Given that July 4th just passed, kids may not be ready to think about heading back to school, but brands definitely need to. It’s never too early to apply sentiment analysis to be sure you’re prepared. Here’s how.
Be on Time for the First Bell
The back-to-school shopping period may not hit in full force until August, but if you’re going to nail your back-to-school campaign, now is the time to be planning.
Use a tool like NetBase Pro to get a handle on early conversations, trends worth exploring, and other insights to guide you as you craft your messaging.
Here’s a look at Sentiment Attributes, i.e., positive and negative topics being discussed on social. The size of the text indicates the popularity of the topic and intensity of the emotion compared to other subjects.
Let’s look at a few terms popping out.
- “Open 4 ur donation” and “#@UCMAlex #BackToSchool campaign” both reference United Community Ministries of Alexandria VA’s fundraising drive to “supply 500 kids from low-income families with backpacks & supplies — so they are ready to succeed at school!” The campaign is being run through Amazon.
- “Support AZ student” references HonorHealth Desert Mission’s Back-to-School Backpack and School Supply Drive for students in Arizona.
- “Allergy friendly back-to-school snacks” references a post shared by AkronOhioMoms.com, sharing info on allergy-friendly shopping at BJ’s Wholesale Club.
- “Perfect Pair” is another post by AkronOhioMoms.com about finding the “perfect pair” of shoes at Lucky Shoes in Fairlawn, OH.
- “#backtoschool” is the hashtag you’ll see more of as we get closer to August – at least if last year is any indication! Right now there are conversations about everything from Lego Batman lunchboxes, to clothing sales, to behind-the-scenes looks at a #backtoschool commercial for popular blog Scary Mommy.
This is a lot to start with.
Early school supply fund drives make sense, given the challenging nature of fundraising. The more time, the better. Can your brand help, or give back to area drives through your own sales?
Food allergies are a big issue for children in schools, so it’s no surprise they’re part of the conversation. If you’re a food brand, ensuring you offer good options and clear labeling will help. So will making sure parents know about you!
We’ve got two influencers worth investigating: AkronOhioMoms.com and Scary Mommy. The former has 8.5K Twitter followers, and the latter has 500K. Both could deliver some brand awareness if they’re willing to work with you.
Geographically we’re seeing opportunities for engagement in Alexandria, VA; Akron, OH; Fairlawn, OH; and Phoenix, AZ. If you’ve got a store location or audience in this area, you now have a clue about what interests them.
Of course, there’s a lot more to look at.
Emotions and Behaviors help tell the story as well:
- “Perfect” is the word everyone seems to be using to describe back-to-school products. This includes brands promoting their merchandise, consignment stores selling gently-used clothing, bloggers sharing back-to-school planning and organizational projects, and more.
- “Ready” references Donor’s Choose sites for teachers to fundraise for classroom supplies, shopping promos, and news that JC Penney’s has hired 18,000 seasonal associates nationwide to help with the back-to-school season. Should your brand do the same?
- “Like” is largely connected to back-to-school shopping vloggers – and the language used when viewers choose to share a video they’ve liked. Lots of influencers to consider here. If you don’t bring them on board, your competitors just might.
Don’t forget to explore negative terms as well. So far there’s nothing standing out in a major way in our Emotions cloud, but knowing what consumers take issue with will help you steer clear.
- The “expensive nightmare” of school clothing – and issues like bullying that stem from not having designer clothes – is being discussed on a forum called Mumsnet.
- School-specific supply kits are on offer from Clinton Rosette Middle School in Dekalb IL, for those who “despise” school shopping.
- A recent high school graduate shares her “freak out” every time she sees a back-to-school ad this early in the season – reminding brands to be careful lest they alienate this segment of their target audience.
Make New Friends
We’ve already seen some influencers popping up in our results, but let’s see what we find in the Influencers card.
Looking at posts for each of these users reveals a variety of angles on the back-to-school conversation. Not all of them will work for every brand, but if there’s a personality that’s a fit, knowing they have a large and engaged audience is what you want in an influencer.
It’s interesting that the posts with the most engagements are all on Instagram. This isn’t unusual, really. Whether or not your audience is there depends on a number of factors, but it’s certainly an important social network in general.
However, in our search overall, Twitter is the social network where the most conversation is happening, followed by forums, news outlets, and then Instagram.
Something to remember as you conduct your sentiment analysis: #backtoschool isn’t limited to children. There are plenty of stories out there about adults who’ve gone “back to school” to complete their education and change their lives for the better.
Some of these stories are part of the Popular Media – an indication that these sorts of personal stories drive engagement when told via video or images. Again, Instagram is a major channel.
The back-to-school period is one many brands rely on – both to generate revenue, and to prepare their teams for the next biggest shopping period of the year: the holidays.
Look back at your social media audit to see what worked last year, run competitive analysis to be sure you’re in step with the rest of your category, and perform campaign analysis throughout the back-to-school season to make the most of this year’s campaign.
Whatever you do, learn something. Your efforts will always matter if you do.
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- Social Sentiment Lessons From The Media & Entertainment Industries
- Why You’ve Got To Let Social Sentiment Colour Your Strategy