Leveraging Sentiment for Competitive Marketing for Online Brand Comparison

People will compare your brand with that of your competitors long before they contact you.

Sentiment analysis allows you to track the opinions that people are expressing about your brand online, whether they are positive, negative, or neutral.

Sentiment monitoring and analysis tools and techniques will give you a solid understanding of the status of your reputation online and help you target your own content plan to either improve negative sentiment or reinforce positive sentiment.

There are a number of ways to track and analyze sentiment online. Read on for tips on how to best conduct sentiment analysis, sentiment monitoring tools for success, and more.

What is sentiment analysis?

Sentiment analysis is a powerful tool to better understand how stakeholders feel about your brand online. Sentiment analysis allows you to tap into the emotions behind what people are posting on social media and in searches.

These opinions are categorized into three perceived sentiments:

  • Positive sentiment
  • Neutral sentiment
  • Negative sentiment

Positive sentiment

People like your product/brand.

They’re using words such as “love,” “best,” “highly recommend,” etc., to describe your brand.

They’re likely to share and promote you to their friends and followers.

Positive sentiment can be a game-changer when it comes to competitive marketing. Here’s how to harness the power of favorable customer perceptions to improve an already positive online sentiment:
  • Build your fan base: When people express excitement for your brand, it’s a clear indicator that you’re establishing your fan base. You can continue to make a deeper connection to show your appreciation for loyal customers.
  • Leverage positive reviews in your marketing materials: Quote positive reviews on your website and share positive brand mentions on social media. 

  • Create emotional connections: Positive sentiment helps forge emotional connections between customers and your brand. When customers feel emotionally attached, they become invested stakeholders who will be more likely to stay loyal to your brand during any possible downturns. 
  • Reward loyalty: Recognize and reward loyal customers who consistently express positive sentiment, strengthening their bond with your brand.

Negative sentiment

People are dissatisfied with your brand.

They’re describing it using words like “worst,” “never again,” or “hate.” 

Negative sentiment, although challenging, offers a valuable window into customer pain points. Rather than ignoring recurring issues, it’s important to face them and improve your brand. This will significantly help improve your online reputation

Harnessing negative sentiment is a necessary part of any reputation management strategy. Hopefully, you don’t have too much negative sentiment. But if you do, don’t stress too much. There are steps you can take to improve this. Just take a deep breath, and read on. 

Here’s how to navigate and utilize unfavorable feedback to your brand’s advantage:

  • Engage and empathize: Respond to negative reviews with empathy and a sincere desire to rectify the situation. People do read business responses to reviews, so take the time to offer an explanation and share how you will avoid the problem in the future. This public display of commitment to customer satisfaction can win back trust.
  • Apologize: When your brand is at fault, don’t hesitate to apologize genuinely. Acknowledge mistakes and outline the steps you’re taking to rectify them.
  • Offer solutions: Propose practical solutions to address customer concerns. Going the extra mile to resolve issues can transform a negative experience into a positive one.
  • Make internal changes: Integrate feedback from reviews and social media to make positive changes to your brand. Use negative feedback to refine your offerings, whether it’s improving product features, enhancing customer support, or streamlining processes.

Remember: Negative sentiment, when managed effectively, can serve as a springboard for growth and improvement. Embrace it as a learning opportunity, and showcase your brand’s commitment to bettering itself based on customer feedback.

Neutral sentiment

Neither good nor bad, neutral posts aren’t helping your reputation, but they aren’t hurting it either.

People are using words like “okay” or “adequate” to describe you.

It may be worth it to dedicate some time to try to shift people who are sharing neutral posts about your brand over to the positive side. Many of the tactics outlined above will also work for neutral sentiment. 

Sentiment is a basic KPI for reputation management campaigns

These sentiments provide additional depth into your social media analysis efforts to help you better target your own posts and comments to improve or protect your reputation.

Even if you don’t use any sentiment analysis tools, you are likely conducting your own sort of sentiment analysis every time you read a post, comment, or review.

Each time you read a mention on social media, you determine whether it is a positive or negative statement depending on the word choices used. Then, as a result, you respond accordingly.

But what happens once your following is too large for you to read every comment personally? That’s when it’s time to automate processes with a sentiment analysis tool.

Sentiment analysis allows you to…

  • Understand how people feel about yourself or your brand
  • Provide greater context for your social media efforts
  • Quickly respond to negative posts to improve your reputation

Social media sentiment analysis vs. social media listening

social media sentiment analysis vs. social media listening

Social listening is a way to monitor and analyze what is being said about your brand on social media. Sentiment analysis is part of a larger social media listening strategy.

The following metrics can be tracked as part of social media listening:

  • Conversation analysis: Track conversations and trends using keywords and/or tags that are relevant to your brand, industry, or region. You’ll know who’s mentioning you, where they’re doing it, and the common keywords used.
  • If this, then that: IFTT allows us to write “recipes” on the web. For example, we can set it up so that if your name comes up on a certain website’s RSS feed, then we get a notification. 
  • Rank tracking: Compare your search terms against your competitors to pinpoint why certain sites rank better than others for a given search term. Rank tracking gives insight into areas for improvement and where to focus efforts for the greatest chances of success.
  • Location services: These tools show which countries might be the best to target social media promotion efforts, what languages to develop for, and where content will likely be consumed.

How to do social media sentiment analysis

Now that we’ve covered what sentiment analysis is, exactly, here are a few tips for running your own social media sentiment analysis.

