Social Media Sentiment as Marketing KPI: Moving Beyond Likes and Followers

In today's hyper-connected digital world, social media has become a critical platform for brands operating in the B2B sector. For these businesses, social media has evolved beyond just a platform for engagement and interaction; it has become a critical tool for marketing and brand management. While tracking likes, followers, and other metrics remains relevant, it is no longer sufficient to gauge the success of a brand's social media presence. Enter social media sentiment analysis, a powerful tool that measures the overall sentiment towards a brand (as well as its stock, in the case of publicly listed companies). In this article, we will delve into the importance of social media sentiment as a key marketing Key Performance Indicator (KPI) and how it can shape a brand's strategy.

Shift from Vanity Metrics to Meaningful Insights

In the early days of social media marketing, brands focused heavily on metrics such as the number of followers, likes, shares, and comments. While these metrics provide a sense of popularity and visibility, they often lack depth and fail to deliver real insights into a brand's performance and reputation among its audience.

Focusing solely on increasing the number of social media followers or the engagement level of your publications creates a myopic, self-congratulatory view of the market for businesses. Those who feel strongly positive towards a brand are the ones who will join the ranks of followers and “likers”. If the follower base chart is trending up, a company might become oblivious to the possible reputational damages and negative sentiment towards their brand floating around on social media.

As such, brands, especially B2B organisations, need to move beyond vanity metrics and embrace more meaningful indicators that can guide their marketing strategies and decision-making processes. Likes, reposts, and followers are the social media game of the 2010s. Quantifiable social media sentiment (positive/negative/neutral) is a new critical marketing KPI.

Understanding Social Media Sentiment Analysis

Social media sentiment analysis involves analysing and interpreting the emotions, opinions, and attitudes expressed by users towards a brand, product, or service on social media platforms. We are not talking about perusing through Twitter and LinkedIn comments or posts trying to “sense” what is going on out there in your industry. Our social media sentiment platform, PUMP, uses advanced AI and NLP algorithms to quantify the levels of neutral, positive (bullish), and negative (bearish) sentiment towards a variety of financial assets – stocks, cryptocurrencies, commodities, forex pairs, and more.

For publicly listed companies, tracking social sentiment related to their stock tickers is critical. For crypto platform developers and operators, it is the sentiment towards their crypto coins that matters.

Why Social Sentiment is Critical for B2B Organisations

In any B2B niche, building trust and proactively managing your online reputation are paramount. Social media sentiment analysis can play a crucial role in this regard. Positive sentiment towards a B2B brand indicates that the company’s branding and marketing are having the desired effect on the level of the entire market, not just within the enthusiastic lot of your followers.

On the other hand, negative sentiment can be an early warning sign of potential issues that need to be addressed. Promptly addressing negative sentiment allows brands to mitigate reputational damages and rectify the situation before it is too late.

Social media sentiment analysis is not limited to analysing your own brand alone. It can also provide valuable insights into market trends and competitive intelligence. By monitoring the sentiment around competitor brands, organisations can identify gaps in the market and fine-tune their marketing strategies accordingly.

While tracking the levels of your brand’s positive and negative sentiment, do analyse the same metrics for your key competitors. Sometimes, spikes in positive or negative sentiment aren’t specific to your brand and might simply happen at the industry level.

Leveraging Social Sentiment for Marketing Strategy

Here are some essential steps you can take to make social media sentiment an effective part of your overall marketing strategy:

1. Identify Relevant Metrics

While positive and negative sentiment are crucial, they are not the only metrics to consider. Brands should identify and track additional KPIs relevant to their goals, such as brand sentiment over time and sentiment comparisons with competitors.

2. Choose the Right Tools

Numerous social media listening and sentiment analysis tools are available, each with their ownstrengths and weaknesses. Analyse the merits and limitations of each tool before making your final decision. Pay attention to the capabilities of the tools, including the ability to filter out spam and bot traffic, the number of social media sources covered, and any features for segmenting and drilling down on the basic social sentiment measures.

3. Monitor Real-Time Sentiment

Social media sentiment can fluctuate rapidly. Brands should aim to monitor sentiment in real-time to respond promptly to emerging issues or capitalise on positive trends.

4. Respond and Engage

Engagement is a crucial aspect of social media marketing. If you observe a marked and sustained decline in your brand’s sentiment, respond with communication strategies aimed at addressing the situation without a delay.

5. Integrate Sentiment Insights into Strategy

The insights gained from social media sentiment analysis should be integrated into the overall marketing and business strategies. Positive sentiment can inform areas of strength to emphasise, while negative sentiment highlights areas that need improvement.

6. Measure Impact on Business Goals

The ultimate purpose of using social media sentiment as a KPI is to drive a positive impact on business goals. Brands should measure how sentiment changes over time and how it correlates with customer acquisition, retention, and other key performance indicators.

Social media sentiment analysis is a game-changer for B2B organisations seeking to strengthen their marketing efforts. Relying solely on likes, followers, and other vanity metrics is no longer enough to measure a brand's success online. These measures simply show the engagement levels among your brand’s most loyal core. Cultivating a strong brand at the level of the overall market requires dedicated social sentiment analysis.