Notified Blog

Sentiment Analysis: What Is It? And How Do You Measure It?

As a public relations pro, your job is to manage and enhance the reputation of your company or client – all while keeping tabs on what’s being said by journalists and consumers across social media, forums and review sites.

Some days, you might come across glowing reviews, positive comments and happy mentions. Other times, you might discover criticism, complaints and negative remarks.

How do you make sense of all this information, while understanding the true feelings toward your brand or client?

That's where sentiment analysis comes in. Keep reading to learn more.


What Is Sentiment Analysis?

Sentiment analysis (often called opinion mining) is the process of evaluating and understanding the emotions, opinions and attitudes expressed in text data - such as social media posts, customer reviews, news articles or any form of written content.

Its primary goal is to determine whether the sentiment conveyed in the text is positive, negative or neutral.

Think of it as a way to evaluate the collective mood of the internet. Are people happy about a new iPhone release? Frustrated with their internet service provider? Excited about the latest movie release? Sentiment analysis can tell you all of this and more.

Sentiment analysis shouldn’t be overlooked. Here are a few use cases:

  • Marketing and PR: Companies and agencies can use sentiment analysis to understand how customers feel about their products or campaigns. For instance, if a new campaign gets overwhelming positive feedback, they know they're on the right track.

  • Customer Feedback: Companies can monitor social media to spot and address customer complaints quickly. If there's a sudden surge in negative comments about a product, they can act promptly.

  • Social Media Monitoring: Organizations can keep an eye on social media platforms to evaluate public sentiment about their brand or product. They can quickly respond to negative comments and take advantage of positive ones.

  • Political Analysis: Sentiment analysis can be used during elections to figure out public sentiment toward candidates and policies.

  • Entertainment: The film and music industries can use sentiment analysis to check audience reactions to new releases. Positive buzz can lead to higher box office numbers or streaming numbers.

  • Healthcare: In healthcare, it can be used to analyze patient feedback, helping healthcare providers improve patient satisfaction.

The Importance of Sentiment Analysis for Your Brand or Client

Sentiment analysis isn’t just a buzzword - it's something that can seriously help your brand or client succeed.

Whether it's improving how customers view you, or understanding what makes your storytelling better, sentiment analysis is like a secret weapon in the world of digital communications and reputation management.

Let's explore why it matters and how it can make your brand or client shine, especially in the age of social media.

Understand Your Customers

Sentiment analysis helps you get inside the minds of customers. By knowing what they love and what they don't, you can tailor your products, services and marketing campaigns to their preferences.
For instance, if people are crazy about your coffee but complaining about the slow service, you know where to focus your efforts.

Improve Crisis Management

In the world of social media, news travels at lightning speed. If a problem arises, whether it's a product defect or a PR crisis, sentiment analysis allows you to spot it early.

This means you can address issues quickly, showing customers that you're responsive and care about their concerns.

Measure PR Campaign Effectiveness

Are your PR strategies working well?

Sentiment analysis can answer this question. If a new campaign generates a wave of positive comments and shares, you know it's a hit. If not, maybe it's time to rethink your strategy.

Gain a Competitive Advantage

Knowing what customers think about your competitors can give you an edge.

If you discover that your competitor's customers are unhappy with a certain feature, you can use that information to provide a better alternative.

Enhance Brand Reputation

A positive online sentiment can be a powerful asset. When potential customers see good reviews and happy comments about your brand or client, it builds trust and credibility.

Positive sentiment can also attract new customers, driving business growth.

Improve Customer Engagement

Engaging with your customers online is essential - and sentiment analysis helps you do this effectively.

By responding to comments, both positive and negative, you show that you're attentive and committed to improving customer experiences.


How Does Sentiment Analysis Work?

Understanding the concept of sentiment analysis is just the start. To truly succeed, you need to know how to do it and how it works.

And we're not just stopping at the basics; we'll about to walk you through the process of doing sentiment analysis. You'll learn how it operates and some common tips to follow.

Now, let's get you on the right path!

How To Measure Sentiment

Sentiment analysis can be conducted with the assistance of PR software tools.

