uberVU via HootSuite's Beginner's Guide to Social Media Metrics

Social media can be an incredibly important tool for your business. But it can also be overwhelming. You’re following what’s being said about your industry and brand, your team is trying to produce and share great content, you’re interacting with customers, finding prospects and you’re trying to make sense of it all. The biggest question you’re most likely trying to answer is if your work in social is helping you achieve real business results. To find out, you need to measure your efforts by tracking the right social media metrics.

Not sure where to start? In this blog series, we’ll break down the social metrics you should be tracking, describe how to measure them, and most importantly, explain how you can use them so you never miss out on important insights.

Yesterday, we kicked off the Beginner’s Guide to Social Media Metrics with mentions. Today, we’ll break down sentiment.


Sentiment refers to the emotion behind a social media mention. It’s a way to measure the tone of the conversation—is the person happy, annoyed, angry? Sentiment adds important context to social conversations. Without it, measurement of mentions alone could be misleading. If you were measuring mentions for your company’s new product, you might assume a surge in mentions meant it was being well received. After all, more mentions = more people talking about the product. But what if all those mentions were negative?

Measuring sentiment will help you understand the overall feeling surrounding a particular subject, enabling you to create a broader and more complete picture of the social conversations that matter to you.

How to Measure Sentiment:

Measuring sentiment on your own can be quite a time commitment, depending on the size of the conversation. To record the sentiment of mentions, you would read each one, evaluate the tone and assign a score such as positive, negative or neutral.

There are a few free tools available that track and measure sentiment and quality social media marketing platforms will provide automatic sentiment analysis. The uberVU via HootSuite platform uses a powerful automation tool to determine sentiment, which is based on machine learning technology. If a person was to tweet about their experience shopping at Sears, the sentiment would be determined based on the description words they use. “Such great deals at Sears!” would register as positive whereas “Customer service at Sears is the worst.” would register as negative.

How to Use Sentiment:

Evaluate Brand Health

  • Analyzing sentiment on a regular basis will help you understand people’s feelings towards your brand, company or your product or service.
  • Consider using a tool that provides automatic sentiment analysis to get a quick overview of your brand health without having to dive into each individual mention.

Head Off a Crisis

  • Watch your sentiment level for any signals that could indicate a dramatic shift in brand health.
  • A sudden spike in negative mentions could be an indication of a developing crisis. Loop in your PR department, dive into the mentions to find the cause, and establish a plan for handling the rise in negativity.

Competitive Research

  • Sentiment analysis can also be used to find how your brand or product is being perceived in comparison to your top competitors.
  • Keep an eye on the overall sentiment level of competitors and find opportunities (positive and negative) that you can use to shape your positioning against theirs.

Evaluate Campaigns and Other Initiatives

  • Use sentiment levels to measure the success of product launches, marketing campaigns or other new initiatives.
  • Track how levels change throughout the duration of the initiative to establish if it is being received positively or negatively. Consider adjusting your strategy if negativity rises.
  • Did your increased sentiment level remain post campaign? Use the sentiment research to inform and perfect future initiatives.

Did you miss the kick off to the Beginner’s Guide to Social Media Metrics? Check out day one: Measuring Mentions. Stay tuned tomorrow when we’ll break down Reach and Exposure.

See your brand’s sentiment in real time with uberVU via HootSuite.

SMFO---Toyota-v-HondaIn this week’s Social Media Face Off, we’re putting popular car brands Toyota and Honda head-to-head to find out which one is accelerating past the competition in social. These two direct competitors have been racing for consumer preference on the road for years, but we’re eager to see which brand’s strategy is translating to social success.

We’ve created search streams for each brand in the uberVU via HootSuite platform and compared the results from the past two weeks in order to crown our winner.

Let’s see which car brand is winning the race in social.

Round One: Mentions

Honda drifts into an early lead with 524,620 mentions, easily topping Toyota’s 365,076 mentions.

As you can see from the line graph, Toyota experienced a remarkable 163.47% increase in mentions from April 8 to 9. What’s the reason behind this huge spike? On April 9, it was announced that Toyota would recall 6.4 million vehicles because of safety issues with airbags and seat defects, sending social into a frenzy.

Honda vs. Toyota - uberVU mentions

Winner: Honda

Round Two: Sentiment

Our next round looks deeper into the mentions by analyzing sentiment, an insightful metric that gauges how social feels about the car brands. Toyota only finds 19% of its mentions to be positive, which Honda tops with a 24% positivity score. Additionally, Toyota took a wrong turn with 16% of its overall mentions registering as negative, almost doubling Honda’s 9%. After diving into the mentions, we can attribute the higher negativity score to social’s intense reaction to Toyota’s recall announcement. In our social races, the winner is always determined by higher positive sentiment, so we’re giving this round to Honda.

