What Is Artificial Intelligence for Social Media?
Artificial intelligence holds the potential to transform how brands create and manage social media marketing.
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, 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.
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.
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 even know 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.
Fundamentally, AI-powered marketing tools are prediction machines. And their predictive abilities 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, AI is being used in many commercially available social media 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. Traditional marketing automation tools help with this, by streamlining social media scheduling and monitoring. But AI tools take it further.
Tools exist to completely 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, AI is able—today—to handle certain types of social media creation and management in minutes.
A number of AI-powered tools exist to deliver insights from your brand’s social media profiles and audience. This often involves using the power of AI to analyze social media post at scale, understand what’s being said in them, then extracting insights based on that information.
That data, properly applied, allows AI social media tools to help you track your global brand equity, find emerging consumer trends, find new audiences to target, keep tabs on brand reputation, and identify promising new avenues for social media promotion.
Social Media Advertising
Many social networks give 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.
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. 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 are two ways to accelerate AI adoption in your career and your company.
The first is by accessing our free Ultimate Beginner's Guide to AI in Marketing.
The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to AI in Marketing is a free resource with 100+ articles, videos, courses, books, vendors, use cases, and events to dramatically accelerate your AI education. It's based on the years we spent on research and experimentation—and you can access this knowledge in a fraction of the time.
The second is by attending our Marketing AI Conference (MAICON).
MAICON brings together top authors, entrepreneurs, AI researchers, and executives to share case studies, strategies, and technologies that make AI approachable and actionable for marketers.
Last year's event brought together 300+ marketers, including attendees from 12 countries and 28 states. The conference is simply the best way to learn how to adopt AI, straight from marketing leaders already using the technology.
About Mike Kaput
Mike Kaput is the Director of 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.