Marketers use social in a variety of ways, from searching for social promoters to boost brand awareness to improving and personalizing the customer experience. As investments in Artificial Intelligence (AI) continue to boom, marketers are looking for ways to combine the two powerhouses—AI and social—to optimize their reach and bring more value to consumers. The benefits don’t stop there. Leveraging AI as part of your social media strategy can bolster your lead generation efforts, too. Here’s how.
Social, AI, and Lead Generation: It’s All About Engagement
There are plenty of uses for AI when it comes to lead gen. In a recent article, Prepare for Artificial Intelligence to Power the B2B Sales Process, I predicted we’d see a lot of movement in this market, specifically in the development of AI apps used for enhancing the sales process and in AI acquisitions by SaaS powerhouses. I firmly believe what we can expect in the (near) future will be amazing, but there’s also a ton happening right now.
Take social, for example. It’s no stranger to AI’s surge, and it’s easy to see why. The entire undercurrent for successful lead generation is consumer engagement—authentic consumer engagement, that is. One of the major goals for AI in marketing is to automate processes and optimize efforts to deliver additional value, ultimately creating more consumer engagement. Do either of those descriptions remind you of the driving force behind social media, i.e., humanizing brands and connecting with consumers? They should! That’s why AI and social make a lead gen dream team—they’re all playing the same game.
Leveraging Social AI for Lead Gen
At Pew’s last tally, 69 percent of all Americans use social media. Those percentages were, as you’d expect, higher for adults between the ages of 18 and 29 (86 percent) and 30 and 49 (80 percent). Those statistics tell us what we already know: Social media isn’t just popular, it’s a part of life for many consumers. Using social for lead gen, then, is a marketing imperative. Here are a few ways you can leverage social AI to gain more (and better) leads:
Optimize your social efforts. Social media teams are often small and spread thin. The 2016 State of Social Report (gated but worth trading your email addy for) found that 71 percent of the 350 organizations polled had up to two employees who dedicated their time to social strategy—yes, two. Of those respondents, less than 10 percent said they could quantify revenue from social, and 42 percent said they struggled with insufficient budgets. With personnel and resources already tight, the efficiency afforded by AI and automation becomes even more important. AI helps brands optimize social efforts by weeding through spam and outsourcing some simple customer service questions to chatbots. The result? Social teams can devote more time to attracting and nurturing the highest-priority leads—i.e., those most likely to convert.
Ensure your messaging meets the changing needs of your audience. AI-powered automation is useful when it comes to content planning, too, using the power of predictive analytics to allow social teams to generate and promote content most useful to customers in different stages of the buyers’ journey.
Use facial recognition to generate leads. Facebook is a social AI pioneer, and its facial recognition efforts prove it. Its model reportedly analyzes faces with 98 percent accuracy—even for photos where faces aren’t exactly facing the camera. Joaquin Candela, the head of Facebook’s Applied Machine Learning group, told Fortune Magazine the team hopes to “build more than 1.5 billion AI agents—one for every person who uses Facebook or any of its products.” Impressive, yes. But just how can facial recognition help your business generate leads? In the future, brands could offer incentives for consumers who “like” or “follow” them on social media and agree to be recognized while out in public. Say, for example, a woman follows a chain restaurant on Facebook and consents to have her face recognized for offers. When she walks past a digital kiosk in an airport, the AI recognizes her and sends a special offer to her Facebook inbox or through Facebook Messenger. Kinda creepy, kinda cool, but I’ll bet it’s in all of our not-too-distant futures.
Bottom line: Consumers are a digital bunch, but they also value a human touch. They crave engagement. It may seem ironic, but social AI gives marketers the time and resources to deliver. And when it comes to powering your lead generation efforts, AI is starting to be table stakes, both for B2B and B2C brands.
Does your brand use social AI to generate leads and engage with customers and/or engage in competitive analysis? If not, is it something you’re considering integrating into your marketing operations? If you’re already using AI, what do you think? What’s working and where are you finding challenges you didn’t’ expect? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Additional Resources on This Topic:
- How to Create More Meaningful Connections in a Remote World - March 16, 2021
- Building a High Performing Engineering Team: What’s the Secret Sauce - February 1, 2021
- MarTech Role Finally Recognized as a Real Job - April 2, 2019