Sentiment Could Have Saved Us – Using Consumer Passion to Avert Disasters
Carol Feigenbaum |
 04/11/16 |
3 min read


Passion is a force to be reckoned with. When passion drives positive intentions, much can be accomplished – but when it drives negative ones, the fallout can be major. And passion just happens to be the driving force behind social media – so you’d better understand it, or the fallout could be your brand’s.

The two sides of passion

Not every post on social media is dripping with passion, but every post is arguably inspired by emotion on some level. Every social post falls into one of two categories: users sharing their own feelings, or inspiring others to feel something.

The range of emotions represented on social runs the gamut – with some being stronger than others, naturally. Strong emotions on the positive side are great – especially if any of that sentiment is directed toward your brand. That’s where brand advocates come from.

On the negative side, however, strong feelings can hurt your brand if left unchecked. Anger is a fiery, passionate emotion – one which you must be able to identify, and then redirect or diffuse. Because when you don’t, things can go very, very wrong.

Behind the passion

Solving any problem means understanding the nature of it first – and on social media that’s no different. Social media is a consumer-centric place to begin with, so understanding consumers goes with the territory. Brands should be using social listening tools to get to know consumers as individuals – or at least as segments of individuals who share the same passions and social behaviors.

One of those tools is the Brand Passion Index, which shows you how your brand stacks up against others with regard to consumer sentiment. What you want to know is how many people are talking about your brand positively and negatively (Net Sentiment) – and how strong those feelings are (Passion Intensity).

Once you have a sense of the emotions social users are expressing, you can dig into the specifics. With intense feelings of hatred, you really want to understand what’s happening. Analyzing of negative mentions should account for sarcasm, slanguage and emojis – as these can skew results if misunderstood. Consider this tweet:


The user doesn’t actually hate Trivial Pursuit – but a keyword search on the name of the game and the word “hate” might count it as a negative mention.

So having software that understands sarcasm is key.

Turning passion around

Identifying angry tweeters is only the first step. You’ve got to take action, or they may be retweeted by legions of consumers who commiserate with them – and that can lead to a serious PR crisis. But even if it doesn’t get to that level, do you want anyone walking away from your brand based on the opinion of another customer, or even worse, a social troll?

It’s important to remember that passion kicks things up a few notches – the difference between “slightly annoyed” and “I’m never shopping your brand again!”

The good thing is that level of emotion is something you can turn to your advantage if you handle things well. Just as you’re more likely to “hate” someone you used to love, versus someone you’re indifferent to, furious consumers don’t always want to cut your brand out of their lives. More likely, they’re loyal customers who feel betrayed by a mistake, and just want to be heard.

This is where social customer service is paramount. Asking angry consumers to direct message you shows the people following them that you care – while not further fanning the flames in a public forum. Once you’re dealing with them one-on-one you can work to resolve things.

They may end up loving your brand even more for skillfully handling the complaint. And then passionately share the news with their friends.

Want to learn more about our sentiment analysis tools? Contact us to see a demo!

Image from Imaji

Premier social media analytics platform

Expand your social platform with LexisNexis news media

Power of social analytics for your entire team

Media analytics and market intelligence platform

Enrich your media analytics with social data

Social media benchmarking
and competitive intelligence

Data streams & custom KPIs for advanced data science

AI, Image Analytics, Reporting Tools & more

Out-of-the-box integration with other data sources