Human sentiment, unlike big data, is highly unstructured and affected by lingo, language and expressions of irony or playfulness. It is hard to interpret, and data scientists are still struggling to improve sentiment and social media analysis so businesses can truly understand what their customers think.
Fortunately, until big data is refined and sentiment analysis automation becomes more accurate, there are still ways to discover true sentiment about your business online. You can easily set up channels or avenues to discover true customer sentiment. Here are some ways how:
1. Set up Google alerts for your business.
Do you want to be notified whenever your name or your business is mentioned in the world wide web? You don’t have to Google your business all the time!
It’s easy. Set up Google alerts. It sends you e-mails when new web pages are published that are relevant to the search you set up for the alert. Hubspot discusses this in depth and even if it’s for marketing purposes, you can easily monitor the presence of your company online. Have we also mentioned that it’s free?
2. Monitor review sites.
Customer reviews are still the most effective way of advertising (or the exact opposite, breaking) a company. Word of mouth has migrated to the digital world in the form of review sites and it is easy to know how your business is performing by monitoring review sites of the industry you are in.
3. Start a blog.
You know what’s great about starting a blog? You don’t have to actively seek out customer perception about your brand, you use your blog to interact with them and hear them out. Customer engagement, building relationships and product feedback and development are just few of the benefits a company blog can give.
It also drives traffic to your site and is a great generator for business leads. So if your business doesn’t have a blog, start one now!
4. Set up optional feedback services.
If you have an online store, you can easily set up a feedback section for your customers. But make it optional as your customers don’t really like being required to leave a review every time they make a purchase.
Additionally, if you have presence on social media channels (if you don’t, it’s a good time to have a presence online), you can set up polls to engage customers and actively ask for feedback for current products or services, suggestions for improvement or even asking them outright what do they want to see in a product.
5. Keep up with industry news.
With how news travels fast and its impact increased exponentially through the digital world, it is best not only to keep tabs on your news about your business but also news about the industry you are in. News stories that affect your industry indirectly affect your business too.
Think of the food industry for example. Whenever there are news about poultry viral diseases, the whole poultry industry is affected even if only a few selected areas are affected. That’s how news works online. It is important that your business knows how to address bad publicity such as this to show your customers that your company is 1) different and 2) can handle these type of situations.
When You Discover Sentiment About Your Business, Managing It Is the Next Step.
Now that you have a clear idea on how your business is viewed by customers (existing and potential) and know where you stand, the next challenge is determining how you will be handling it.
While knowing true customer sentiment is a priority since it acts as a basis of all your business marketing strategies and online PR, what you do with it will be your game changer. Make sure you know how to handle it well.