Social Media Marketing and AI: How They Work Together

Illustrator: Adan Augusto
social media marketing ai

Social media marketing was a game-changer in advertising.

Then came AI.

Artificial Intelligence collects data, interprets it, and develops precise insights to benefit your campaign. AI can also write and plan content, automate tasks, handle customer queries, and strengthen relationships with your employees.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Infusing your social media marketing campaign with AI can bring fantastic results. This guide discusses the benefits you can expect and how to leverage artificial intelligence, showcasing examples of how other brands are faring in this soon-to-be AI-dominated world.

Let’s dive in!

Advantages of Using AI in Social Media Marketing

Advertising has evolved dramatically in the past few decades. Ever since the Mad Men-depicted era of unharnessed creativity, ad people understood one thing: Accurate planning can make or break that creativity. And it also helps to get your message to a captive target.

AI can help with the first issue and social media with the second.

Streamlined User Experience

Conversational marketing is the next big step in getting the desired results, and this method, if you’re not using a no-code tool, relies heavily on AI. 

In a real-life interaction between friends–even one that takes place on social media–people respond immediately. That’s what keeps the conversation going.

Conversely, a delayed response from your company to a client’s query may lead to loss of interest plus an even more significant loss of connection. This delay underlines the dominant business side of your relationship with your customers.

That’s a problem.

The solution is using AI to respond promptly and quickly to your potential customers. The right AI tools will also personalize your interactions and humanize your replies. Thus, you can shift your relationship from the professional to the personal realm.

Besides, AI can help you with customer support at all stages of your marketing funnel, such as:

  • Gathering data to help support agents;
  • Social media temp checks;
  • Direct customer engagement;
  • Predicting the main issues of using your products/services;
  • Sending targeted promotional messages.

Insights and Predicting Future Purchases

AI software will help you keep track and analyze your conversational social media campaigns very accurately. That means you’ll know how your audience responds to your messages.

Even more importantly, you’ll know why your audience responds in a particular way.

For instance, some campaigns become viral quickly and bring you new customers, but they create little engagement. Other times, the reverse happens.

Even if you get the expected results, you shouldn’t be satisfied unless you know precisely what worked.

Sometimes, campaigns function because of circumstances and events outside of your control. Thus, using the same strategies another time is a mistake.

You need insights to make predictions.

Predicting future purchases will help you adjust your business investments, rethink your strategy, address new markets, and ultimately increase your ROI.

That’s why studies show using AI in your social media strategy will increase the number of customers and customer bases. After all, good service plus reliable planning will constantly hone in more happy clients.

Lower Marketing Costs

Red Balloon used AI to automate its digital advertising campaigns a few years ago. The results speak for themselves:

  • The customer acquisition price dropped by 25%.
  • The total cross-channel costs decreased by 40%.
  • The conversion rate from Facebook activities grew by 751%.
  • The Facebook ROAS was 3434%.

At the time of the campaign, Red Balloon was in a rut. Everyone knew the brand, but few people would purchase from it. Besides, Red Balloon had difficulty connecting emotionally to its audience.

Another problem was that Red Balloon couldn’t attract new markets. Thus, it addressed only its old, loyal customers through the same campaigns.

AI helped Red Ballon change that. The software they used:

  • Learned that Red Balloon’s assumptions abouttheir potential customers and campaigns were false.
  • Pointed to the correct insights into the customers’ minds.
  • Crafted the right messages according to these insights by testing different options quickly and at a large scale.
  • Analyzed and corrected the strategy based on how the customers reacted to these messages.
  • Leveraged the top and middle parts of Red Balloon’s sales funnel to increase consideration to their entire social media audience.

AI also benefited Harley Davidson in 2017 because it:

  • Analyzed the existing pool of loyal customers.
  • Applied the same characteristics to find lookalikes.
  • Created micro-audiences to run test campaigns and figure out what worked.
  • Scaled these campaigns to get new leads with a high probability of converting.

