We can no longer call technology a useful tool.
Interning at NGIN, I’m surrounded by tech startups and businesses every day in Kendall Square—I know that technology is more like an extended brain than an extended limb. We are far past the days of technology making our daily lives more convenient. Technology is now necessary to function, and this is especially true for startups and businesses whose products and services wouldn’t exist without this technological necessity.
Most every startup or entrepreneur uses technology to better understand the markets they’re in, widen their presence, and connect with their audiences through social media. There are plenty of startups that aim specifically at helping other companies use technology to analyze and collect data on how effective their social media presence is. These analytics tell entrepreneurs what social media content audiences connect with most, when they connect with it, and how this all affects the business’s outreach. Our very own office houses one such company—Libring, which collects and analyzes ad engagement and revenue on apps and games.
Taking technology further: AI for Social Media
But there’s one startup that wants to take this technology further, allowing it control over what we post, when we post it, and how we communicate with audiences on social media. In an article this week, TechCrunch showcases startup PromoRepublic’s social media AI. The company is pushing a new AI, or Artificial Intelligence, which not only analyzes a startup’s social media presence, but uses it to determine what the company should post, when, how often, with what metadata, and on which platforms. The user simply must read and approve of the AI’s plans for a month in advance.
That means that for a whole month of content—a whole month of digital communication with customers, financers, peers, and competition—a computer is deciding and executing that communication. Sure, the user signs off on everything before it’s posted, but there are implications to this kind of social media presence.
AI for Social Media: Subtle Consequences
Using AI to run your business’s social media exchanges depersonalizes your business’s digital presence. Digital media, especially social media, has a tendency to seem separate from the daily personal interactions which we consider to be networking and creating relationships. But social media is essentially as important, if not more, as offline communication. If a computer is fostering this social media presence, and therefore the connections and customers gained from it, then the business owner has less of a direct hand in and less knowledge of engagement with the content and company.
Part of what makes this social media AI appealing is that social media for small businesses can be hard. And often, it is. Knowing whether your content is engaging your audience, what that content should even be to begin with, and the best timing to post are all daunting for those who don’t know much about producing social media content in an impactful way. AI for social media would take the stress out of this process for many. At the same time, content generated by a computer is less meaningful and personal than that created by a human being who works with the startup or business. People have intuitive knowledge, and can communicate what a business is about, its ideas, goals, and personality, in a way that a computer can’t.
Giving AI reign over your business’s social media also makes you more detached from the content posted. Increased detachment from posts and presence means the business owner starts caring less about the worth of content to human beings who are interacting with it on these platforms. Whether we realize it or not, most audiences can tell when there’s a lack of authenticity. This may be especially true with social media compared to other forms of communication, because in all of the authentic, real content posted by real people, that suggested and created by Artificial Intelligence can tend to stand out and stall out.
In the digital age we’re in, small business presence on social media is extremely important for exposure to audiences and peers in the market. Would AI for social media be able to create and maintain lasting, authentic business presence, professional and customer relationships, and intuitive, meaningful content the way a human being can? Those who run and work businesses know their integrity—what makes their company special. When it comes to fostering human connection and support, people are irreplaceable. So, yes, use AI to interpret your social media data and analyze what you’re doing well or badly. But don’t let it run your presence. Trust yourself, build your content, and most importantly, be genuine with your audiences.
How do you feel about AI for social media? What ways do you use social media to grow your business? Please leave a comment below! I’d love to get your insights.
By Brianna Rapoza, NGIN Workplace Intern