How Sentiment Analysis Can Be One of Your Brand’s Most Powerful Tools



Implementing a strong social media strategy is vital in order for a company to flourish in the modern world. Behaviour has to be understood to be changed, and a human subject requires a human approach.

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One of the UK’s best-known health charities, the British Heart Foundation relies on social media to help raise awareness of its work and to reach those who need its help the most.

During #SMWLDN, reps from the organization including Jo Eden and Helen Skipworth came together with Meltwater Social‘s Claude Springer to explore the power behind sentiment analysis and social listening.

Here are the primary insights and takeaways:

  • Forging Communities Naturally with Handles and Hashtags
  • Reaching New Audiences With Personalized Animated Videos and Chatbots
  • Make Social Listening Effective By Cutting Through the Noise
  • Offset Automation By Tapping Through Sentiment

For context, panelists outlined that the BHF partners with Meltwater to obtain social listening data and implement their findings in invigorating, thought-provoking marketing strategies. Meltwater provides social insights reports which allow companies to foster and gather communities in order to create tailored content and rival commercials as well as non-profit organizations.

Thought-provoking Marketing Strategies Begin With Data

Jo Eden, Social Media Manager for British Heart Foundation explains that the company use social media primarily to connect, promote (retail branches and events), broadcast (research breakthroughs), inform (pushing for policy and talking to healthcare professionals)and celebrate warming stories.

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Helen Skipworth, Social Media Executive for British Heart Foundation mentions a Twitter account set up, with the handle @bhfprofessionals, for healthcare professionals, nurses, GP’s, researchers and scientists. “We thought thoroughly before setting the account up because a lot of company accounts get abandoned and set up just because the company feels like they should [have one]”. The account illustrates BHF’s work with NHS and enables them to share research news in a less consumer-facing way.

Forging Communities Naturally with Handles and Hashtags

On Instagram, the hashtag #BoughtAtBHF was born naturally. “It came from natural consumer behavior online,” Eden says. “We started responding to people using the handle and tagging us, asking them to use the hashtag instead. It shows what you might see in shops and helps people start a community and because it was actual, authentic behavior, it was easier to galvanize.” BHF went on to do its own photoshoot around Camden, inviting micro-influencers and is working more on its relationship with them.

Reaching New Audiences With Personalized Animated Videos and Chatbots

Skipworth works on personalized videos, which are sent out three weeks before a major event or charity sport via email to those partaking. These videos act as cheerleaders and provide vital information as well as forming unique consumer relations. “I refer to the donation amount and activity by pulling in live data. People can feel awkward about asking for money so this is a nice way to do a bit of hero worship for our supporters and help them with their fundraising,’ she nods.

BHF also ran a CPR chatbot on Facebook Messenger via social listening. It reached those who may not have considered BHF as a place to find support as well as information, and people who may be at risk of high blood pressure and circulatory disease and not know it.

Make Social Listening Effective By Cutting Through the Noise

For social listening to be effective, you need to cut through the noise. Eden justifies BHF’s use of it. “It’s not creepy at all or intrusive. We think that we have something to offer certain people, that they may not realize. They may need prompting to seek medical support. No response through BHF is automated, though. We always have real people on the end.”

Skipworth adds that “social listening helps us spot the myths in heart problems and cardiac arrests. For example, there’s actually a difference between a cardiac arrest and a heart attack.” They’ve even discovered an unconscious bias with women and heart attack care.

“There are no symptoms that are specific to either sex – it’s part of the reason women aren’t getting the care they need,” stresses Eden. Monitoring is difficult when there is so much ‘noise’ around the phrase ‘heart attack’ on social media. It’s used colloquially frequently and most tellingly, it’s primary use is in relation to spiders.

Offset Automation By Tapping Through Sentiment

BHF filter their content by sentiment. Eden says that “relying on sentiment [for BHF] will provide entirely negative results because what we’re putting out is so sad. We will generate upset by a campaign but doesn’t mean it’s failed. We need to offset automation by looking at results with our own eyes.”

She concludes, “it’s hard to temper our serious brand with the humor on social media. We have to push; it’s difficult, but having a big team means we can spread the load a bit.” Her final piece of advice? If you’re a brand on social media, use it.

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