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Sentiment analysis has become unreliable, but you can get around that

(MARKETING) Gathering sentiment analysis on your brand is a standard marketing practice, but new studies reveal the data is increasingly unreliable – here’s how to combat this trend.

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Turns out it isn’t just the average Joe who should be worried about misleading information online. Brands should be equally concerned about the accuracy of consumer perception. The basics of sentiment analysis are as old as the pandora’s box of asking for someone’s opinion. However, a study by the Harvard Business Review has shown that online vs. offline consumer reactions should be treated differently.

Sentiment analysis is the computational process of categorizing a person’s attitude towards a product, brand, topic, or campaign as “positive”, “negative”, or “neutral” by digesting their linguistic patterns in their posts and comments.

It’s essentially the uphill battle of turning subjective feelings into actionable or useful data. The problem is finding accurate trends when 60 percent of sentiment analysis studies yield overall “neutral” attitudes. Not all that helpful…

Essentially, online reactions are rooted in extremes. We all have been or have that friend who posts about finding “this amazing product/brand” and must let all passing scrollers know about this new obsession.

Alternatively, some try to perform a civic duty by warning others about a poor experience to save their social media friends from the same grief. Whatever said in that comment or post is likely filled with intense emotion, equivalent to someone running out into the road to yell their feelings to anyone who’ll listen.

Secondly, the spectrum of consumer reactions can be too wide. With the rise of fake accounts and bots, accepting feedback wholesale can lead to too much noise or misleading sentiments. Specificity is key, especially when A.I. and algorithms still have trouble recognizing irony, hyperbole, and humor. (Memes, anyone?) Feedback can be more accurate by targeting phrases such as “will buy” or “won’t buy”. For bigger brands, random, sentiment sampling can also help narrow the focus.

Finally, the sentiment analysis tools should vary. There are a growing number of resources with Hootsuite Insight, Rapidminer, and Social Mention just to name a few. Different tools can help create a better picture of consumer reactions — just follow the trail of hashtags!

The minefield of online interaction hasn’t gotten any safer despite a public awareness for fake news. Context is still a tricky thing. But subjectivity still makes the world go ’round (in my opinion), and we can see the value in feedback even though it may require playing with fire.

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Staff Writer, Allison Yano is an artist and writer based in LA. She holds a BFA in Applied Visual Arts and Minor in Writing from Oregon State University, and an MFA in Fine Art from Pratt Institute. Her waking hours are filled with an insatiable love of storytelling, science, and soy lattes.

Real Estate Marketing

Simple weekly emailer curates your stats across social networks

(MARKETING) If you are overwhelmed or turned off by massively granular stats, getting a simple email weekly about your social media stats could be a meaningful tool for you.

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You already know that building a brand (for yourself OR a brokerage) is a lot of work. There’s not only fierce competition, but there’s a lot of ground to cover.

A huge portion of that ground is being present on social media. This doesn’t just mean consistently posting content that is important and relevant to your brand, but it also means keeping tabs on who is following you and engaging with said content.

That’s why Metrics Coffee is here to help. With this new tool, it helps you keep track of your social media metrics by sending you a detailed email to your inbox every Monday morning.

So, how does it work? First, you enter your email to register (the first month is free, woot woot!) and then you attach all of your social media handles to your account.

Then, every Monday morning, you’ll receive an email from Metrics Coffee with a detailed look at your personal metrics. It’ll show the number of followers on each specific platform, and how much your follower count has gone up (or down) within the last week.

Platforms that it currently tracks are: Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, ConvertKit, and ButtonDown. If there’s a platform that isn’t included that you’d like them to track (we would suggest LinkedIn as it is overtly missing), you can request that they integrate said platforms.

“I recently become an independent developer (quit my job!) and started making courses and conducting workshops. I get most of my audience from my twitter and YouTube channel, so I’ve become more intentional about building an audience, said Metrics Coffee maker, Siddharth Kshetrapal. “[I] started tracking [the metrics] with pen and paper along with my morning coffee, but I would forget doing this all the time! Realized I need it to be a push not pull. And that’s why I built this product! It keeps a track of my social accounts and sends me an email every Monday; including my tiny newsletter.”

Much like one needs their Monday morning coffee, Metrics Coffee is designed to give you a rush of adrenaline and inspiration that will help you start your work week. It’s such a simple concept that we wonder why this hasn’t been around for a decade already.

