What is the Sentiment Analysis of YOUR Social Media Presence?

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As social media marketers, we are always interested in comparing the sentiment analysis of brands that we represent – and potentially using that as one metric to track the success of our social media programs.  Unfortunately, that is only one part of the picture into how we are viewing your brand.

Every employee that has your company name in their Twitter bio is part of how we view your company.

Every employee that shares status updates on LinkedIn can be found using LinkedIn Signal.

Every employee that has a blog in which your company name appears can be seen as a representative of your company.

It is no different if they say they work at your company in their Facebook profile.

Windmill Networking blogger Garrett Ira already showed how your employees can be your most important social media influencers.  Fellow WMN blogger Judy Gombita talked about the need to practice positive PR 2.0.  So, if your employees are seen as an extension of your company – and if they are sending negative signals through their social presence – what does this say about your brand?

I’ve already decided not to do business with a certain service provider because of my own negative sentiment analysis of that provider’s social media presnce.  Their LinkedIn Profile – and Recommendations – were all in order.  Phone interview was excellent.  Website was solid.  However, when I went to their blog and saw that they were taking an extremist view towards politics, I frankly didn’t feel comfortable giving them my business.

The same goes for social media marketers who are also very active in social media.  Do they fight with others over tweets?  Blog about complaints towards others in the industry?  Perhaps even post a biting, negative comment on someone else’s blog?  What does it say about them – and would others want to do business with or hire them?

If you were to look at your own social media stream, would any of the below words appear?

tag cloud of negative tweet words

The above are actual results using PeopleBrowsr to monitor negative sentiment analysis of major airlines that Brian Solis released sometime ago in his post Twitter Trends: Airline Hotlist August 2009.  When I asked Brian about using his above image for this post, he said that that post was “a demonstration which led to The End of Business as Usual to show how conversations = brands today.”

I say the same is as true for how people perceive of company brands as they do YOUR brand.

Every tweet, post, and comment from you is a social media signal that you are sending out to the world.  Have you looked back at your streams of content that are for the public eye and deciphered the messages that you are telling the public about you – and the brand that you directly or indirectly represent?

For companies, the only way to improve upon the sentiment that your employees provide the world of social media is to make them happy employees.  However, regular workshops or seminars educating all of your employees on the professional use of social media – and the implications it has for your brand or even your employee’s future personal branding – cannot be ignored as a MUST-HAVE ongoing employee training program for any true social business.

It is time for either Human Resources, Internal Communications, or both to pick up the ball, take the initiative, and start the process of bringing their employees up to speed on the professional use of social media.

On the other hand, for all of those social media marketers that are “guilty” of a negative social media presence, perhaps it’s the reason why you don’t get the business – or buzz – that you think you are worthy of.

I’ll conclude this post by saying that there’s nothing wrong with a negative comment here or there, as people are not saying positive things 100% of the time.  I will say, though, that you never know who is reading your social media content – which is why it’s always safe to create and stick to your social media public persona.

Have you ever not done business with a company because of their negative social signals? Have you ever seen the social media comments from an employee give you a negative picture of a brand? Please add to the conversation!

Neal Schaffer
The Founder and Editor-In-Chief of Maximize Social Business, Neal Schaffer is a leader in helping businesses and professionals strategically maximize their use of social media. Neal is the author of three social media books, including the recently published definitive social media strategy book Maximize Your Social. Forbes lists him as a Top 35 Social Media Power Influencer and AdAge lists his blog, Maximize Social Business (formerly known as Windmill Networking), as a top 100 global marketing blog. Neal provides social media strategy consulting and coaching, having worked with Fortune 500 companies and a Grammy-award winning musician. He has presented worldwide on social media at more than 150 events and also teaches social media marketing at Rutgers University. +Neal Schaffer
Neal Schaffer


Author, @MaxYourSocial | Founder @msocialbusiness & @socialtoolssmmt | Trilingual Social Media Strategy Consultant, Coach, and Speaker
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Neal Schaffer


  1. says

    I remember the first day I opened my Facebook account. For some reason it seemed so different to me because I knew it would be a public representation of who I am, even though my account was private for years. I was aware of the implications of negative commentary and aware of how the ranting of others affected me. So I made a decision to be cautious of what I posted and to think about it beforehand. Companies must participate in the social media education of their employees in today’s climate – where a single update can render a brand useless or untrustworthy. Being aware of how we present ourselves and our businesses is of upmost importance. We must first be respectable, if we expect to be respected. And we must give mercy, so that it is given to us in the event we screw up. Even though the online community its a not a face-to-face medium, it is still important we treat others how we want to be treated. I do not believe the Internet is the place for negativity – if you disagree, do so without emotion and with a ready answer. We should inspire one another, not share negative energy. Great post and thoughtful questions, Neal! As always, you provide value :) 

    • says

      Thanks Ahna! I couldn’t have said it better myself 😉 As companies embark on social media programs, educating their employees on the responsible use of social media is more important than ever.

  2. says

    I know that I will never forget (and perhaps never forgive) the PUBLIC RELATIONS person for a vendor company who classified me as an “online bully” when I spoke up about the gender balance in its PD offerings (there is a disconnect between the gender balance of its primary customer base and the “subject experts” it recruited–ALL male).

    I have shared this public insult with numerous people. I’ve heard back from others that they have had a similar experience with that PR person. Ergo, when asked to opine about the vendor company, based on my negative social media experience with the primary “external” representative, I always advise against.. And I’ve heard that a person in a much more influential position than me (regarding endorsements) says the same thing.

    • says

      I believe there are many like us, Judy, who will equate one’s online behavior with their offline – and it will negatively affect them AND the company the represent. I also believe the number of people like us will only grow in the future.

      • says

        I hope you are right, Neal. The problem I see (per Clay Johnson’s book, The Information Diet) is that far too many people indulge in a “confirmation bias” in terms of the people they “hang out with” in social media. Therefore, the PR person who insulted me on Twitter or the individual who leaves “biting” comments on your blog probably have several friends publicly or privately saying, “Way to tell her/him off.”

        For example, in my Decorum Byte (thank for the link love, btw) about the PRSA definition of public relations. Lots of confirmation bias (and negativity) from the naysayers.

        • says

          Indeed, people tend to align themselves with others and group together – perhaps more so online than offline because it is so much easier to – and also perhaps because the link in their relationship is weaker.

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