by analyzing sentiment, addressing negative feedback, leveraging positive sentiment and building strong audience relationships 

  • Crisis management and public perception: Effectively manage crises by assessing public reactions, addressing concerns, taking appropriate actions and shaping public perception through timely responses and transparently addressing issues 

  • Audience understanding and engagement: Analyzing social media sentiment allows you to understand and engage with your audience, creating resonant messaging and fostering stronger connections for customer satisfaction 

  • Strategic decision-making and competitive advantage: Gain a strategic advantage by informing decisions, enhancing products, aligning strategies with trends, identifying opportunities, anticipating customer needs and staying ahead in a dynamic landscape 

These benefits testify to the potential of social media and can drive meaningful outcomes for your brand and audience. 

How to leverage Social Listening to grow your BFSI business

Key challenges of social media sentiment analysis 

Social media sentiment analysis has its fair share of challenges. 

Let's explore the key obstacles that researchers and analysts face when attempting to uncover the sentiments hidden within the digital tapestry of social media platforms. 

  • Noisy and unstructured data: Sentiment analysts struggle with social media's noisy and unstructured data, full of short, informal and fragmented texts with context, sarcasm, slang, abbreviations, misspellings, emoticons and emojis 

  • Ambiguity and context-dependence: Identifying sentiment in social media is a tough challenge due to varied posts lacking explicit cues, context, author perspective and intended audience 

  • Handling sarcasm and irony: Sophisticated algorithms are needed to detect figurative language like sarcasm and irony in social media, as sentiment analysis models mainly rely on literal interpretations 

  • Domain-specific challenges: Applying sentiment analysis models trained on general datasets to specific domains or industries poses challenges due to the unique vocabulary, jargon and sentiment patterns of each domain, requiring the construction of domain-specific models or adaptation of existing models for accurate results 

Now that we have explored some challenges of social media sentiment analysis, let's delve into the next area of our guide.

How to perform sentiment analysis in 3 steps 

Performing sentiment analysis on social media platforms can unlock valuable insights into public opinion and brand perception.   

Step 1: Stay in the loop with conversations about your brand

It's important for businesses to monitor their mentions and hashtags on platforms like X, formerly Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and TikTok. This way, you can make the most of positive feedback and address any criticism promptly. 

Don't forget to keep an eye on third-party sites and review forums like Google Reviews, Reddit and Yelp. 
 
If you're in e-commerce, pay attention to on-site reviews from loyal customers — they offer valuable insights. 

Pro-tip: Monitoring all these platforms manually takes time. Use Sprinklr, a social listening tool that collects and monitors real-time social media data, performs sentiment analysis, identifies trends, offers customization options, and provides reporting and analytics capabilities, including tracking relevant keywords associated with your brand, even without direct tagging.

Data on social media intelligence and brand mentions across multiple channels via Sprinklr platform

Step 2: Choose the right terms for sentiment analysis

Effective sentiment analysis relies on accurately categorizing positive and negative mentions. 

To achieve this, it's essential to identify relevant terms that reflect customer sentiment. Some terms may be straightforward, while others might be specific to your industry.
 
Divide your sentiment terms into positive and negative groups. As earlier mentioned, here's an example to illustrate:

Positive 

excellent, love, kudos, fantastic, perfect, appreciate 

Negative 

terrible, hate, disappointing, awful, poor, avoid 
 

Neutral 

acceptable, average, okay, moderate, satisfactory, ordinary 

Step 3: Consider the context of your mentions

Data on most popular hashtags, negative and positive mentions in a specific period via Sprinklr platform

This is where sentiment analysis can get tricky. 

The number of sentiment-related terms in your searches doesn't always tell the whole story of how customers feel. It's important to review mentions carefully and account for potential analytical errors. 

Sarcasm can also throw off sentiment analysis. For example, when someone tweets, "I love it when I lose my luggage after a nine-hour flight," they're obviously not thrilled about the experience. 

While sentiment analysis is usually accurate, outliers like these can occur. For the most comprehensive sentiment analysis, it's best to combine manual listening with machine learning techniques. This brings us to our next point.

