How to transform social media using AI

Farhad Divecha explains the links between artificial intelligence and video and how businesses can harness these tactics to transform social media campaigns and further enhance social influence

As the use of artificial intelligence (AI) proliferates, it is becoming integral to how we work, and the way we socialise online. The journey of AI has progressed from being a mere buzzword and description for a ‘cool’ and space-age digital assistant like Siri and Cortana, to now underlying aspects of daily life we cannot live without. From children’s toys to home appliances for consumers, and improving CRM systems and the way a business communicates with its customers on social media in the B2B space, AI has seeped into every element of new-age living and business interaction.

Research shows almost two-thirds of businesses that have an innovation strategy are already using AI to identify opportunities in data that would otherwise be missed. What does this mean for B2B marketers and how can businesses and brands use AI to transform their social campaigns? 

Before we look at how businesses can transform through AI, we must first identify how it is already being used, and more specifically how it is put into practice in the B2B market. One of the most common ways in which AI is used is through data collection. Everything we do online, be it browse a pair of trainers on a particular website or ’like’ a social media post on another, is stored as a digital interaction and used to personalise our online journeys moving forwards. Due to this, no user’s online journey is the same.

AI uses these digital touchpoints to tailor an online experience to our preferences and to recommend things we may be interested in. A typical example is when using search engines. By merely typing in a word and clicking on a website, Google, Bing, and other search engines will use what you’ve searched to assess your next move online. They will then use your previous search history to find matches that meet your needs - this is now done so well that companies are finding it increasingly difficult to place their own products and services at the top of search results without investing in advertising spend or a market-leading SEO strategy.

There are many parallels here to social media too

Social listening is probably the most commonly used method of data gathering. Continuously learning, social listening AI tools will search the web, looking for anything and everything remotely associated to the product, service or brand your business deals in. Some tools even go as far as generating tailored content for your own audience, recommending what type of content (such as an image or video) should be used across different platforms, who to target and when to post this.

Brands can now create algorithms to individually tailor their social feeds to better suit their customers. This is now a common practice and in fact, Gartner predicts that around 20% of business content is now created by machines. Not only does this prevent potential customers being spammed with irrelevant content on social, it also increases the likelihood of a brand being engaged with. This level of authenticity is what brands have always aspired to, and only now is it achievable through AI.

Companies are now also able to use AI for more than just seeing what is said. Through image and video recognition, brands and companies can see where their products and services are seen and used most. Much like social listening tools, this allows much more of an insight on where the best places are to market your brand. Salesforce’s Einstein Vision is a great example of this. It is probably one of the few image recognition tools perfect for the B2B market. With this feature, brands can navigate social media much more effectively as it will search for your brand’s images, videos and logos and pinpoint their location amongst a minefield of content. This takes social listening to the next step as not everyone is going to signpost your brand every time a post crops up with your product or service in it. 

By using tools like this, you can find where your products and services are being consumed in the most natural of environments and better yet, you can see which influencers are using your products. It will be these influencers, who have built up a social following or exert influence over others in your target market, who will provide the most useful and authentic feedback since they aren’t even looking for the recognition, they are genuinely enjoying the interaction with your business.

Some companies have taken this a step further and have found new ways to use these tools. Take fashion retailer Boohoo for example. Although in the consumer space, this company exhibits one of the best examples of a visual search-based AI tool in its website that helps find what a customer is looking for without them even having to search anything. With this, users can upload a picture of their desired item and Boohoo will immediately provide them with what they have that best fits their desired preferences. Facebook has been the pioneer of this, having invested in AI since 2013 with the appointment of Yann LeCun as chief AI scientist. They have gone as far as developing features such as automatic tagging in images and videos through facial recognition.

All in all, 61% of marketers, regardless of company size, point to learning and AI as their company’s most significant data initiative. As the fourth industrial revolution accelerates through the widespread adoption of new digital technologies, the world is increasingly communicating online and brands are taking their business here too. Soon enough, AI will be integrated with the fabric of all social platforms, and creative companies will need to take note or be left behind as the world marches on. Once confined to a science fiction dystopian future, AI has been in practice under the radar for long enough now and companies need to recognise not only its existence, but its importance in how it will drive the advancement of business to business interaction.

AI in B2B: Going beyond the hype

This report, in association with LinkedIn, includes five case studies, demonstrating how AI is making a real and valuable impact on B2B marketers' lives, in everyday marketing situations we can all relate to.

Tell me what I need to know about AI

AI in B2B: Going beyond the hype