Thus, AI saved Harley Davidson the money it would have spent on poor marketing.

Better Planning

Artificial intelligence is all about good planning.

AI can evaluate what’s working and what isn’t. As a result, it can create more opportunities and address the buying target. Besides, artificial intelligence will only allocate resources to proven strategies. That means your system will analyze mountains of data to find the right insights and then will leverage these insights to your advantage.

Take buyer personas, for example.

These personas are created based on past customer decisions, but they’re also grounded in your marketers’ personal experiences and intuition. That guesswork isn’t awe-inspiring in today’s landscape because it can backfire in many cases.

The AI solution to this problem is finding real customers instead of conceptualizing imaginary models. Real customers with actual behaviors consistent with specific results have more chances of generating new sales. And that’s how you can increase your ROI at a fraction of the budget.

Remember that AI tools can:

  • Process millions of keywords and interactions per minute;
  • Test innumerable messages and their variations;
  • Predict results accurately;
  • Determine precise resource allocation for the best results.

More Profit

Customization, more accurate insights, better planning, and lower marketing costs are the cornerstones of your increased profit. But there’s more than that because AI will ultimately change the entire business landscape.

You should keep up with this evolution to flourish your business. Otherwise, you will lose a lot of money to your competitors.

Here’s one example:

Davenport et al. point out that sometime in the future, shipping will precede shopping. The reason is that AI is extremely good at predicting and can anticipate purchases even before they’re made.

Predicting product demand isn’t a new idea. Studies showed years ago that AI could predict purchases and product demand based on:

  • Real-time feedback from social media;
  • Online reviews;
  • Online marketing.

Thus, your company will suffer a significant loss if you’re not using AI, but your competition is. Like always, hopping on the train among the first ensures you get first-class tickets.

How to Leverage AI in Your Social Media Marketing Campaign

Now that we’ve seen how AI can benefit your business, let’s revise the tangible ways you can leverage AI in your social media campaign.

Handle Content Creation, Strategy, and Distribution

You can use AI to create optimized content and to distribute it on social media because AI:

  • Recognizes the current context (e.g., what’s trending on different platforms);
  • Helps create fresh content based on the context and other information you input;
  • Knows what works for your audience and when you should post.

Many content marketing platforms can help you research keywords, find fresh content ideas, and figure out top-performing messages. Thus, you can increase engagement and reactions to generate more sales.

Besides, AI content tools employ specific features that you can use to customize your audience. For example, you can use demographic and psychographic variables to generate ideas and create social media content.

Companies including P&G and Unilever use intelligence tools for their visual content. This software:

  • Analyzes the current trends on social media;
  • Analyzes images based on colors, theme, texture, and composition;
  • Uses insights to identify the pictures that will attract and motivate the brands’ audiences.

You can also rely on top-performing AI tools to automate content distribution. Like we said before, timing is critical in marketing. AI can help you test different times and schedules to identify the best response from your audience. Therefore, you can leverage social media publishing tools to arrange scheduled posts.

Optimize Paid Advertising

Research shows that predictive analysis increases organic revenue by 21%/year. Without it, the average revenue increases by 12%/year.

Starbucks has been taking advantage of this method since 2016.

The company gathers customer data (e.g., time, date, place) and analyzes it to personalize its messages. That’s how the brand optimizes its paid advertising. Thus, potential customers get:

  • Specific recommendations based on their interests when nearing a local Starbucks;
  • Customized offers that feel impossible to refuse.

Analyze Your Competitors

You must position your brand uniquely and unequivocally in your customers’ minds. But you can’t do that without knowing precisely — not intuiting — what your competitors are doing.

Remember that you can’t be unique without leveraging the context.

So, you can use AI for insights, data analysis, predictions, and resource allocations to build your identity. Also, AI will help you communicate that identity to your audience through efficient messages that outline your shared values. AI also helps create and test messages that speak volumes to different markets.

