Why Chatbots Will Dominate Social Media Marketing

News   •   Sep 28, 2017

It is 2017 and chatbots are increasingly becoming common as the best form of online communication between brands and consumers. But just how effective is this bot-driven system in your social media marketing campaign? First, keep in mind the recent report indicating that the average adults are spending roughly 5 hours per day on their mobile device, and more crucially, 50 percent of them on social media.

According to expert opinions from the tech industry, chatbots will have an increasingly transformative effect on websites across the world. Far from such common predictions, now that several major players have thrown their weight behind the idea of chatbots, this is a significant point to note. It is for this reason that as a marketer you need to integrate chatbot features in your micro-influencer marketing to reap the benefits they offer.

What is a Chatbot and why should I care?

Chatbots are programmed to converse with humans as if they were speaking to another human rather than communicating with a computer using a coding language. The idea is old (bordering on ancient) and developers have known how to achieve basic versions of this using If-then statements since the 1960s.

The appeal of chatbots in academia and business has multiple aspects, but the academic attraction deserves a paper (or 10) on its own thus this post will focus on the advantages of chatbots in real world applications.

Having a chatbot representing or functioning within your organization provides multiple benefits. A chatbot is the co-worker that never sleeps, never falls ill, never loses their temper, always stays online, and doesn’t add a cent to the bar tab at the office party. They continuously evolve and improve, and they never get bored by repetition or routine which allows their human co-workers to focus on handling more important matters. They are consistent, and one chatbot can carry thousands of conversations at once without mixing them up (Humans 1 — Robots 1). According to Juniper research chatbots will be responsible for costs savings valued over $8 billions annually by 2022, largely due to their capabilities. The ability of carrying multiple conversations at once has the added benefit of gathering information about the customers based on the conversations being held and centralizing the information immediately.

Since the benefits are so obvious, why aren’t they mainstream already?

Nowadays people find themselves spending more time on messaging apps than social networking apps which is largely why chatbots are starting to explode. The reason here is that chatbots can reach users where they’re already hanging out, without requiring users to download and open new apps. And considering the trend it doesn’t look like people will abandon messaging apps anytime soon.

Again, this is an article (or 10) on its own but for now it suffices to state that new techniques have been developed in recent years which allow computers to extract important features of human speech, such as the intent of a sentence with relative ease.

If you’ve gotten this far and you’re thinking “Cool, but this doesn’t apply to me because I’ve never met a chatbot”, I beg to differ. Most of us have now met chatbots like Siri, Cortana or Alexa that act as digital assistants for users; able to search for answers, access apps and provide sassy replies to existential questions.

You grab my attention, Show me some chatbots!

Chatbots are popping up like mushrooms in a variety of fields with specific tasks and abilities, ranging from disseminating information to guiding users through complex processes.

Today there are some well thought out chatbots accessible on websites and messaging platforms. Some are used to disseminate information like the AccuWeather chatbot which can share weather forecasts, or the CNN chatbot which is easy to engage with and capable of providing summaries of articles as well as full articles or alerts. Chatbots in marketing are great as they allow organizations to interact with customers with a personal touch as they can learn names, analyze and adapt based on past behavior, they can send users notifications, all the while the chatbot gathers information about the customers. The benefits of marketing chatbots are also applicable in E-commerce where chatbots can be used for personal engagement, they can be useful for Q&A’s and they can help users find similar products to the ones they’re interested in, like Alexa which is connected to Amazon (a convenience us Australians are yet to enjoy). Alexa, being connected to other apps also shows how useful chatbots can be when it comes to processes previously requiring forms such as ordering food for delivery (dish, delivery address, mode of payment etc). Here lies another strength of chatbots as they can memorize information about the user, so the second time you order pizza from Alexa all you need to do is pick toppings and size whilst Alexa remembers your address and payment information. These advantages carry over into organizing travel as well, with SnapTravel being a great example. This chatbot helps users find travels deals and they have a human in the backend who’s capable of taking over if issues arise upon arrival.

Many (if not most) chatbots are customer facing but chatbots can also serve a purpose within organizations. The slackbot (Slack) is a great example as it’s capable of helping users prioritize conversations whilst also being able to aid organizations with stand-up meetings.

It’s becoming increasingly common to find chat boxes in the corner of websites where visitors can ask questions, placing screens between the actors during pre-sales customer engagement.


So … What does that mean?

Whether the future of chatbots and AI will eventually lead humanity into an automated paradise or collapse is yet to be determined.

But what we do know is that the chatbot market is on the upswing and it seems to be for real. Business Insider reported that 67% of consumers worldwide used a chatbot for customer support in the past year, and Gartner predicts that 85% of all customer service interactions will be powered by chatbots by 2020. Impressive numbers considering the industry’s adolescence and that best practices are yet to be established. This lack of best practices may feel daunting to some but is in fact an opportunity: the market is still up for grabs. To stay ahead of the curve people and organization need to get involved sooner rather than later to experiment and explore the potential of chatbots. The market may be there for the taking today but eventually someone somewhere will lay the path which others shall follow, so why not chuck your hat into the ring and give chatbots a go?

if you need a chatbot solution for your business contact us, we can help you to build the right chatbot for your needs.