Social media can change fast, with new platforms and new technologies breaking through into the mainstream.
These days, artificial intelligence is advancing fast.
Some of the key applications of this machine learning technology are actually quite relevant for marketers and entrepreneurs, especially for social media marketing.
Staying on the cutting edge of social media can have considerable benefits, like giving you a “first mover” advantage.
Companies are already starting to experiment with things like chatbots for WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, and they're already seeing a lot of success.
These new channels, like marketing on a messaging app, are just starting to take off.
AI isn't just something for big companies with big budgets.
There are ways to implement AI that are actually pretty accessible for a smaller online business, especially if you come from a technical background.
As this technology continues to grow, and its use becomes more widespread, those who are slow to adapt are at risk of being left behind.
In a recent post, Hubspot outlines two of the biggest rising trends in social media, including new uses for AI.
[image source: Hubspot]
One of Facebook’s most recent hits is Facebook Messenger. It’s one of a handful of new channels, along with Instagram, WhatsApp and Snapchat that’s dominating time spent on social.
In 2012 Social Media was the big three: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn.
Your goal was to engage and grow communities on these channels via desktop. The idea was to gain enough likes and followers so that you had a reliable distribution channel for your content.
Today, your audience may still be there, but there are many other places as well.
Social media usage hasn’t slowed down one bit since 2012, it’s grown and diversified. You must know your audience and you must focus your efforts on the networks that are most relevant for them.
To make this happen, the role of the social media manager / marketer needs expand.
They need to understand your target market, and whatever social channel they spend time in.
That probably includes Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin, but it’s now expanded to new networks like SnapChat, Reddit, YouTube, WhatsApp, and more.
They should know how those networks work and be able to create the content that does best in those channels.
This means that social media marketers need to be experts in ads, creating video, stories, messaging bots, and more.
Furthermore, their goal shouldn’t be to try to turn these places into a distribution channel.
Instagram for instance isn’t interested in having users leave their app. They’ve made it hard for marketers to drive people from their app to a landing page without an ad.
A modern social media marketing strategy doesn’t try to drive people out of these sites, they turn these sites into a conversion funnel in and of themselves.
They create amazing content that brings attention and use ads and technology to convert those users in network.
No landing pages, no emails.
This is true for all networks now, not just Instagram. More on this later.
Machine learning and artificial intelligence are ideas that marketers are chomping at the bit to put to work. But the question that hasn’t been answered is how? Social Media and Social Ads are the answer.
No other marketing channel has grasped AI like social.
It defines what content you see, what ads you're served, and how you engage with your friends. In many ways AI defines social, and it’s important to keep this in mind when creating content.
There is no more optimizing for time of day or keywords in social, everything is defined by a machine learning algorithm specific to individuals. When you're thinking about content try to think like the machines.
Facebook and others have now made the same AI that powers what content is shown to whom, available to better target your ads. When you run Facebook ads for instance, you have a powerful tool set of AI at your fingertips, even if they don’t make that obvious.
Leaning on Facebook to target and optimize your ads is a very good idea.
Upload lists of your most valuable customers or highest priority prospect to Facebook and then implement Lookalike Audiences. With this data Facebook will put its AI to work by combining with their global user data to serve your ads to only the most valuable people.
At HubSpot our own ads experts used to manually test and optimize combinations of creative and targeting to get the best results. But over the course of 2017 simply decided to stop.
They couldn’t beat Facebook’s AI.
We've decided at this point it’s just best to get out of your own way and let Facebook do its thing.
Look, things are different. Facebook has changed the world, mobile and video are here to stay, ads are they way forward, and it’s time to leverage AI.
But for all the change that has happened, inbound is still the way forward.
The best marketing will always be remarkable and focused on attracting people with the quality of its substance. And for all the advanced technology we have, the best marketing will still always be about people and personal connections.
No technology can replace the feeling someone gets when they feel like you’re talking only to them.
It’s important to root everything you do in those concepts. It’s time to grasp these new concepts, tools, and tactics.
If you can combine them with the fundamentals of inbound marketing, there is no stopping you.
You can read more about the latest developments in social media marketing over at Hubspot.