Would you trust your brand to a robot?
As of late, the debate has heightened over the automation of sentiment analysis, a technique used by social media monitoring tools to provide feedback about the undertones of daily conversations. These aren’t just any daily conversations, though. They are conversations about your company and your brand, and have nothing and everything to do with your brand.
What do we mean?
Consumer recommendations are the most credible form of advertising among 78% of a Nielsen study’s respondents. (Nielsen, “Word-of-Mouth the Most Powerful Selling Tool”)
Powerful conversations. Powerful insights. Companies are starting to figure out that past, present, and potential customers are reachable in a new way using social media to break past their perceptual filters that screen any semblance of a commercial. Because the opinions are coming from a fellow consumer that has tried the product/service firsthand, consumers trust that the person has left the comment in good will. Otherwise, why would he/she even have taken the time to sit and fill out a survey for this company?
Knowing whether customers are talking about you in a positive, negative, or neutral way can help you identify brand advocates to be encouraged, brand detractors to be managed, and brand apathetics to be influenced.
Enter: Sentiment Analysis
The latest quintessential add-on of any monitoring tool seems to be some method of sentiment monitoring to dig deeper into online consumer conversations. Are they talking favorably about your brand? Are they complaining about an avoidable problem? Is there a large number of consumers that are on the fence between your product and that of a competitor?
But understanding these emotions come from more than simply building an index of “happy” gets a “+”, “sad” gets a “-“.
Perhaps Andy Beal put it best when he wrote, “The problem is that most sentiment analysis algorithms rely on us using simple terms to express our sentiment about a product or service. If it were as easy as identifying “I love BestBuy” or “I hate the iPhone” then we could all build a database of keywords and sentiment analysis would be 100% accurate. Unfortunately, the English language-or any language for that matter-isn’t that simple.”
Monitoring how people are talking about your brand still goes beyond the scope of our current technology. Though the technology industry is making rapid advances on defining what should be classed as positive, negative, and neutral, would you really trust your brand to a robot?
Wait, but — won’t that be more expensive?
Sentiment analysis is like a compass for understanding online comments.
It can point out where your company needs to go in terms of its marketing, customer service, product features, sales promotions, etc. Having humans knowledge workers analyze your online buzz is going to be more expensive than having an automated machine, but the payoff is in its validity. Automated sentiment analysis will be quicker and cheaper, but not necessarily better.
But won’t that take (a lot) more time?
If your company generates a manageable amount of buzz for your team, you just might want to have all of the online comments made about your company analyzed. However, if you’re a company like Nike, with hundreds of comments made online about their brands daily, you might just want to stick with analyzing the key influencers. Focusing your analysis on influential sites or influential comments can help you focus on top influencers. Who are they? Some of your brand’s most important people.