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Sentiment Tracking and Analysis

Tracking customer sentiment can help brands identify potential risks, improve their products, and hone their marketing messages.

What is sentiment tracking and analysis?

Sentiment tracking and analysis is the process of identifying whether a piece of writing expresses a positive, negative, or neutral attitude towards any given topic. Organizations can derive valuable insights from tracking and analyzing audience sentiment toward their brand, products, and services, especially through one of the most popular avenues for expressing opinions: social media.

Why sentiment tracking is important for brands

Tracking customer sentiment, especially on social media, can be a hugely valuable tool for brands in three major ways:

1. Catching issues before they go viral 

Sharing thoughts and feelings via social media has become second-nature for consumers, and those thoughts and feelings often involve products, services, and brands. Changes in sentiment about your brand allow you to identify and address potential threats. There will always be some consumers that will express negative sentiment about your brand, but that negative sentiment can reach a boiling point. When this happens, the result is highly visible, highly negative commentary about your brand that carries the risk of going viral. 

Every social media manager dreads ending up in this situation. It's a social media management nightmare scenario that has played itself out time and time again over the years. A classic example is the case of "United Breaks Guitars," a viral dispute so famous it has its own Wikipedia page. When Dave Carroll's guitar was broken during a United Airlines flight, and the airline failed to resolve his issue, Carroll created a music video about his poor experience that got more than 15 million views on YouTube and was a massive PR embarrassment for the brand. 

Brands can protect themselves from social and PR crises by staying tuned into how customers are feeling about their brand; for instance, a sharp increase in negative sentiment could indicate trouble ahead and allow brands to course-correct.

Only 24% of brands are doing social listening.

2. Analyzing reactions to a new product or service 

Another way companies can leverage sentiment tracking is to gauge how the market is responding to new offerings -- whether from your company or a competitor. For example, let's say your biggest competitor brings a new product to market, where it is met with a great deal of negative and neutral sentiment from their audience. By alerting you to this sentiment, you are prompted to dive deeper into analyzing the feedback customers are giving to your competitors. Once you have identified what the market does not like about the new product, you are able to adjust your own product development strategy and gain a second-mover advantage.

According to Business2Community, only 24% of brands say they do social listening. Listening and analyzing sentiment on social media is a powerful tactic that many brands are not yet using, presenting a tremendous opportunity for early adopters of these technologies.

3. Assessing the success of marketing messages and campaigns

Much in the same way you'd analyze reactions to new offerings, you can use sentiment tracking and analysis to determine how the audience is responding to marketing campaigns. Over time, you will gain a deeper understanding of what messages resonate with your audience and which campaign tactics are most likely to encourage positive sentiment. You would also be able to assess the relationship between sentiment and other key metrics, understanding the impact of positive sentiment on desired actions.

How to analyze customer sentiment

Analyzing sentiment systematically is not possible without using the right technology tools, such as social media management software. It's important to have software that can categorize sentiment for you, instead of relying on a team to sift through and manually categorize every post that comes in as positive, negative, or neutral. It's also helpful to have a graphical representation of audience sentiment trends on various topics, giving you and your team key information at-a-glance.

When it comes to capitalizing on the benefits of sentiment tracking, time is of the essence. Sentiment is constantly shifting, issues that arise can go viral within minutes, and market insight is best applied quickly. That's where real-time social reporting can be immensely useful. By gaining a real-time understanding of audience sentiment, brands are better equipped to act on emerging trends.

Learn about the power of sentiment tracking in Astute Social. Request a Demo