How AI Helps Streamline Social Media Marketing
// By Althea Fung //
Afraid AI is going to take over your job? Don’t be. “Marketers should … see AI not as a way to replace humans but to augment and enhance the important and necessary work we do,” says Lately.ai’s founder Kate Bradley Chernis.
With more than 3.6 billion users worldwide, social media is a highly effective method of communication for marketers. Although social media and healthcare may seem worlds apart, a study published in the journal BMC Research Notes found that 40 percent of consumers use social media for health information. Additionally, 91 percent say online communities influence their healthcare decision-making.
In recent years, marketers have turned to artificial intelligence (AI) to help craft social posts. By incorporating AI into social media strategies, teams can draft content faster, improve the user experience and increase their return on investment (ROI). Those benefits help drive growth in the AI social market. According to Markets and Markets, a market research platform, the global AI in social media market is expected to grow from $633.1 million in 2018 to $2.2 billion by 2023.
When Kate Bradley Chernis, a satellite radio DJ turned marketer, founded Lately.ai — an AI-social media content-generating platform, she saw an opportunity to use her experience in music to drive the next evolution of social content.
“When your brain listens to a new song, it instantly accesses every other song you’ve heard, looking for familiar touchpoints because it’s trying to index that new song in the library of your memory. In that moment comes forth nostalgia, memory, emotion — all the things that make listening to music so powerful,” Chernis says. “Those are also the three key factors that must be in place for trust to happen, and trust is why we buy.”
Read on to learn how AI is lifting the burden of writing shorter-form content. But it’s not doing all the heavy lifting. Humans still need to weigh in.
As a former marketing agency owner, Chernis would look to create similar touchpoints in copy to trigger users to engage and convert. She put her theory to the test when Walmart, United Worldwide, and National Disability Institute collaborated and hired her company to create a social media campaign to educate employees and lower-income individuals about income tax credits and financial literacy. Her theory got the Walmart project a 130 percent ROI year-over-year for three years in a row.
Creating an AI-Powered Social Post
Following the success of the Walmart campaign and similar large-scale campaigns, Chernis invested in building out an AI-driven system that automates the most challenging part of social media marketing: the writing.
“The AI will split up that piece of long-form content into dozens of social posts based on each custom-created writing model.”
Kate Bradley ChernisLately.ai
“What I discovered was that the largest retailer in the world had the same problem as the mom-and-pop nonprofits down the road — writing. Not only were they bad at it, but they didn’t want to do it and were instead hiring out agencies and consultants like me to do it for them,” she says.
Lately.ai reviews the analytics of your social media posts across multiple channels, brands, and individuals. The AI studies the keywords, phrases, ideas, and sentence structures that made up the messaging that received the highest engagement, including likes, shares, and link clicks.
It then creates a unique writing model, based on what it learns. Once the model is created, organizations can begin inputting long-form content — such as white papers, blog posts, PDFs, and webpages, as well as audio and video files like podcasts and webinars — for the tool to turn into social posts.
“The AI will split up that piece of long-form content into dozens of social posts based on each custom-created writing model. For audio, it reads through the text to find quotes of cool things somebody said and includes a link back to the full version of the audio file. In the case of video, not only will it write out what somebody said, but it’ll also spice up the video where the person said those things, so you get dozens of miniature social media video promos in seconds,” Chernis says.
In addition to reviewing the organization’s social posts, Chernis says Lately also relies on five years of proprietary data to help define best practices for social engagement. This is particularly beneficial to teams with underdeveloped social channels.
Once suggested posts are generated, teams must review and edit any post — Chernis says this is an essential component to guiding the AI to learn what you want it to learn. In addition, Lately integrates with HubSpot Social and Hootsuite to schedule and publish or you can publish from Lately’s scheduling and publishing platform, directly.
“For some reason, marketers still just want to push a button and walk away. But it doesn’t work like that. Work is required. I mean, AI is amazing, but I hate to break it to you, it’s not magic.”
Kate Bradley ChernisLately.ai
While using AI to generate social content saves time spent on writing — Chernis estimates teams spend 84 percent less time writing — it also allows marketers to learn more about their audiences and understand their preferences, target prospective customers better, and reduce marketing costs. As a result, Chernis says her clients have seen a 12,000 percent increase in engagement, 200 percent increase in leads, and 98 percent increase in sales conversions.
The Human Role in AI
Although an AI-driven social content generation tool may seem like a threat to some writers, Chernis says marketers should instead see AI not as a way to replace humans but to augment and enhance the important and necessary work we do.
According to Chernis, “the two must work hand in hand together — AI and humans. You can’t remove either from the equation if you want otherworldly results.” Therefore, AI-generated content needs to be reviewed to ensure an accurate interpretation of the nuances of language that humans use.
Yet, Chernis says, “For some reason, marketers still just want to push a button and walk away. But it doesn’t work like that. Work is required. I mean, AI is amazing, but I hate to break it to you, it’s not magic,” she says.
To ensure the posts properly convey an accurate message, Chernis recommends teams review, edit, and approve posts before they go live. This step is also a requirement of all social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc.) so that there’s always a human eyeball in the mix. The edits also help the AI continuously learn an organization’s style and tone.
To help writers and other marketers adapt to using AI to generate content, Chernis hosts weekly, free copywriting classes online.
Althea A. Fung is a digital content strategist and healthcare journalist. Email her at email@example.com.