Social Marketing Gets Redefined in the Era of AI
In an era where everyone is trying to get more done in less time, generative AI has become a valuable tool for social marketing professionals.
According to a new survey from Sprout Social, conducted by the digital insights firm Cint, 71% of social media marketers have already started using AI and machine learning tools, and 60% are researching more ways to take advantage of the technology.
Nearly half (49%) of social media marketers said they are already AI or ML training on certain tools, and of those that have not used AI for marketing purposes yet, 55% anticipate testing the technology within six months.
While the ways AI can be used for faster content creation and automating routine tasks are beneficial for increasing efficiency, it’s the more advanced strategies, like using AI algorithms to analyze campaign data, personalize content at scale, or even delve into customer behavior patterns, that could ultimately have the biggest impact on the martech industry as a whole.
“We know a high number of marketers — 71% — are already using AI and ML tools in their current workflow. The biggest surprise [in this survey] is that under half of those marketers are training their talent to use AI-powered tools,” says Mike Blight, senior market research and insights manager at Sprout Social. “These tools offer incredible opportunities for organizations to scale and strengthen their workflows and key strategies.”
Going All In
Because of the high speed of innovation around AI, Blight says it’s not enough to just “dabble in new products.” Instead, he believes marketers and agencies should commit to continued learning around AI and automation technologies to get the most out of their investments.
“There are plenty of AI and automation use-cases that have minimal learning curves for social media marketers: generating social media posts, creating blog content, repurposing long-form video into clips for various platforms, etcetera,” Blight says. “That said, more content and a more efficient process does not necessarily translate into the best outcomes for your customers. The temptation of automating everywhere possible can come at the expense of losing sight of the authenticity that first brought in your customers.”
Blight says brand marketers should be looking at AI as a way to elevate connection and creativity, by implementing it thoughtfully across workflows and using the time saved to focus on developing and executing more meaningful engagement strategies.
Sprout Social’s survey results show that 82% of marketers who’ve used AI have already seen positive results. Nearly half (49%) saw higher accuracy in content targeting and 47% were able to develop a faster content curation process.
Alleviating Tedious Tasks
Although the prospect of greater speed and efficiency are by far the most common reasons why social media marketers start using AI, it’s likely that the perceived benefits will change in time, as awareness over some of the most advanced capabilities continues to grow.
In a separate survey conducted earlier this year, Sprout Social talked to marketers about the biggest factors leading to their burnout. The top answers were lack of time or bandwidth and a lack of resources. Based on those insights, Blight feels strongly that the “best” use of AI is identifying how to creatively utilize AI to alleviate tedious tasks and allocate time and energy into the most impactful work.
“AI and automation further cements social’s ability to make a meaningful difference across entire organizations. The advancements in AI help organizations extract more actionable insights from social, at scale — resulting in better informed data-driven strategies that move the needle and drive business impact,” Blight says. “Organizations need to invest important resources — namely time and tools — to ensure they are able to fully implement AI-powered solutions. Planning for the future starts with intentional planning today.”