Identify your keywords and tags

Research what your audience is searching, posting, and following on social media. Consider industry trends as well to develop a list of keywords and tags to monitor. This list should change over time to remain relevant. Most sentiment analysis tools provide help finding keywords and similar queries, or you can use free tools like Answer the Public.


Choose the best sentiment analysis tool for your business

There are many tools available to conduct sentiment analysis. Research your options and choose the one that will make the most impact on your budget. Some good options are HootSuite, Sprout Social (shown below), and HubSpot.

Social Media Sentiment Analysis-3

Measure engagement

See which types of posts get the most comments, likes, and shares to produce similar content. If you know your audience responds well to a certain type of post or to particular topics, you can invest more time and effort into those types of things to create content your audience will enjoy.

Analyze your competitors

You always want your brand to reflect better sentiment than your competitors. When making buying decisions, people will compare you, and you want the prospective customer or other stakeholder to inquire with your brand rather than theirs. 

Keep track of what your competition is posting. This will not only help you tailor your own posts to meet industry standards, but you’ll also be the first to know if they are saying anything negative about your brand or if there are any major crises happening in your industry that may affect your brand as well.

Adapt your messaging

One of the major goals of sentiment analysis is to better understand your customers in order to increase engagement and provide more transparency into your brand. If you aren’t adapting your messaging according to what you discover in your sentiment analysis, then all may be in vain.

Make sure you are producing content that your audience will enjoy. It will help you connect better with them, and, as a result, improve customer service and brand identity.

How to deal with negative social media sentiment

Unfortunately, sometimes your findings will be negative. Maybe you have a couple of dissatisfied customers who are just looking for an apology. Or maybe you’re facing a full-blown crisis situation that requires a complex recovery strategy. Whatever the cause, negative sentiment must be dealt with immediately in one way or another.

Here are a few tips for dealing with negative sentiment.

  • Have a plan: The best time to brainstorm a plan of attack for dealing with a crisis is before one starts. This will allow you more time to conduct thoughtful responses and save you from the stress of making up a strategy as you go along. One of the best things to plan for, in advance, is who should handle various crisis situations in your company. You can see a list of crisis and response types here
  • React quickly: One of the main reasons for social media sentiment analysis is to be able to stay on top of trends and identify potential crises before they get out of hand. If you notice a string of negative comments, react quickly. Respond to the people making negative posts and apologize.
  • Never argue: When you’re responding to negative feedback or addressing concerns in your own posts, remember to keep a level head and maintain a sense of professionalism. Arguing with people on social media will only fuel the fire, making the problem bigger and your brand look worse.
  • Stop regularly scheduled posts: Depending on the nature and severity of your negative sentiment, you may want to pause your regularly scheduled programming. Continuing to share evergreen content can make you appear you are ignoring the issue and can make matters worse.

Benefits of social media sentiment analysis

Analyzing social media sentiment gives you the ultimate insight into how people really feel about your brand. Instead of assuming what they think, you will know how people view you. This allows you to connect with your customers on a deeper level, provide content that will resonate with them, and convert people who may have been on the fence into loyal customers.

Sentiment analysis can make your business more relatable, likeable, and profitable.

  • Stay on top of feedback: There’s no guessing whether people like your brand or not when you have visual charts of their overall sentiment. Keep track of positive, neutral, and negative comments and respond appropriately.
  • Improve content creation efforts: Sort posts by sentiment to see what types of content are being shared the most. This helps you target your content strategy and messaging to create things that are sure to be shared.
  • Fast-track growth: Analyze the sentiment of your social media campaigns to improve each time based on audience favorites to convert people into brand champions.
  • Stay ahead of the competition: See the bigger picture by monitoring industry keywords to see patterns and keep up with changing needs and demands.
  • Build more impactful brand partnerships: Pinpoint which influencers are most excited about your brand and approach them about partnership opportunities.

By listening to what others are saying about your brand on social media, you can get to know your customers better and stay ahead of industry trends. You’ll know what they’re saying about you and how they feel about your company. Being active on social media means a lot more than just posting, liking and sharing. Take your social media efforts a step further by conducting sentiment analysis. Want more info about getting started? Contact us today.

Sentiment Analysis FAQs

What is sentiment analysis?

Sentiment analysis is a process used to determine how people feel about your brand online. Mentions on social media, online reviews, and blog articles can all be analyzed for sentiment to determine if the public opinion toward your brand is overwhelmingly positive, negative, or neutral.

What are the benefits of sentiment analysis?

Sentiment analysis allows you to understand how people feel about yourself or your brand, provide greater context for your social media efforts, and quickly respond to negative posts to improve your reputation.

What is social listening?

Social listening is a way to monitor and analyze what is said about your brand on social media.

How can I improve my social media sentiment?

If you are dealing with negative social media sentiment, it is important to immediately deal with any negative posts or comments. Don’t argue with people online. Instead, apologize and/or address their concerns, and work to fix the root cause of the problem.

What are the benefits of social media sentiment analysis?

Social media sentiment analysis gives you vital insight into how people really feel about your brand. It enables you to stay on top of feedback, improve content creation efforts, fast-track growth, outsmart your competition, and build more impactful brand partnerships.

Resources about sentiment


About the author

Brianne Schaer is a Writer and Editor for Reputation X, an award-winning online reputation management services agency based in California. Brianne has more than seven years of experience creating powerful stories, how-to documentation, SEO articles, and Wikipedia content for brands and individuals. When she’s not battling AI content bots, she is cruising around town in her Karmann Ghia. You can see more of her articles here and here.

Tags: Business Reputation Repair, Online Reputation Management Services, Reputation Marketing, Social Media Marketing.

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