by Russ Ward (@russcward)
Social media sentiment around a product, service or brand is an interesting metric (and, as discussed in Part One of the series, one that ought not be ignored) that provides some insight into the emotional state of the demographic from which the sentiment is derived.
I have heard from a number of people that finding actionable strategies from a particular sentiment value is a difficult matter. I want to use this post to show you how you can turn that data to solve problems creatively.
When looking at a high percentage of negative sentiment within social media chatter, the semantics of dissatisfaction can be very broad. Perhaps a range of phrases like “slow service” or “abysmal failure” can be used to express a negative customer service experience. This range of phrases can be taken in context and categorized as customer service issues of varying severity.
The degree of the subtly in interpretation of negative expression can range from difficult to detect sarcasm to blatant exclamation, and can have some people debating the level of dissatisfaction and motivation of each community member in their specific situation.
However these levels of sophistication of interpretation, while valuable, do not actually describe the problem that caused the dissatisfaction and negative sentiment in the first place. For the negative sentiment insight to be most valuable it must point to the actionable problem that, when solved, will turn the sentiment positive or, at the very least, neutral.
Therefore negative sentiment provides us with the opportunity to find problems and unmet needs of the community around our products, services and brands. Research of the content of negative sentiment conversations will reveal the target of the dissatisfaction and indicate the problem area.
When individual problems are logically grouped and categorized into themes, they become clear as problems areas. In some conversations within social media, the community member will explicitly state the root of the problem, while others will imply a problem. Our research is not finished yet!
Once you have a view of the problem areas, further research to explicitly identify the problems may be necessary before a creative problem solving session can occur.
Here are tips for managing negative sentiment within social media:
1. Monitor Negative and Neutral sentiment for your company’s services regularly (weekly).
2. Set up a low level baseline of negative sentiment, which you are prepared to tolerate – for example two to three percent.
3. Once the threshold is compromised or exceeded conduct a research initiative to identify the logical groupings and content of issues within the commentary flagged as negative sentiment.
4. Prioritize the problem groups by size (frequency) and level of detriment to the product sales or brand image.
5. Assess problem areas to see what secondary research is needed to identify the root problems.
6. Form and schedule creative problem solving sessions to generate and implement solution options for the prioritized problems on your list.
7. When applicable start an active communications campaign to tell community groups that you are solving these problems based on their voice.
8. Return to step 1 and repeat.
So here is the indicator… the more negative sentiment you have within social media chatter the greater the opportunity you have to identify consumer dissatisfaction and specific problems which when solved can reverse the sentiment to be positive.
Disagree? Then please reply with your perspective and let us know.