Specifically, PR software (such as the Notified PR Platform) automatically monitors and analyzes a wide range of online content - including news articles, social media posts and more - to identify and quantify the sentiment associated with your brand (or specific topics).

Here are some fundamental steps when it comes to performing sentiment analysis:

  • Collect Data: Gather the text data you want to analyze via your PR software. This can be news articles, tweets, Facebook comments or product reviews.

  • Analyze: Use your chosen tool to get sentiment scores (positive, negative, or neutral) for each text.

  • Sentiment Classification: This is the core of sentiment analysis. During this phase, machine learning models or natural language processing algorithms assign a sentiment label to each piece of text. The three primary sentiment labels are:

    • Positive: If the text expresses a favorable or positive sentiment, such as happiness, satisfaction or excitement.

    • Negative: If the text conveys a negative sentiment, like anger, frustration, disappointment or dissatisfaction.

    • Neutral: Refers to the text that doesn't show any strong feelings or emotions.

  • Visualization and Reporting: The results of sentiment analysis are often presented visually, in charts or graphs.

  • Understand the Results: Take a good look at the results. Are most comments positive? Negative? Neutral? Look for patterns or trends in the sentiment.

  • Take Action: Create or modify your PR and marketing strategies based on the results.

By understanding how people feel about your brand, campaign or client, you can make informed decisions that strengthen your brand and business.

How Does Social Media Sentiment Analysis Work?

No matter where you are or what you're up to, one thing is certain - people love to share their thoughts and opinions on social media.

And guess what? It only takes a few minutes for those thoughts to spread all over the world. So, it's a smart move to stay tuned in to social media and find out what folks are saying about your brand.

By doing this, you not only keep tabs on your brand's reputation but also get a sense of how it's perceived globally.

Let's elaborate on how to perform social media sentiment analysis in three steps (with examples):

  1. Monitor Your Mentions

The first step in social media sentiment analysis is to monitor brand mentions across various social channels. This involves PR software, which allows you to even track these mentions even when you're not directly tagged.

  1. Analyze Sentiment in Mentions

Once you've collected mentions of your brand, it's time to analyze the sentiment expressed in those mentions. Look for positive and negative words or phrases to scale sentiment.

  1. Calculate Your Sentiment Score

After identifying positive and negative sentiments within mentions, you can calculate your sentiment score.

And with our PR software, we simplify this process for you and provide data-rich visualizations and metrics to understand the sentiment regarding your brand or client.

Sentiment Analysis: Key Tips for Getting It Right

Let’s end with some important points to keep in mind:

  • Don't rely solely on sentiment analysis: Don't make conclusions based on sentiment analysis alone. While it provides insights, it may not tell the entire story.

  • Consider the context: Understand the situation in which the text was written. Sarcasm, irony and cultural references can significantly affect sentiment.

  • Neutral is fine: Not all text expresses strong positive or negative sentiment. Avoid misinterpreting neutral statements as either positive or negative.

  • Listen to feedback: If you receive feedback or corrections from users or customers regarding your sentiment analysis, don't dismiss it. Use their insights to improve your analysis.

  • Be fair: Avoid letting your own opinions affect the analysis.

  • Understand emojis: Emojis can be tricky, so interpret them correctly.

Finally, always include human review. Make sure to incorporate a step for human review or validation when analyzing sentiment, especially when the analysis has important implications for your business. Humans can offer valuable context and judgment that automated tools might miss.

Be sure to follow the above tips to ensure that your analysis provides valuable and accurate insights for your brand or client!

How Do You Choose the Right PR Tool for Sentiment Analysis?

As we discussed, to streamline the tracking of brand mentions and public perception, you should be using PR software – such as the Notified PR Platform.

The Notified PR Platform’s Measure module helps you easily track and analyze sentiment, media exposure, competitor activity and more. Get data-rich visualizations that help you evaluate awareness and reputation across share of voice and message pull-through (to name a few).

It’s your single source of truth across social and earned media!

Learn more about the Notified PR Platform in our interactive tour.

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