Social media sites make up at least half of the top 20 Web sites in most regions of the world. This has left companies, that primarily judge the health of their brands in the online world by Web statistics and click-through rates, in real need of rethinking their social media strategies.
Sentiment Analysis, though still in its infancy, provides a sophisticated science that will not only help companies react to reduce damage from negative comments but also monitor customer sentiment as part of their ongoing brand management.
We’ve seen the blunders big companies have made by not monitoring and, more importantly, not reacting intelligently and expeditiously to social upheaval in the digital space – how can we forget United Airlines’ fate following musician Dave Carroll’s infamous YouTube video of United Airlines Breaks Guitars and its sequels? In today’s current market, businesses and their reputations cannot afford to take that kind of hit.
Through blogs, message boards, fan pages and the like, the Internet is fast rebalancing the relationship between customers and companies, while social media networks, such as YouTube and Twitter, are giving consumers instant and, occasionally, very powerful ways to ’strike back’ and make their voices heard.
Companies from all industries have quickly realised the necessity to go where the conversation is going in order to remain relevant and pertinent to customers. Big companies, such as Ford, Procter & Gamble and Coca-Cola to name but a few, have recognised the need to use the Internet and, more importantly, the rich vein of market intelligence that social media sites provide, to ‘listen’, monitor and, if need be, counteract any bad publicity these virtual – and viral – conversations might be generating in order to avoid a fate similar to that of United Airlines.
From the Financial Times’ Newsswift program, to the funkier named Tweetfeel, Twendz and Twitrratr, a plethora of social media analysis tools have hit the market. These include solutions, such as text mining, natural language processing and other sentiment analysis technologies that have been developed to help organisations gain intelligence from social media sites and build a more complete view of their brands’ reputation from a consumer’s perspective.
There are a number of alternative Social Media Analysis tools in the marketplace, but knowing which one is the right one for you is key. Noting these distinctions is critical as they will ultimately impact the relevance, reliability and validity a business might be looking for.