Social Media - Benefits and Challenges of Using Sentiment Analysis on Social Media

Social media has been adapted into our everyday lives. Businesses and their brands can easily access consumer’s thoughts and understand their behavioral patterns.

It is almost second nature for consumers to directly connect to a business’ social media platforms to communicate their inquiries, reviews, or just overall feeling about its brands or products.

This human connection over a digital thread is where businesses are able to use public relations, marketing, research & development, and/or human resource departments to connect and tap into the consumer’s thoughts in real-time.

Tapping into the consumers’ minds is one thing, but properly interpreting the sentiments given by the consumers and taking the appropriate steps is the challenge to create brand awareness and loyalty.

This is known as ‘sentiment analysis,’ or ‘opinion mining.’ We have already covered “what is sentiment analysis” here. In brief, it is about identifying and classifying text to understand how users feel about your brand.

We have also discussed the key benefits in using sentiment analysis for your business. Do check it out to find out more about the benefits of sentiment analysis, and its types on businesses.

Nowadays, it’s just not enough for a company to go out and identify what is said about its brands and products on social media platforms anymore.

More importantly, the process of analyzing it is what will make or break a business’s ability to turn that data into real-world success.

From here on out we will discuss why sentiment analysis should be done on social media, and the benefits, advantages, and challenges faced when using sentiment analysis in the digital world.

Social Media as a Medium for Businesses to Connect

Social media is a prime space for users to connect especially with the growth of usage for digital devices that can connect to the internet at any given time.

Along with this digital connection, users have the capability to express their opinions, attitudes, and reactions to any and every aspect of human interaction.

Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr and an ever-growing list of avenues make it easier for users to express their sentiments and opinions online.

According to Brizfeel, there are about 3.03 billion people on social media around the globe.

Easily 97% of marketers use social media to reach and connect with their audiences in 2018, and sentiment analysis is at the forefront of this. Let’s look at the benefits of sentiment analysis.

Benefits of Using Sentiment Analysis on Social Media Platforms

Reaching Marketing ROI

With such a large population of users connecting digitally, businesses can easily find out first and foremost whether their marketing ROI has been achieved.

In terms of brand awareness, this can easily be measured by tracking followers, likes, shares, and comments. Tracking these key indicators, businesses can see a progression or regression on their online brand presence.

Having an online presence is important when trying to build brand awareness or pushing a product because it correlates to the reach they can achieve.

Going further by implementing sentiment analysis, you can find out the level of positivity or negativity from tracking mentions and comments on your platforms.

BuzzFeed Tasty's Homepage - Benefits and Challenges of Using Sentiment Analysis on Social Media

Buzzfeed Tasty’s use of short and sweet recipe videos tailor-made for Facebook’s algorithm is a good example.

Through sentiment analysis, they found out that users on Facebook prefer short 1 min videos that are as easily consumable without sound when the video manipulating Facebook’s autoplay features.

These videos have an impressive potential reach of 500 million users with a catalog of over 2000 videos and also garnered around 100 million likes on Facebook.

Using Facebook’s algorithm on pushing video content, Buzzfeed Tasty found that short and sweet videos that last a minute or two is a winning formula to driving traffic across its social media platforms.

Understand Your Customers

When you have an active social media platform going, you’re able to delve into the psyche of your consumers and really get into the sentiments that they are projecting.

This comes from a myriad of sources from the activities on your social media platforms. A solid indicator of your online presence can be measured through mentions and comments regarding marketing a specific campaign, product feedback or general acknowledgment of your digital brand.

Through sentiment analysis, you can actually subject consumers’ attitudes about your products in an unfiltered manner. Brizfeel reports that in 2018 around 59% of social media users in America feel that it’s easier to get questions or general answered through social media.

The feedback from consumers is a gold mine to be interpreted; businesses no longer need to focus heavily on study groups to gauge real-time activity about their brands.

Instead, an active social media team can trump that and give relevant data and analysis leading to a better product or more tailored marketing campaign.

Take Everygirl and their use of Instagram for example.

Everygirl is a publication with no physical product to push. Through their hashtags, they can collect data and push content for their followers categorizing them into a niche section of the internet where they don’t have fight for every eyeball that comes across their platforms.

Feedback goes two ways, where they can connect to users and at the same collate data and drive their presence through tailoring their content.

Everygirl has managed to garner around about 950,000 followers on Instagram and has a thriving community where they can get real-time feedback and take actions that will engage with their consumers.

Understanding your consumers is important, and easier done now that ever. You don’t need giant campaigns that encompass all forms of media anymore.

