Mindful Metrics

Beyond Vanity Metrics: Mentions and Social Sentiment

Beyond vanity metrics: mentions and social sentiment

Now more than ever, brands live and die online. Brand stories, ideas and perceptions are shaped by online content, and a lot of that content is authored by an external audience: fans, detractors, competitors, current customers, past customers and potential customers. To drive brands you have to be listening to the conversation, and you have to engage. But the volume of the conversation can be overwhelming; brand chatter can register hundreds of thousands of mentions across a variety of digital channels, from social media to blogs to press releases. Talk will often take place in different countries, time-zones and languages. How can you listen to everything? And even if you could listen to everything, you can’t engage everywhere. You have to be selective, and in some cases, pick your battles. But which ones?

Advanced social listening and social media analytics platforms like Talkwalker help brands overcome some of these challenges, allowing them to listen to, analyze and report on real-time conversations across most digital media channels, globally. But most importantly in my view, with tools like Theme Clouds, Influence Rankings and Sentiment Analysis, platforms like Talkwalker equip brands with the information they need to engage in the right conversations, at the right time, to keep the brand strategy on course. More on Talkwalker here.

Klipfolio (a business dashboard app) recently introduced a Talkwalker integration and some pre-built Talkwalker Klips in the Klip Gallery. A ‘Klip’ is our term for a visualization that places data in context and delivers business insights. Accessing Talkwalker via the Klip Gallery (our gallery of pre-built Klips), I’ve been amazed at how fast and easy it is to get access to some incredibly interesting (and useful) social data, and monitor it on my dashboard. One of the first Talkwalker Klips I built for fun was an AL East Baseball Dashboard. I was curious to see the impact of recent Jays trades on fan support and social sentiment, and thought it would be fun to compare volume of mentions and sentiment surrounding the Jays with that surrounding the Yankees, Red Sox and Orioles. Using the pre-built Talkwalker Klip ‘Social Sentiment Over Time’ I was able to create the following four Klips in under 2 minutes:

Talkwalker Social Sentiment

The video at the bottom of this post will take you through the three steps to build these Klips from your Klipfolio Dashboard. We also made this dashboard available as a public social media dashboard.

Monitoring this dashboard around the MLB trade deadline (July 31st), it was interesting to see the spike in social mentions surrounding the Jays when they acquired star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki on July 28th, and then all-star Pitcher David Price on July 30th. Contrasting that data spike with the volume of mentions for the other AL East teams around this time, you can see that these trades increased fan engagement big time.

Even more powerful than monitoring the total volume of ‘Toronto Blue Jays’ mentions, Talkwalker’s social analytics platform enables the analysis of the sentiment behind the mentions, and that’s included in these Klips as well.

How are mentions categorized as ‘negative’, ‘neutral’ or ‘positive’? “We analyze each word and give them a tone” says Jeremy Bernier, Strategic Partner Manager at Talkwalker. Each word is assigned a number of points: “happy is positive (+ 5), and unhappy ( -5) is negative.” Points for each word in a sentence are added together and then divided by the number of words to produce an average, and that’s one indication of the sentiment behind the sentence. “On top of this we have a Natural Language Processing (NLP) engine which allows the platform to understand the grammatical structure of the sentence”, says Bernier. “I am not happy” is negative even if the word ‘happy’ is in the sentence because of the negation that precedes it”. Bernier acknowledges that machines won’t be able to analyze the sentiment behind mentions as accurately as humans as they don’t understand humour or irony. However, utilizing these tools, “social sentiment analysis is accurate 70-75% of the time”, he says.

Once we at Klipfolio saw how quick and easy it was to get social sentiment insights surrounding the Jays and the AL East, our interests turned to the American GOP and Canadian Leadership debates, which were both held on August 6th. How cool would it be to see mentions and public sentiment surrounding the candidates in real time during the debates?! That question led us to build these dashboards:

View the GOP Debate Dashboard live.

GOP Debate Dashboard

View the Canadian National Leaders Debate Dashboard.

Canadian Debate Dashboard

Beyond being incredibly interesting to baseball fans, engaged citizens and political pundits, it's not hard to see how useful these dashboards could be to the baseball clubs and political parties driving these brands. Want to drive positive social sentiment on the campaign trail? Use a social sentiment dashboard to guide your debate and communications strategy in real time. Want to drive fan support and optimize ticket pricing and promotions? Use a social sentiment dashboard to monitor fan engagement and sentiment, and price your product accordingly.

The ‘aha moment’ came hard and fast for us at Klipfolio as we played with the Talkwalker data surrounding the Jays and the debates; the utility of social listening and social analytics for brands is clear. But our appreciation for the power and the possibilities of this data ran deeper as we considered all the insights that could be gleaned from combining this data with other brand and organizational KPIs. What’s the relationship between the number of positive social mentions about a brand and new online leads or customer referral and retention rates? How might negative social mentions relate to customer churn or a declining Net Promoter Score? Identifying relationships between these metrics and monitoring them together in real-time could be a game changer in terms of driving business optimization and growth.

Here are a few sample Klips that we’re experimenting with at Klipfolio:

Vew the public dashboard.

Social Sentiment Dashboard

View the public dashboard.

Mentions Dashboard

Listening to social mentions about your brand for the sake of listening is vain. Listening to measure social sentiment and brand equity, to find and engage the most important conversations about your brand, and to measure relationships between social sentiment and other KPIs could prove critical to improving your business.

Learn more about creating a social media dashboard for your business.

Watch the demo: Klipfolio & Talkwalker: Building Social Sentiment Dashboards:

Also see:

Beyond Vanity Metrics: Net Promoter Score (NPS) & Customer Referral Rate (CRR)

Beyond Vanity Metrics: Share of Influence Vs. Share of Voice

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