Take the example of Tomorrow Sleep. This mattress startup has been using AI to stand ahead of its competitors — reputable mattress companies that neatly shaped their organic search market. But Tomorrow Sleep didn’t have the resources and the time to create the same content volume. So, they had to identify and utilize essential intent-driven terms.

Tomorrow Sleep’s AI system researched the existing content from the brand’s competitors to find the gaps and opportunities. That’s how this startup wrote the actual content that their audience needed and established themselves as experts.

As a result, Tomorrow Sleep:

  • Outranked its competitors for key topics;
  • Increased its organic traffic from 4,000/month to 400,000/month.

Analyze Your Audience

AI helps collect mountains of data about your customers 24/7. You’ll know what they like and what they don’t, where they’re active, the types of products they’re buying, and so forth.

Next, AI interprets this data to:

  • Position your brand as an expert;
  • Create engagement, connection, and brand loyalty;
  • Generate sales leads that convert;
  • Predict future purchases/behaviors.

For instance, Alibaba’s FashionAI store in Hong Kong uses intelligent tags that relay when customers have touched a specific item. Also, the store has smart mirrors that gather other helpful info on consumer behavior.

eBay has also been leveraging AI to optimize its email marketing campaigns. Their secret is testing CTAs thoroughly to see which one works best. Besides, their AI also uses NLP and deep learning, which helps eBay create personalized copy with just one click. This strategy brought the brand an increase of 16% in open-rate and 31% in click rate.

The two examples above aren’t social media-related. However, they’re ingenious and point to one thing — you can use AI to understand your audience better. Analyzing people’s behavior will give you accurate insights into what they need.

Your AI platform can tell you which Instagram reels or Facebook posts your audience hovers. Which stories people watch again and again, even without sharing them. Alternatively, you can use the same intelligent “tags” in physical stores to see which products people like the most. Next, you can post messages regarding those products on your social media.

Leverage Influencers

No matter what industry your company is a part of, influencers are shown to increase sales because they’re more trustworthy than traditional advertising.

However, you need the right content creators for the job. Plus, these people need to disseminate the right messages at the right time. That’s where AI comes in.

You can use artificial intelligence to optimize your relationship with your influencers from start to finish. A reliable engagement rate calculator will help you identify influencers that fit your brand like a glove. Next, the right software can help you create and test different messages for each influencer’s audience.

You also need AI to monitor and evaluate your influencers’ performance, whether you’re using promotional codes or not. Then, specific AI platforms help you nurture the relationship with your content creators, by using tools like rewards, gamification, and direct messages to help you connect with them. 

Customize Your Social Interactions with Chatbots

AI-based chatbots are specialized tools that help you interact with your customers at any time of day. They respond promptly and keep the conversation going with potential customers. 

Using the latest tech for your chatbots is essential, though. Your potential customers need personalized interactions. They need to be able to ask unique questions, and your chatbot should:

  • Identify problems based on specific keywords;
  • Find and propose solutions, including directing customers to particular teams.

For that, your chatbot needs language processing, data analysis, and deep learning.

Sephora has been using chatbots for years. Their pioneering Kik chatbot in 2017 used a quiz to identify the visitors’ preferences and to increase engagement.

Sephora’s chatbots continue to be successful today. For example, their Facebook Virtual Artist chatbot offers tips and tutorials, asks questions, and makes suggestions using natural-sounding language (including emojis). The chatbot also redirects people to Sephora’s site or the app for purchases.

Embrace AI to Strengthen Your Brand

AI is already changing how people interact with brands and behave within marketing campaigns. AI has transformed the business landscape, the brand’s relationships with (potential) customers, and how you do business.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Clinically-precise strategies render effective results. Now that your campaigns are more calculated, your relationship with your audience can become more human.

Narrow down on your goals and decide what your company needs. Then, find an AI solution that helps implement that vision —  there’s plenty to choose from!