Honda vs. Toyota - uberVU sentiment

Winner: Honda

Round Three: Conversation Mapping

In our final round, we take a look at each brand’s conversation map to inspect what topics are being associated with the competitors online. The year “2014” takes up most of the conversation for both brands, suggesting that people like to discuss the newest models in the automobile industry. This is further depicted with popular models like “Toyota Corolla,” “Toyota Camry,” and “Honda Civic” appearing, as well as the term “model” itself showing up on both maps.

Now that we’ve discovered how the maps are similar, let’s really weed out the winner by highlighting any differences. As discussed in the mentions round, Toyota’s April 9th announcement appears on its map with the term “recall” taking up 7% of overall mentions. Additionally, Toyota’s map also features competitive brands like “Ford,” and (gasp!) “Honda.”

Honda, on the other hand, does not see any reference to competitors on its map. It does, however, rank for references to its non-car products, like motorbikes, and celebrity endorsers through the terms “bike,” “Yamaha,” “Marc Marquez,” and “Marquez.” (Marc Marquez is a champion Spanish Grand Prix motorcycle road racer who is a part of Repsol Honda). Because Honda’s map is focused on its brand and products instead of the competition like Toyota’s, we’re rewarding the brand with reputable street cred, as well as the win in this round.

Toyota uberVU conversation map

Honda uberVU conversation map

Winner: Honda

Overall Winner: Honda

Honda wins this Social Media Face Off with an overall score of 3-0. Toyota put up a solid fight, but its recent recall announcement severely impacted its performance in social, leaving room for Honda to pass on by and cruise through to the finish line.

Want to see how your social stacks up against your biggest industry rival?
Get a custom Social Media Face Off report!

uberVU via HootSuite's Beginner's Guide to Social Media Metrics

Social media can be an incredibly important tool for your business. But it can also be overwhelming. You’re following what’s being said about your industry and brand, your team is trying to produce and share great content, you’re interacting with customers, finding prospects and you’re trying to make sense of it all. The biggest question you’re most likely trying to answer is if your work in social is helping you achieve real business results. To find out, you need to measure your efforts by tracking the right social media metrics.

Not sure where to start? In this blog series, we’ll break down the social metrics you should be tracking, describe how to measure them, and most importantly, explain how you can use them so you never miss out on important insights.

Today, we’ll kick things off with social’s building block metric: Mentions.


The first social metric you need to track is volume of mentions, which is the size of a conversation. Depending on your job role or function, you’ll want to track mentions for several different keywords such as your company, brand name, product or service, industry, the competition or a particular market term. This will give you a complete picture of the social conversations that matter most. Mentions are simply the number of times the term or phrase you’re tracking was used across social media, helping you understand just how much (or little) attention the subject is receiving in social.

How to Measure Mentions:

Mention volume is a simple (but tasking) counting metric. You can invest in a social media marketing platform that will automatically track the number of mentions for a specific search term for you. Or, you can count tweets, wall posts, etc.

How to Use Mentions:

Establish a Baseline

  • Track mentions in recurring time periods (daily, weekly, etc) to establish the typical volume.
  • Record benchmarks so you can accurately measure growth over time.

Take Action

  • Find the right windows to engage. Are there certain days or times when mentions increase?
    • Marketing should rearrange its content schedule to capture the attention of an active audience.
    • Customer service and sales should be online and ready to engage with clients or prospects.
  • React to spikes in mentions.
    • PR should investigate a spike in brand mentions as it could signal a positive brand story they should amplify or a negative one they’ll need to get ahead of to prevent a potential crisis.
    • A product team needs to understand the cause for a surge in market terms or features and evaluate how or if they need to react.
    • Marketing should prepare competitive positioning when top competitors see a surge in volume.
  • Use mentions to track if campaigns, product launches or other initiatives are gaining traction. Did mentions increase after launch? Are they remaining stagnant? Monitor mentions closely and consider making tweaks if you’re not seeing a reaction.

There you have it. Mentions: step one to measuring social media. Stay tuned tomorrow for our next Beginner’s Guide post, when we’ll break down Sentiment.

Track mentions and spikes in volume with uberVU via HootSuite.

From online shopping to check-ins at the local mall, the retail industry is a popular topic in social media. There are millions of conversations about retailers like Macy’s or Best Buy happening every day. In order to capitalize on the sheer amount of social buzz, these retail brands need to understand what’s resonating in regards to their brand, their competition and their industry.

An easy way for a brand like Macy’s to find what’s trending for its brand is to use word or text clouds, which are offered in some social media monitoring platforms—the uberVU via Hootsuite platform has conversation maps. These maps or clouds display the most-talked about topics in relation to a specific keyword or phrase, giving retail brands an inside look into the social conversations that are evolving around a brand, its stores or its competition in real time.