5 tips to improve your sentiment analysis using a tool 

When it comes to sentiment analysis, accuracy is key. You want to ensure that your analysis captures the true sentiment behind the comments. So, let's explore some valuable tips to enhance your sentiment analysis using powerful tools and techniques. 

  1. Train the tool with relevant data: Provide the sentiment analysis tool with a training dataset that closely matches the type of social media data you will be analyzing. This will help the tool understand the nuances of language, slang and context specific to your target audience. 

  2. Fine-tune the tool: Many sentiment analysis tools allow you to fine-tune their models based on your specific requirements. Use this feature to customize the tool to better understand sentiments related to your industry, brand or specific topics. 

  3. Account for sarcasm and irony: Sarcasm and irony are common on social media and can be challenging for sentiment analysis tools. Consider using techniques like context analysis, lexical analysis or machine learning models that can identify sarcastic or ironic statements more accurately. 

  4. Consider the context: Sentiment analysis results can vary based on the context in which the content is shared. Take into account factors such as the user's profile, previous posts, followers and the overall discussion or conversation surrounding the content. 

  5. Validate with human judgment: While sentiment analysis tools provide a good starting point, it's important to validate the results with human judgment. Create a small sample of manually labeled data to evaluate the tool's performance and make adjustments as necessary. 

If you need any sort of help to set up your social listening topics so you can improve social media sentiment analysis, don’t think twice to contact us — our experts will be more than happy to give you a helping hand. 

How to use insights from sentiment analysis in your business strategy? 

Sentiment analysis is like having a secret weapon for your business strategy. It's used by organizations worldwide to unlock valuable insights and boost their success.  

Let's explore the different ways you can put sentiment insights to work for you: 

Analyze your product

Sentiment analysis can give you the inside scoop on your customers’ opinions and feelings, focusing on specific features like price, quality and packaging. Say you just launched a hot new item and want to know how it's doing in the market.  

With a powerful Unified Customer Experience Management (Unified-CXM) platform, you can gather real-time info using targeted keywords, helping you understand customer sentiment like never before. 

Keep tabs on social media  

These days, everyone's all about sharing their thoughts on social media. Platforms like X, formerly Twitter, Instagram and Facebook have become the go-to spots for expressing opinions and feelings. That's where sentiment analysis steps in to save the day.  

You can use special tools to monitor millions of social media accounts, catching wind of what people are saying about your products or even industry trends. This lets you analyze heaps of customer feedback, respond to important reviews and nip potential PR crises in the bud.  

Outsmart your competition 

Sentiment analysis isn't just about your own products, it's also a great way to stay ahead of your rivals. By digging deep into market research and understanding your competitors' strategies, you can gain a competitive edge.  

Let's say your rival releases a new product or service. With sentiment analysis, you can find out what consumers love (or hate!) about it, and use that intel to improve your own offerings and outshine the competition.

How the Arnott’s Group strengthens brand trust using Sprinklr

Arnott's, Australia's oldest snack brand, launched a gluten-free line in 2021 and achieved a 95% positive online sentiment within 120 days.  

How: To transform into a direct-to-consumer model and enhance consumer engagement, Arnott's partnered with Sprinklr. Using Sprinklr Social, Arnott's tracked consumer interactions and leveraged consumer insights to launch successful products like the gluten-free range and new flavors of Tim Tam.  

Sprinklr Insights centralized social data, enabling teams to interpret consumer behavior and make better-informed decisions. By aggregating real-time data with Sprinklr and using Sprinklr Marketing, Arnott's brought digital marketing in-house, increasing efficiency and control over content strategies. 

The result:  

🎉 205 hours saved in digital marketing workflows 

🎉 95% positive consumer reviews received on new product range 

🎉 40% rise in outbound content and engagement in three months 

How the Arnott’s Group strengthens brand trust by listening to their consumers

By harnessing the power of sentiment analysis, you can gather game-changing insights, keep customers happy and make your business thrive in today's cutthroat market. 

Final thoughts  
It's crucial to understand how your followers and customers perceive your brand. Neglecting their feelings would be a big mistake. Luckily, social sentiment analysis eliminates the need for guesswork. By actively monitoring and analyzing social media conversations and beyond, you gain valuable insights into people's thoughts about your business, thus improving your decision-making with the help of data.

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