What Is Artificial Intelligence for Social Media?
Artificial intelligence holds the potential to transform how brands market across networks like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. It can automate many tedious tasks related to social media management. And it can even do social media monitoring at scale.
That might be why the "AI for social media" market is projected to grow from $633 million in 2018 to more than $2.1 billion by 2023, according to estimates from Markets and Markets.
But what actually is artificial intelligence?
How can it actually impact your social media marketing and analytics?
And, most importantly, how do you actually get started using AI for social media?
This article is here to help.
At Marketing AI Institute, we've spent years helping marketers understand and apply artificial intelligence, so they can increase revenue and reduce costs at their companies. And social media is one of the main areas where marketers can both skyrocket performance and efficiencies by using AI, getting more value and engagement out of every online conversation that happens on social media channels.
In this post, we'll demystify artificial intelligence, then show you how exactly it can be used in your social media marketing.
What Is Artificial Intelligence?
Ask 10 different experts what artificial intelligence is, and you'll get 10 different answers. But one definition we like comes from Demis Hassabis, CEO of DeepMind, an AI startup acquired by Google.
Hassabis calls AI the "science of making machines smart."
Basically, we can teach machines to be like humans. We can give them the ability to see, hear, speak, move, and write.
You use AI every day, no matter where you work or what you do.
Your smartphone has dozens of native capabilities powered by AI, such as voice assistants and real-time navigation.
Your favorite services, like Amazon and Netflix, use AI to offer product recommendations.
And email clients like Gmail even use AI to automatically write parts of emails for you.
Many of AI's most impressive capabilities are powered by machine learning, a subset of AI that enables machine systems to make accurate predictions based on large sets of data. The smartest AI tools then actually improve the accuracy of their predictions over time using machine learning and deep learning, an advanced type of machine learning.
It's this last part that makes AI and machine learning different from traditional software or technology platforms. Your typical non-AI software is coded by humans, then follows the instructions humans have given it. These systems only get better when humans manually make them better.
AI tools, on the other hand, can improve on their own, based on both their own historical performance and new data given to the system-unlocking potentially unlimited performance gains.
That means every piece of marketing software you use today, from ad buying to analytics to automation to content strategy to social, can be made more intelligent using AI and machine learning.
These tools can then be trained to leverage individual behaviors, preferences, beliefs, and interests to personalize experiences. They can understand where you've been, where you're going, what you've written in emails, what you've asked your voice assistants, what groups you belong to, what stores you shop at, and more.
All of this data becomes fuel for artificially intelligent systems, which use this information to make increasingly relevant and accurate predictions about everything from what product you want to buy next to which ad campaign to run to which content topics to cover on your blog.
And it gives AI tools some amazing capabilities that traditional technology just doesn't have. AI can read and write using natural language generation and natural language processing. It can detect and mimic tone of voice using sentiment analysis. It can detect images, video, and faces using image recognition and computer vision capabilities. AI can even predict performance and recommend actions.
These capabilities can be used to give your social media marketing superpowers.
How Is AI Used in Social Media?
AI is a key component of the popular social networks you use every single day.
Facebook uses advanced machine learning to do everything from serve you content to recognize your face in photos to target users with advertising. Instagram (owned by Facebook) uses AI to identify visuals.
LinkedIn uses AI to offer job recommendations, suggest people you might like to connect with, and serving you specific posts in your feed.
Snapchat leverages the power of computer vision, an AI technology, to track your features and overlay filters that move with your face in real-time.
These are just a few examples of how AI works behind the scenes to power features of the world's most popular social networks. And, across all social media platforms, AI and machine learning are regulating how the content you create and the ads you buy are placed in front of users-often in ways that aren't entirely transparent to marketers.
This is all to say that AI is a fundamental part of how today's social networks function. But, AI often operates behind the scenes of popular platforms, and entirely at the discretion of the company that owns the platform.
However, that doesn't mean marketers can't leverage AI for social media. In fact, there are many commercially available artificial intelligence social media monitoring and marketing tools across a number of use cases.
Here are a few of the top ways social media marketers can start using AI, machine learning, and intelligent automation technologies.
Social Creation and Management
Marketers spend a ton of time creating content for social media distribution, then managing distribution and engagement across channels. A traditional social media management tool helps with this, by streamlining social media scheduling and monitoring. But AI tools take it further.
Tools exist to auto-generate social media content across channels, going so far as to automatically include hashtags and shortened links. Tools also exist to auto-schedule these shares in bulk. Overall, an AI tool is able-today-to handle certain types of social media creation and management in minutes.
Social Media Intelligence and Social Media Listening
An AI-powered social monitoring tool or social listening tool can deliver insights from your brand's social media profiles and audience. This often involves using the power of AI to analyze social data at scale, understand what's being said in them, then extracting insights based on that information.
That data, properly applied, allows AI social media monitoring tools to help you track your global brand mentions, find emerging consumer trends, find new audiences to target, keep tabs on brand reputation, monitor every social mention, and identify promising new avenues for social media promotion.
These actionable insights are delivered in near real-time, giving brands a leg up against the competition.
Social Media Advertising
Almost any social media platform gives marketers an unprecedented ability to run paid ads to platform users based on highly granular demographic and behavioral targeting. But marketers still need to write or create ad creative...or do they?
Artificial intelligence tools exist today that will actually write Facebook and Instagram ads for you. The ads are optimized for clicks and conversions, thanks to AI's ability to predict at scale which language will improve results.
Find the Right Influencer
Finding the right influencer can put a brand on the map. But how do you do so efficiently? AI can lend a hand.
AI-powered influencer research platforms analyze a variety of social media analytics to understand which accounts can provide the most engagement, reach, and influence for a specific industry.
How to Get Started with AI for Social Media
If you're a social media marketer, chances are that AI can help you increase revenue and reduce costs across different social channels. That means now is the time to get started with AI, no matter your skill or comfort level.
To do so means you build a potentially insurmountable competitive advantage. To delay means you risk getting left behind.
Good news, though:
There's a big way to accelerate AI adoption in your marketing, your career, and your company:
Access our free Ultimate Beginner's Guide to AI in Marketing .
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About Mike Kaput
Mike Kaput is Chief Content Officer at Marketing AI Institute and a senior consultant at PR 20/20. He writes and speaks about how marketers can understand, adopt, and pilot artificial intelligence to increase revenue and reduce costs. Full bio.