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Real Estate Marketing

Some folks hate retweets – let’s discuss their hidden value

(MARKETING) Retweets suck, but not as much as people are whining about – let’s take a critical look at this emotional topic.

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If your social media marketing campaign is even remotely well-rounded, you’re probably privy to the dumpster fire that is Twitter nowadays. Retweets and all. While it may be tempting to mute accounts with which you disagree, avoid specific hashtags, or even remove all tweets from your feed, there are a few benefits to staying in the loop—no matter how painful.

Retweets are essentially the trail mix of social media posts – you’ll get an M&M every once in a while, but you’re more likely to run into a bunch of salty raisins.

Unfortunately, retweets are also crucial in determining both your competition’s movement and your product’s success, making it tactically important to keep an eye on them.

Primarily, using RTs to monitor your competition’s progress without having to interact directly with their page is necessary for any perpetual multi-tasker.

Virtually all Twitter-geared analytics will take into account retweets mentioning your defined parameters, but being able to see and respond to these retweets as they unfold allows you to stay on top of any developing circumstances while never straying from the Twitter app or site.

Being able to respond to tweets and retweets via either comments or quotes is another invaluable aspect to keep in mind. Consumers love it when brands respond to them, and their primary reaction to doing so tends to be to retweet the response in question. This ensures that others see your response, and, invariably, someone will have a question or a comment regarding your take; if you can’t see quoted retweets or keep track of your current retweets, you’ll miss out on following up with such encounters.

If you think of retweets as marketing research that’s being hand-delivered to your feed, they’re suddenly a bit less nefarious.

Of course, if you absolutely can’t stand seeing the pure, unadulterated BS in your feed, there are ways to avoid it: there is now a script to remove all RTs from your feed, and you can mute specific accounts to prevent them from showing up at all.

However, doing so misses the overall point – inclusivity and awareness, no matter how annoying, which beats out self-affirmation in an echo chamber any day.

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Real Estate Marketing

How to make sure a client actually reviews you online

(MARKETING) Actionable customer feedback is one of the most valuable assets at your disposal. Unfortunately, it’s also incredibly difficult to obtain ratings and reviews.

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Actionable customer feedback is one of the most valuable assets at your disposal. Unfortunately, it’s also incredibly difficult to obtain, as angry customers rarely leave coherent reviews and satisfied customers often avoid them entirely. Here are a few ways to achieve positive feedback without breaking the bank.

Before embarking on a crusade to pester your customers for their time, take a second to identify pain points in your services.

Are your negotiating superb, or do they end up a bit lackluster from time to time? Does your customer interfacing garner largely positive results, or do you get the feeling that you’re putting people off? Knowing what to look for when asking for feedback and reviews will help you narrow the number of choices your customers have, making an answer significantly more likely.

Once you have a general idea of what you want to address, it is ideal to implement a universal online reviews strategy that all clients are asked for, and you never cherry pick for marketing purposes, rather publish all of the ratings for an accurate picture, given that consumers want real transparency. For example, RatedAgent.

But maybe you’re a solo agent with a broker that doesn’t invest in anything (especially not a ratings and reviews strategy) and you’re on your own.

In that case, start putting together a form with specific questions targeting your established weak spots – naturally, the fewer the better, but don’t lead people – transparency is good. In most cases, you’ll want to stick to three main topics and a general suggestion area; anything more than that, and you risk intimidating your prospective critics.

Following up directly via email is a good way to catch a customer’s attention, but it’s also a good way to end up in your customers’ spam folders, and it can get expensive quite quickly. If you decide to run an email campaign, make sure your intent is in the subject line.

You might even want to pair your email with a promotion, such as a free annual fire inspection or something similar, but be careful not to skew your potential feedback.

An alternative to mass-emailing your client list is installing a pop-up box on your website. After seeing the same box multiple times, some of your clients are bound to cave eventually; as long as you keep the box clean, concise, and easy to exit, you shouldn’t receive negative feedback inspired by annoyed web-goers. You can also add your message to a modal box or a similarly less-intrusive graphic in order to account for the ad-blocker crowd if you don’t see enough feedback within a month or so.

Acting on customer reviews is perhaps the clearest way to improving your customer-facing image — as long as the feedback itself is clear. Knowing what to look for and implementing a pleasant campaign to obtain will get you one step closer to raking in the critiques.

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