Our customers often use conversation maps to evaluate campaigns, but as we’ve shown with our deep dive into the automotive industry, they’re capable of so much more. To showcase the insights conversation maps can uncover, we reviewed brand-specific conversation maps for some of the top companies in the retail industry (American Eagle, Barneys, Bed Bath & Beyond, Best Buy, Bloomingdale’s, Home Depot, JCPenney, Kohl’s, Lord & Taylor, Lowes, Macy’s, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, Sears, Target, Walmart and Zara).


Everyone likes a good deal. And social buzz around retail brands proves people like sharing them as well. Special sales, discounts and promotions earn fast traction in social.

Bloomingdale's uberVU conversation mapEven high-end retail stores see a focus on savings in social. The recent Friends and Family Sale was a hot topic on the Bloomingdale’s conversation map with related phrases “Friends Family”, “code”, “Event” and “family” all appearing.

People like a good deal, but they love free stuff. Blog giveaways and contests are huge conversation drivers for the retail industry. Popular “mommy blogs” are constantly running contests for gift cards to big-box retailers like Target, Walmart and Kohl’s.

Kohl'ss uberVU conversation mapGiveaways dominate the Kohl’s map with “gift card”, “coupons” and “win” all appearing.

What this means for your brand:

  • Social responds to discounts. Consider incorporating recurring sales or discount offers into your social marketing strategy. This doesn’t mean you need to hold sales every day to gain attention. Instead, you could choose to focus on rewarding loyal followers or attracting new customers with special or limited offerings, like flash sales only available online a few times a year.
  • Aim for a well-rounded conversation. While discounts or special offers can achieve a quick surge of attention, you want to ensure your brand is making a lasting impression with its other initiatives. Use your conversation map to measure if your brand has a healthy overall conversation that doesn’t just focus on the sales you’re promoting.
  • Blog contests drive a lot of conversation for retail brands. Most of the giveaways featured on the above conversation maps came from blog giveaways. Tap into that exposure and try to partner with bloggers in new, unique ways that will benefit your brand on a long-term basis.


When it comes to the large, big-box retailers, employment is a popular topic with words like “job” and “work” consistently appearing. Since these larger brands are huge job sources, employment practices are often a cause of conversation as well as employment opportunities when new stores open.

Macy's uberVU conversation mapOn Macy’s map, “Retail Cosmetics”, “Retail Sales Associate” and “Manager” all refer to job openings being shared in social.

After reviewing conversation maps for several top brands, it became apparent that employment practices can at times earn more buzz for a retail brand than the store itself or the products it sells.

Walmart uberVU conversation mapStill reeling from a wage controversy, “work”, “pay”, “job” and “employees” all appear on Walmart’s conversation map. You can also see an influence of blog giveaways with “coupon” and “gift card” appearing.

What this means for your brand:

  • Your Human Resources team needs to be involved in social. These conversation maps show that when it comes to the retail industry, there is a lot of interest in employment opportunities. Make sure your HR team is not only ready to take advantage of the leads, but to respond to questions and add to the overall conversation regarding employment.
  • Loop in PR. Your publicity team should be kept up to date on reactions to your company in social so they can help weather a storm or amplify a positive story.

Partnerships and Sponsorships

Whether it’s lending the brand’s name to a TV program or backing a contest, sponsorships have proven to earn retail brands a lot of attention in social.

Lowe's uberVU conversation mapLowe’s sponsorship of NBC‘s new reality competition, American Dream Builders, is earning the brand major buzz in social, evident by several related phrases appearing on its map. Plus, as with other retail brands, there is also an influence of contests with “gift card”, “giveaway” and “win.”

Partnerships and collaborations can also create great buzz for retail brands. There’s a reason why brands like Kohl’s and Macy’s partner with celebrities to release product and clothing lines—they get a lot of attention!

Nordstrom uberVU conversation mapNordstrom creates social buzz by offering “Nordstrom Exclusives” like the Sarah Jessica Parker-designed SJP Collection, which are only available at the store and on its website.

What this means for your brand:

  • Get creative. Rather than just slapping its name on a TV show, Lowe’s is fully integrated into American Dream Builders, even producing ‘Never Stop Improving’ segments for the show’s website that give viewers a more in-depth look at the designers’ work. Investigate opportunities for partnerships like radio shows, blogs or podcasts that cover topics related to your brand. Offer up your expertise in exchange for exposure.
  • Measure your efforts. Use your conversation map to measure the effectiveness of your sponsorship or partnership over time. Use the research to inform decisions on future initiatives.

