Using Sentiment Analysis to Analyze How Consumers Feel About Social Media

Successful brands recognize the importance of a social media presence. But simply knowing that your brand needs to reach a target audience on social media doesn’t mean you know which social media platform to target. The social media landscape is constantly shifting, with longer-established platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter competing with the rising popularity of more relative newcomers such as Snapchat and Tik-Tok. While there is overlap in users of these platforms, users’ enthusiasm for each platform varies according to factors such as age and interests. Brands that want to reach a certain audience on social media need to understand these factors to target specific audience segments. Using sentiment analysis, an AI-based social listening tool, brands can analyze how consumers feel about different social media platforms and activities to better reach their target audience.

What is Sentiment Analysis?

Sentiment analysis uses AI to assess the emotional content of text and images. Brands use sentiment analysis as a social listening tool to analyze online content ranging from social media posts to blogs and reviews.

Perhaps the most obvious application of sentiment analysis is in tracking consumer attitudes towards your own brand. Understanding how consumers are discussing your brand and products online is helpful in identifying strengths to lean into and weaknesses to address. The idea is to understand not just who is talking about your brand and where, but also how they feel about the brand. The goal is to move beyond the basics and get a sense of the emotional climate surrounding a brand.

Sentiment Analysis Can Analyze Social Media Brands


While there is clear value in utilizing sentiment analysis to study how consumers feel about your brand, many companies overlook the value of turning sentiment analysis to other brands. This may mean performing a competitor analysis, looking at consumer’s sentiment toward a competitor to identify market gaps and areas to emphasize in marketing campaigns. But it also may mean analyzing how your target audience feels about the social media platforms themselves.

Social media platforms are themselves brands and are often the subject of discussion online. Just as sentiment analysis can analyze the emotional tone of the conversation about your brand, it can analyze the emotional tone of online discussion of social media platforms such as TikTok, Twitter, Facebook, and Snapchat.

For example, NetBase Quid AI offers users the ability to track net sentiment ratings on a scale from -100 to 100. The AI can analyze large amount of data and sort it according to demographic characteristics to provide a general sense of how different groups feel about a social media platform based on how users are discussing that platform.

Why is this valuable? Suppose you knew that Gen Z users and millennials had expressed a net sentiment of 50 for Tik Tok, a net sentiment of 5 for Instagram, and a net sentiment of -10 for Snapchat. This information is invaluable if you are trying to target this Gen Z and millennial consumers on social media. It would suggest focusing your attention on Tik Tok and tamping down any efforts to connect via Snapchat.

Because software such as NetBase Quid quantifies emotional content by assigning numerical ratings, you can get a more precise assessment of gaps in sentiment between platforms. In the above example, it may be the case that net sentiment is positive for both Instagram and Tik Tok, but there remains a large gap in how positive sentiment is towards each platform, and this is helpful to know. Similarly, if Twitter and Facebook receive scores of 15 and 13, respectively, the gap may not be wide enough to justify ignoring Facebook in favor of Twitter in the same way that the gap between a score of 50 and -20 justifies an aggressive shift in strategy.

The Value of Social Media Research


Every dollar in a marketing budget is valuable, and it makes sense to design strategic approaches grounded in research rather than take a costly trial and error approach to social media marketing. Using sentiment analysis brands can understand which platforms make the most sense to target and adjust strategy according, avoiding the costs of spending on platforms that are less effective in reaching their target audience.

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