If a Tree Falls in the Internet, Does Anyone Hear It?

With a simple tweet, a potential client or customer can be turned off or on to your company forever. As the Harvard Business Review states, “Critics no longer need the resources of an institution. The internet has leveled the playing field between corporations and individual activists.”

That is surely the case today when we see companies that are being forced to respond quickly to a social grassroots movement, such Instagram's recent gaffe, when it was forced to issue a statement regarding a new privacy policy after a hurricane of outrage. What happened? Users forced the hand of Instagram’s management and they changed the policy, but not before they lost 25% of their users. 

Need another example? How about Chick-Fil-A? They managed to upset an entire group of people, and triggered protests from shore to shore with a simple “guilty as charged” comment and a subsequent Facebook post that sent the PR crisis viral. Market research firm YouGov found that Chick-fil-A’s BrandIndex score had fallen 40 percent nationally after being pronounced “guilty as charged” of funding groups that oppose marriage equality.

What can be done? There are some great tools available that will monitor, alert, track, measure, and record online sentiment about your business, in addition to providing you the option to respond to it. How does it do this? Well, there are really two avenues of sentiment analysis: keyword analytics and linguistic analytics.

Keyword analytics is where a software program crawls the Internet and finds words that are associated with a topic, and based on that word, it provides Sentiment Analysis, which is the action of classifying text into categories like "positive", "negative” or “neutral”.

For example, say I were to do sentiment analysis on myself, and I enlisted one of these programs to do a search on me and the phrase “Tyler Evans’s Reputation Management Report was not bad; it was a solid read.” With keyword analytics, that would come back as a negative mention because of the word “bad” in the sentence.

With linguistic analytics, that would come back as a positive mention as it can analyze the sentence through its algorithm and determine the actual meaning of the sentence. While keyword analytics are not preferred, doing something in this case is much better than doing nothing. 

In today’s world, you must be active on social media—and that goes beyond a post or a tweet. It means that you must be acutely aware of how your brand is being perceived across all platforms. According to a Harris Poll,34% of internet users have turned to social media to air their feelings about a company. 26% have done this to express dissatisfaction, and 23% to share companies or products they like.

Through sentiment monitoring and analysis, you may unearth a hidden nugget of information that could transform your organization, or even stop a potential problem that could bring your company to its knees. The tools are available—use them! Your reputation depends on it.

If you're not comfortable finding and utilizing sentiment analysis on your own, we're always happy to help. Give us a call or contact us today to see what well-managed reputation management and monitoring can do for you.

Image via SFB579.