You can have laser-precise campaigns that can target your niche core consumers, which in turn can lead to a thriving community making your online presence stronger.

With a stronger online presence, you can connect with more and more users while focusing on making your products relatable to your brand itself.

Improve Customer Service

Customer service plays an active role in both public relations and also product satisfaction. It’s the fast response time for consumers in distress, that will help alleviate their annoyances.

Customer service can ensure a loyal core consumer base by making them feel like they are attended by a business that listens and cares. A great social media team can pick up on sentiments in real-time and act upon it.

For example, if your website is down then your social media team can quickly figure out what is wrong and get the related departments to work on it.

Or if a product is faulty or has a complicated process in operations then your social media team can quickly pick up on the digital chatter and remedy the situation.

All of this can be picked up in real-time, and therefore safeguard consumer trust in your brand. In the digital age, a company in California can digitally attend to a disgruntled consumer in Australia almost instantly remedying or diffusing a situation that would be otherwise impossible a decade ago.

With the instant connection, consumers can feel their loyalty reciprocated with the proper responses and actions.

Crisis Management

Although all of the benefits above are given, I think the best measure of a successful brand would be crisis management. We all know consumers are varied, influenced heavily with current social issues, trends, and current economy.

For example, social behavior in the past few years can easily change with the emergence of new social issues brought into the forefront of the consumer’s minds.

Examples of these are actions taken by corporations with the #metoo movement, shining a light on the dynamics of toxicity among gender relations.

Racial discrimination and equality have also become a popular talking point in the past few years, especially when history through the consumer expression of attitudes and opinions being cataloged on social media.

A great example of a company overcoming this is Airbnb and it’s #WeAccept campaign.

AirBnB #WeAccept Campaign - Benefits and Challenges of Using Sentiment Analysis on Social Media

In 2016 Airbnb face massive backlash with racial discrimination abuse through its property rental platform. The backlash was strong enough that Airbnb had to publicly acknowledge it and work to clean up its platform.

Getting the word out about its public stance on racial discrimination Airbnb created the #WeAccept campaign which resonated well with its critics and gaining back major ground on its consumer’s brand trust.

With this campaign, not only did Airbnb diffuse a crisis but also ensures its consumers are aware of its stance on a prickly subject.

Along came 2017 when the American government started its Muslim ban and Airbnb turned the campaign into a refugee outreach program that gained plaudits among its users.

This, in turn, ensured that Airbnb has a positive brand perception about racism. A quick look into #WeAccept on social media and you will find consumers supporting this campaign.

This campaign was especially effective through its social media reach and it’s a shining example of how Airbnb overcoming a crisis through its sentiment analysis.

Challenges to Achieving Accurate Sentiment Analysis on Social Media

Although Sentiment Analysis can be viewed as a powerful tool in any business’s toolbox for consumer reach. It can also have massive challenges that need to be overcome through experiences and responses.

Here are two major examples of the challenges of sentiment analysis.

Understanding What Exactly is Being Said

So much of social media is actually based on the content of what is being said. For example, using sentiment analysis you need to gauge what your consumers are actually saying about your product.

With social media being a 24-hour platform you only have so much time in a day to collect data and analyze.

So you can basically break it down into categories of “opinion holds”, and “strength of opinions” whether negative or positive. That is where you will gain insight into the perceptions of your brands and products.

These are important key points that need to be addressed for successful sentiment analysis into your brand and products.

Supplementing Sentiment Analysis through Brand and Product Research

Sentiment analysis can usually tell a business about attitudes and opinions of its consumer base but it doesn’t usually tell a full story of why an event is happening, or among which demographics in its consumer base.

You can fully understand how your consumers reach their given perceptions by supplementing sentiment analysis through surveys and focus groups.

Social media platforms allow the consumer to express these sentiments on the spot. Essentially give businesses a freeze-frame of that given time.

A key challenge in sentiment analysis is getting the full history of how those consumers have come to their current sentiment. By supplementing sentiment analysis with other methods, you can overcome those challenges.

Conclusion

With social media being more and more crucial in human interaction, it’s safe to say that sentiment analysis will be at the forefront of any business digital brand presence.

With 3.03 billion users and growing on social media platforms, the future of successful companies will be based on whether they can collect and perform accurate sentiment analysis in the digital world.

Now is not the time for sentiment analysis to be cast aside and be branded a pseudo-science, it’s proven that sentiment analysis on social media is an essential tool to be used in a brands’ winning formula.

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