Get Mapping

Reviewing word clouds or conversation maps of several brands across your industry can offer key insights into your brand’s marketing efforts, your reputation, your standing in the industry and much more. When you know what generates the most buzz you’ll be able to get the right teams and departments involved and deliver what your target audience cares most about, whether that’s special savings, transparency on employment practices or new product and store initiatives.

Work for a car company or brand? Check out the insights we’ve found using conversation maps for the automotive industry.

Are you missing key insights into your brand or industry?
Get your own uberVU via HootSuite Conversation Map!

Best Western vs Holiday Inn - uberVU Social Media Face Off

Whether you’re cruising across state lines or spending that well-earned vacation in China, you can count on global hotel chains Best Western and Holiday Inn to be there. These two competitors have established themselves as international leaders in hospitality, but which one is earning the higher rating in social? We check in to social to find out in this week’s Social Media Face Off.

We set up search streams for each brand in the uberVU via HootSuite platform, making sure to include the brand names and Twitter handles (ie. @HolidayInn, “Holiday Inn”). We’ve compared the data from the past two weeks in order to determine our winner.

Let’s see which hotel brand is booking the win in social.

Round One: Mentions

Holiday Inn takes an impressive early lead with 28,098 mentions. This trumps Best Western’s 12,039 mentions, but the game’s not over yet. We’ve learned in the past that more mentions don’t always indicate a clear winner.

Best Western vs. Holiday Inn - uberVU mentions

Winner: Holiday Inn

Round Two: Sentiment

Let’s take a look at sentiment to understand how people really feel about the brands in social. Both hotel chains have low negativity scores (Best Western with 3% and Holiday Inn with 4%), which suggests a pretty positive perception for the industry online. Additionally, neutral scores of 60% for Best Western and 70% for Holiday Inn are fairly high, which is most likely due to people checking in on social media platforms when they’re checking in to the hotels.

Best Western pulls in a remarkable 37% positivity score that dominates Holiday Inn’s 25%. What’s at the root of all this social love? We took a look at the mentions and pulled a few of our favorite examples (see below). As always, higher positivity books the best suite, so we’re giving this round to Best Western.

Best Western vs. Holiday Inn - uberVU sentiment

Mention 2

Mention 3

Winner: Best Western

Round Three: Engagement

It’s the final round and the competition is fiercely close. Who’s going to win and who’s going to have to turn in their key card? In order to decide our winner, let’s compare how many times mentions for each hotel were Retweeted, Liked, and Shared on Twitter and Facebook.

Holiday Inn substantially pulls ahead of Best Western for each individual metric and takes the round, as well as the overall win.

Best Western vs. Holiday Inn - uberVU engagement

Winner: Holiday Inn

Overall Winner: Holiday Inn

Turns out the higher positivity score wasn’t enough for Best Western to beat out its competitor. Holiday Inn achieved more mentions and engagement, along with the well-deserved championship title in this week’s Social Media Face Off! Continental breakfast for everyone!

Want to see how your social stacks up against your biggest industry rival?
Get a custom Social Media Face Off report!

Social Media Face Off: Versace vs. Gucci

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Fashion comes in all shapes, sizes and price points. High-fashion brands like Gucci and Versace are hot topics of conversation and desire. While some are naturally drawn to the exclusivity of these luxury brands or admire them from afar on the runway, there’s no hiding behind the labels in social. In this week’s Social Media [...]

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Play Ball! Baseball’s Opening Day in Social

April 1, 2014

The beer is on ice, the grounds crews are hard at work and hot dogs and spring are in the air. That could only mean one thing—baseball season is here. Despite the fact there is no longer one official “opening day”—Major League Baseball’s first games were played two weeks ago in Australia—we were curious to [...]

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Mapping Social Conversations: Hot Topics in the Automotive Industry

March 21, 2014

The automotive industry is big business. Car brands spend millions of dollars each year on marketing efforts like sponsorships and commercial campaigns (some spots cost a million plus on their own—hello, Super Bowl). So how does Subaru or Mercedes-Benz know when a marketing effort is successful and those advertising dollars were well spent? A common [...]

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Social Media Face Off: Oreo vs. Chips Ahoy!

March 19, 2014

Warning: If you weren’t hungry before, you will be after reading this post. It’s snack time in this week’s Social Media Face Off. We’re putting two of the country’s most loved cookies, Oreo and Chips Ahoy!, head-to-head to find out which brand is leaving the longest trail of crumbs in social. While we can’t tell [...]

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Social Media Face Off: Macy’s vs. Sears

March 12, 2014

Often placed at opposite sides of your local mall, retail giants Macy’s and Sears have been going head-to-head for years. We could compare revenue numbers or stock prices to find out which department store brand comes out on top. But we’re much more interested in social’s bottom line, which is why we’ve put the brands [...]

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