A Guide to Social Media Sentiment Analysis

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Brands strive to become known and liked. Achieving this can translate to wider reach and more sales from satisfied customers. For this reason, it’s essential for companies to understand how people are talking about their brand in order to identify areas that need to be improved upon. 

Sentiment analysis can help your brand achieve these goals and allow you to rise above competitors and convert more people into customers. Once an obscure research area, sentiment analysis has proven itself useful in social media. Today’s marketers and sellers refer to it as brand sentiment, online sentiment, or social media sentiment analysis.

Table of Contents

What is Social Media Sentiment Analysis?

Social media sentiment analysis is the practice of knowing how social media users perceive a brand. It falls under a larger process called social listening, or tracking conversations about one’s brand and industry for actionable insights. Social media sentiment analysis takes into account the users’ mood or emotions when they write the comments instead of just tracking social media metrics like engagement or likes.

Today’s brands can perform sentiment analysis through software capable of monitoring social media pages and gathering information from them. Sentiment analysis software can scroll through conversations and identify each mention of your brand as either positive, negative, or neutral. The software can help companies determine the tone, emotion, and urgency in online conversations, helping them pick which customer concerns to prioritize.

The Value of Sentiment Analysis

Analyzing your social media involves metrics like engagement rates and other numbers, which becomes easier to understand with sentiment. You can think of sentiment as the metric that provides context to other metricsas well as all the mentions, comments, and shares that you receive online. Sentiment helps explain why you have this number of followers or why your engagement sits at this rate.

Social sentiment can be classified into the following:

  • Positive: People are happy, delighted, or excited.
  • Negative: People are angry, irritated, or frustrated.
  • Neutral: People seem content but do not express either a strong positive or negative tone.

When the brand mentions have been separated into these three categories, then your social sentiment score can be calculated. 

The social sentiment score can be calculated in two ways:

  • Positive mentions shown as a percentage of total mentions.
  • Positive mentions shown as a percentage of mentions reflecting sentiment (removing neutral mentions).

Your social sentiment score can show if your brand is in good standing with your audience or if you should adjust your brand strategy. The goal is to get more positive mentions than negative or neutral, indicating that most people are talking favorably about your brand.

Sentiment analysis can help you gather feedback in order to improve products, track people’s feelings toward your competitors, discover potential trends in online conversations, prevent brand crises from escalating, and more.  

Recommended Reading: Create an Influencer Marketing Strategy for Your eCommerce Brand

How Is Sentiment Analysis Done?

A sentiment analyzer of social media usually begins with data collection. Brands can use web scraping tools or bots to collect data from their social media platforms, such as Twitter, Reddit, Facebook, and more. Social media and web platforms also have their own means of data collection that you can use. This is called sentiment analysis API (Application Program Interface).

After collecting the data, the sentiment analysis tool polishes the unstructured information by removing unnecessary characters, emojis, incorrect grammar, and other elements that impede the analysis. Once the information is cleaned up, the software can perform sentiment analysis and provide a report.

What’s In a Social Media Sentiment Report?

The look of a social sentiment report depends on the sentiment analysis tool being used. Ideally it should contain actionable insights and helpful visualization. 

The following elements are usually seen in a social media sentiment report:

  • Total engagements with your brand over a specific period.
  • Total mentions of your brand.
  • Number or percentage of positive mentions.
  • Number or percentage of negative mentions.
  • A calculation of your social sentiment score as a percentage.
  • A graph of your social media sentiment score over time.

Your brand’s total mentions indicate how many users talked about your brand during a specific time period. The percentage of positive to negative mentions can tell you if you still need to improve your brand reputation or are already in good standing with online users. The graph of your social sentiment score over time serves as an illustration of your brand’s performance, which is particularly useful if you are monitoring brand sentiment before and after you launch a specific marketing campaign.

How to Improve Your Social Sentiment

After conducting sentiment analysis, what steps should you take next? Many brands have found success by using insights from sentiment analysis to manage and protect their online reputations.

The following tips can help improve your social sentiment, which is also known as brand sentiment.

Do audience research

Learn what your audience is interested in. By monitoring trends and scrutinizing spikes in positive or negative sentiment, you will discover what your audience really wants. When you craft more precise messages, the better the response rate. Sentiment analysis is a powerful tool for understanding your customers. It allows you to come up with better strategies in order to respond to the ever-changing opinions and needs of your customers.

Create engaging content

Knowing what your audience is looking for can guide you in choosing what content to provide them online. You can write relevant posts to attract your target customers. You can also create videos and images that demonstrate the usefulness of your product. By analyzing audience sentiment, you can identify how people feel about certain topics and adjust your content and messaging accordingly. As a result, you can stimulate positive fan growth, improve engagement rates, and further down the line, boost conversions.

