Most of the digital marketing methods including content marketing is largely being impacted by Artificial Intelligence related technologies nowadays. Social media is among the most prominent digital marketing tools that are being benefited by new AI innovations since the high monetary gains and ROI when it comes to social media marketing. With more and more users getting into social media every passing day, the overall potential of that method is only getting higher. It is predicted that the marketing investments on social media and marketing will grow by 300% in the coming years.
Digital Marketers will definitely have to use a combination of AI-powered social media marketing techniques in order to gain success in the future. However, with so many tools and options that claim AI and social media boosts coming into the market every day, it is natural to have a healthy skepticism when it comes to using them. That is what this guide is for! It will take you through the basics of social media marketing, currently available techniques and solutions, choosing and applying innovating new technologies and also how Artificial Intelligence apply to all.
What really is AI?
There are many definitions of what Artificial Intelligence is. One of the clearest explanations is it is the theory of developing computer systems that have the ability to perform things that usually require human intelligence levels. These include recognition of speech, perceiving visual things, making decisions, making translations between different languages and more. As scary as it sounds, it is simply about replicated human intelligence into machines. AI is not one single technology, but more of an amalgamation of several advanced technologies working together.
Following are some of the terms often used when speaking of AI and Digital marketing.
- • Computer Vision – The ability given to the computer system to recognize visual things
- • Natural Language Processing – The ability of a computer system to understand and respond to natural language similar to a human
- • Neural Networks – Computer systems modeled after the way the human brain works and thinks
- • Machine Learning – The ability given to a computer system to adapt, evolved and learn from what they experience without having to be programmed by a human
Artificial Intelligence is a mix of all these technologies often working simultaneously together. It uses Big Data or extremely large data sets in order to process and perform in speed and a scale that is virtually not possible for humans. When it comes to using AI in digital marketing, it is important to fully understand the scale and the scope which it is used in order to enhance or accelerate the digital marketing processes. In Social media marketing, AIs are commonly used when it comes to content creation, deployment and also creating long term strategies.
Creating a good strategy
Every marketing strategy, including digital spheres like social media, starts with the right understanding of one’s audience. With that comes the knowledge exactly what kind of content works well for them, and also what kind of strategies that competitors are using to attract the audience. AI tools can be effectively used for understanding audience due to their ability to swiftly analyze and process user behavior. They can be used to track and examine target audiences, competitors and also the positioning of content. With the use of AI, your marketing strategies will always come from a place of information and knowledge rather than experimenting and guesswork.
Listening to the community
The technical term for the activity of using Big Data tools and AI in order to listen to the comments and conversations had in public platforms is called “Social listening”. It is different from the term “social monitoring” in several ways. Monitoring is all about keeping an eye on what people are saying about your company or brand. Listening is a broader aspect of tracking larger conversations in specific audiences or new markets which are to be targeted for marketing efforts in the future. These help you interact with these audiences in real time while participating in their organic conversations rather than forcing them to interact with whatever the marketing material that you put out.
Some of the most widely used social listening tools are Sprout and Mention, which helps companies track and get insights within selected audiences. Cortex is a more advanced tool helping you to take these insights and make better content recommendations. What they do is give you actionable data by closely tracking influencers, competitors or communities of your choice, so you can refine the messages that you put out there according to social conversations that are happening.
Studying your competitors
When observing the many areas that AI has penetrated into in the digital marketing industry, competitor analysis is perhaps the most successful, commonly used and widely improved area. This is due to the constantly changing large datasets that have to be analyzed accurately to get needed information on time. Doing this manually is extremely time-consuming and not as accurate due to human error and subjectivity. Using AI, it is as easy as running the same kinds of insights that you get for your own social media pages in your competitor’s pages as well. You can compare and contrast this information side by side, and work on the best kinds of strategies by eliminating what does not work and even adopting the strategies by your competitors that actually do work.
Netbase is a software that helps competitor analysis extremely easy. You can track performance according to keywords, content type and also varieties such as colors and visual objects.
Choosing what to post in your social media has been made quite easier with the use of AI as discussed before. Now that you know your audience, your competitors, and what works or not; you should be focusing on properly optimizing the content what you decided to have the best chance of reaching the biggest number of your target audience. Social media is a predominantly visual platform that craves visual images with just the right amount of text. However, this content should ideally be optimized properly to the location or the community that you are specifically targeting in order to reap the best benefits.
For an example, a study in the Utah area has shown that people reacted more positively (53%) to images of Fir trees when compared to the 30% rate that family pictures go which are often used as a way to attract family-oriented users. These kind of observations are difficult to be made by simply human observations. That is why AI is important for optimizing content.
When AI saves a significant amount of time for digital marketers with competitor analysis, creating strategies and more, they naturally get more time and freedom to focus well on creating good content. Content Marketing requires a consistent flow of good content, which is not always easy especially for startups and small businesses who do not have the kind of human resources needed in order to do that. It is true that the content generated with AI will not win Pulitzer prizes anytime soon, but there are advanced tools that have the capability of producing readable content especially when it comes to business and technical writing.
Some of the most innovative ways digital marketers have used AI technologies for content automation include chat-bots and virtual assistant tools. This takes away the waiting times for users who want to get some generic information from a company. Plenty of social media pages and e-commerce websites help users by using chat-bots which has the ability to match accurate answers to a large number of frequently asked questions by users. Facebook Messenger uses chat-bots as a fun and engaging way to reach customers, taking away the need to dedicate someone to constantly be available to reply to customer questions.
Quill by Forbes and Wordsmith are two of the most effectively used content automation tools available currently.
Help with creating content
While automating content saves a lot of time for businesses, there are certain kinds of content that simply cannot be automated. These need someone actually doing manual research and writing down the content in a coherent and intelligent manner which requires a definite human touch. Even for those situations, there are AI-based tools out there which assist you in making the writing process faster and more convenient.
- • Finding visually appealing pictures for the posts
- • To predict the engagement rates for the posts and the likelihood of the audience taking action after reading the content
- • Keyword recommendations
- • Content recommendations
Execution of Complete Marketing Strategy
All the above tools and methods we discussed are related to forming a social media strategy with the use of AI-based technology. However, the results of everything involved in any kind of marketing strategy depend on its execution. You know to know the right time and the right channel to get your message out there. If you fail on the execution level, all your hard work and the time you saved by using AI tools go to waste.
Rate of recurrence
It is important that you are careful with not only what you post, but also how often you post. There are many debates around how often you post in what media channels, but at the end of the day, it all depends on your target audience and the nature of your business. The only way you can be certain about the effective rate of recurrence when posting on social media is by analyzing your data. AI-based analysis tools such as Marketo and Cortex are able to do this for you and tell you exactly how frequently you should post to each social media channel.
Optimizing your promotions
Now that you know what to post and when to post them, the final decision is how much should you allocate from your promotional budget to actively promote your social media posts. This is a place where many digital marketers go wrong. Too many of them divide their budget evenly with every single post or only put their entire budget to one or two posts. Both of these approaches do not give you the best ROI. You can use AI tools to study the performance of your boosted posts and tell you exactly how much you should use to promote different kinds of posts depending on their content, the audience and also the competition. Apart from the classic Cortex tool, there are other popular tools out there that successfully perform this task including Smart Insights and Data Gran. As digital marketers, you do not need to fully base your entire social media strategy on AI just yet. It is all about combining these technologies to your tried and tested methods in order to get you the best return on your marketing investment.