Back in the day, Bebo, MySpace and then Facebook were fun tools to find events, share photos and chat with friends, but communicating with brands required picking up the phone, sending emails or visiting the company website to get the information you needed.
Nowadays, it couldn’t be more different. 95 percent of millennials expect to be able to engage with brands via Facebook, and 42 percent of brand marketers state that Facebook is critical to their day-to-day business.
And Facebook is just one of many social media marketing platforms where brands need to be ready and waiting to engage with users 24 hours per day. As social media has become more embedded in all aspects of consumers’ lives, social media management has evolved into an increasingly challenging but essential role.
With users leaving more than 1.5 million pieces of user-generated content on Facebook each day, companies are leaning on new technology to help them manage huge numbers of conversations in a time-effective manner. One of the most important new tech trends for social media managers is machine learning/artificial intelligence.
If we look back less than a decade, social media management was a part-time job normally designated to recent college graduates or interns. Daily management included growing networks as much as possible, posting regular photos and ads, liking comments and responding to the occasional question.
As social media platforms grew in numbers and popularity and smartphone technology and wireless internet advanced increasing engagement, many brands contracted digital agencies to manage social media marketing campaigns.
However, over the past six years, social media has blossomed into an essential customer-service and sales channel. Social media and chat applications have advanced to the extent that users no longer use email or pick up the phone to communicate with brands—they expect to be able to leave a comment on Instagram or Facebook and receive the same speedy, informative response they would using traditional channels.
While once used predominantly by younger demographics, social media is now used by people of all ages, with most users regularly logging on to two to five different social media accounts.
Many leading companies now hire for management-level positions such as community manager to engage with the community, curate social content that targets specific demographics and strategize social marketing campaigns based on past performance, analytics and emerging trends, all across a range of different platforms.
Luckily for swamped social media managers, new technology is allowing brands to automate a number of tasks using artificial intelligence. Chat bots are growing in popularity, and industry leaders like Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Chris Messina predict that the technology will revolutionize sales and customer service within the next five years. But for now, machine learning and AI offer the most efficient means of engaging millions of social media users.