Engage with online users

Couple your online content with online engagement. When your content gains traction, you can join the conversation and react to your social media followers’ comments. They might post something that warrants a witty retort from you, leading to a humorous exchange. Engagement with your followers can lead to stronger relationships as it shows that your company is paying close attention to what people are saying online.

Collaborate with influencers

Aside from talking to your followers, you can also reach out to influencers. Tapping them can improve your brand reputation since they can influence their followers to patronize your products and services. When collaborating with influencers, make sure that their image is aligned with your brand.

Improve customer service

A low brand sentiment score could be the result of poor customer service. One person might have contacted the store asking for an exchange or refund, only to face a confusing process or an unskilled customer service agent. These scenarios should prompt companies to invest in customer service experts and automation software that make it easier for both parties to communicate and resolve the problem.

Avert a PR crisis before it explodes

Sentiment analysis allows companies to monitor online mentions in real-time, making it easy to see if a PR crisis is unfolding. Word spreads lightning fast on social media, and negative comments can go viral on the Internet in a matter of hours. Upon seeing an unusual spike in negative sentiment, a company should immediately investigate and come up with a crisis management strategy that is both timely and proactive.

7 Social Media Sentiment Analysis Tools

Brands have plenty of choices when it comes to social media software that can do sentiment analysis. Here are some tools for you to consider: 

Brandwatch Consumer Research

Brandwatch is a digital consumer intelligence platform used by Unilever, Delta, and Nestle. Consumer Research is its social listening product, equipped with AI assistance, real-time monitoring, and more. Brandwatch also created proprietary technology that lets Consumer Research automatically classify sentiment to streamline the process.

Clarabridge Analytics

Clarabridge is a software company that offers customer experience solutions. One of its platforms, Clarabridge Analytics, uses AI-powered natural language processing to detect the intent behind words more accurately. It also comes with emotion analysis to give insights on how specific policies or moves made by a brand might evoke particular emotions from customers.


Talkwalker markets itself as a conversational intelligence platform. It comes with AI sentiment technology that enables the platform to detect sarcastic or negative mentions and flag them in real-time. Talkwalker also features Conversation Clouds, a tool that creates visualizations of any given topic and its context. Its Customer Data+ tool provides real-time consumer insights that can fast-track brand decisions. 

Talkwalker offers a free demo to interested users, after which they can choose among three paid plans. 


MeaningCloud is a software that provides social media analytics, market intelligence, and more to its clients. Its users can detect social media threats to reputation and similar emergencies in real-time. MeaningCloud can also analyze customers’ opinions regarding brands in order to give the latter insights on strategies to adopt. The software’s sentiment analysis interface comes with linguistic features like detecting irony, distinguishing objective from subjective statements, and more.

The software offers a free plan and four paid ones. MeaningCloud also offers flexible plans to clients who prefer not to change plans in the middle of the month.


MonkeyLearn is an AI-powered tool that lets users monitor sentiment and analyze conversations on social media. This software can also classify sentiment according to its topic, graph sentiment over time, and display keyword clouds. If needed, MonkeyLearn can integrate with Zendesk and Google Sheets and provide its API to users.

Interested users can request a free demo and sign up for MonkeyLearn’s two paid plans.

Critical Mention

Critical Mention is a media monitoring and media contact database covering social media, TV, radio, newsprint, and podcasts. Its social media monitoring platform offers real-time social listening and analytics. Brands can use it to track branded terms, monitor feedback, detect potential PR crises, and learn from sentiment reports. Critical Mention can also report on social media metrics like audience values, mentions over time, and mentions according to its social media platform.

Interested users can request a quote on the packages offered by Critical Mention.


Repustate is a text analytics provider for clients who need multilingual sentiment analysis. Its AI-powered system helps streamline your workflow and maintain efficiency for the whole team. Repustate can also provide visualized sentiment reports so company executives can interpret the data more easily. Such a report includes sentiment overview by region, sentiment by source, sentiment by social media channel, and more.

Repustate lets interested users book a demo, after which they can choose between the platform’s two paid plans.

Recommended Reading: Use Conversational Marketing to Boost Sales & Engage Customers


Reputation is just as important as sales for a brand, if not more so. We’ve learned how sentiment analysis helps brands cultivate a positive reputation. Invest in it, whether you’re a new eCommerce store owner using free sentiment analysis tools or a seasoned one keen on social listening. 

When measuring the success of your marketing campaign, you need quantitative data such as the number of likes, comments, and shares, as well as the social media reach. However, you will also need qualitative data that is provided by sentiment analysis.

Relying on both quantitative and qualitative data can inform your future business decisions and give your brand more room to grow.

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