"Wow. Thank goodness for machine learning. That task was so easy."
Have you, as a marketer, ever had this thought?
We're betting the majority have not.
How about as a consumer? Believe it or not, machine learning is already at work in your life in a number of ways.
The new show you started (and binged) on Netflix because it was at the top of your recommendations list.
The time you saved avoiding a traffic jam thanks to Google Maps redirecting you.
The goodies that show up at your front door in Prime boxes because Amazon knows exactly what you need when you need it.
Machine learning is a subset of artificial intelligence that makes predictions about future outcomes based on historical data and gets smarter as new data becomes available.
In turn, our lives as consumers become more personalized and convenient.
The same thing is happening in marketing.
AI marketing is enabling brands to personalize at scale, transforming the buying process for customers and leaving competitors in the dust.
For a social media marketing team, this means using AI for informed decisions about what to write in posts, when to publish them, how much to spend sponsoring them, which colors and images to use, and more.
Our founder and CEO, Paul Roetzer, sat down with Social Media Examiner's Michael Stelzner to break down what AI is, the impact it's going to have in marketing (hint: It's in the trillions of dollars range), and how marketers can start harnessing their competitive advantage today.
We've pulled out the top ways to use AI in social media, along with AI-powered tools to help social media marketers, content marketing pros, and digital marketing specialists unlock the power of AI marketing.
Each AI tool recommended here comes with a link to the vendor's website or a spotlight that we've done on the solution.
1. CRM Platforms
“Start with the tech you already have,” Roetzer recommends.
Chances are, the CRM and automation platform you’re using already have AI-powered features built-in or the option to directly integrate AI-powered tools.
Schedule a call with your rep to ask about turning those features on. Some may require an upgraded package, but you’ll never know if you don’t ask.
Many companies have chatbots set up on their website as customer service and sales tools. However, just because it has “bot” in the name does not mean it uses artificial intelligence.
Chatbots that aren’t using AI require marketers to do most of the heavy lifting, which can be very overwhelming. Roetzer describes it as “setting up an email workflow for 100,000 people.”
Instead, look for chatbots that have AI baked in and can think through all those branching rules for you. This means asking vendors how exactly they’re using AI and machine learning.
When it comes to monitoring reviews online, Yext gets five stars.
Digital knowledge management company Yext processes vast amounts of data (i.e. customer reviews left on Facebook, Google, Yelp, etc.), understands what's being said within it, and then prioritizes what you should respond to.
This way, you can manage your online reputation through monitoring, analyzing, and responding to customer reviews.
Every email you send is a chance to have a one-to-one conversation with your subscribers. Sending personalized emails to millions of contacts is a marketer’s dream.
rasa.io is making that dream a reality with personalized, automated newsletters. Using AI, the system pays attention to what content you engage with the most, then adapts which stories are included in the next email you receive.
Combine that with send-time optimization and now you’re giving your customers exactly what they’re looking for.
Social media ad spending shouldn’t be guesswork.
Marketing software Pattern89 uses machine learning to optimize bid, budget, and channel management for your Facebook, Instagram, and Google ads—at scale.
You can think of this tool as your social media assistant. It makes creative and spending recommendations to help you reduce costs and increase revenue.
Social media marketers know the best way to engage with followers is to create authentic relationships. This can be a bit challenging online.
Enter: Persado. This marketing language tool uses AI and machine learning to produce language that resonates most with any given audience, segment, or individual.
It creates emotional profiles for every customer segment by analyzing past campaign responses. From there, it can customize content for your audience while incorporating your brand’s unique voice.
Another AI-powered language tool social media marketers should be aware of is Phrasee.
This tool optimizes email subject lines to get brands more opens, clicks, and conversions.
Apply that experience to your social media campaigns and your Facebook and Instagram ads will be earning more engagement and conversions in no time.
Stay tuned for more on The Marketing AI Podcast by signing up here.
Get Started with AI Marketing and AI Marketing Tools
The tools above should give you a head start using an AI solution for social media.
But no matter what type of marketing you do—or what type of social media use cases you have—we have some additional advice that you can apply to almost any area of AI marketing.
1. Write down the tasks you do every day.
You probably run plenty of marketing campaigns in a given week, month, or quarter.
Write down all the tasks you do to execute those campaigns, no matter how small.
There's a very good chance AI capabilities can help you do these tasks in a smarter way.
This list doesn't have to be fancy...and it doesn't have to take you more than a few minutes.
Just catalog which tasks you do for a given campaign across all marketing channels.
2. Ask these questions about your list.
Run down your basic list of activities. For each one, ask yourself the following questions:
- Is it repetitive? Do you do the task often? A good example in social media is scheduling social shares. No matter what social campaign you're running, you very likely schedule social shares in advance or in real-time-and you likely do it constantly.
- Is it data-driven? By this we mean: Does the task use data to produce an outcome? In social media marketing, you may do regular reporting on campaigns. This is a task that uses data to produce an outcome. You look at performance, then identify which posts work best across channels.
- Does it make a prediction? Does the task involve making some judgment about a future outcome? This is often a task for a human social media specialist. Think about the previous example: You determine which posts work best across channels. Then, you make a prediction about what posts will work well in the future. This is an example of what we're talking about.
For each task on your list, see if it fits one or more of these criteria. If it does, put a checkmark next to it. If a task is repetitive, data-driven, and/or predictive, there's a good chance an artificial intelligence marketing tool can do it as well as—or better—than humans.
3. Research potential use cases.
On your list, any activity that now has a checkmark is a viable use case for AI technology.
It's important to get started testing AI applications quickly. Often, the best (and fastest) way to get beyond the hype and discover the true capabilities of an AI system is by demoing a tool and asking the vendor questions.
Your initial research may be as simple as Googling use cases, like "AI for social listening."
You should also check if your existing marketing automation platform uses AI for your particular use case. Often, marketing automation platforms are baking AI into their existing products.
This type of research will give you a shortlist of vendors. From there, you can begin to evaluate how smarter AI-powered technology fits into your overall marketing efforts and marketing strategy.
There's no doubt this process can take time. But, with the right use case, it's worth it—because AI can unlock social media performance and capabilities previously impossible.
Ashley Sams is director of marketing at Ready North. She joined the agency in 2017 with a background in marketing, specifically for higher education and social media. Ashley is a 2015 graduate of The University of Mount Union where she earned a degree in marketing.