AI's Main Roles in Social Media
Before we dive into the specifics of using AI to create social media posts, it’s good to get an idea of AI’s role in social media in general and how it’s capable of influencing and enhancing our social media experience.
Content Recommendation: You've probably noticed how platforms like Facebook and YouTube recommend content that aligns with your interests. AI algorithms analyse your behaviour, past interactions, and preferences to curate content that's more likely to keep you engaged. As we all have ever-shorter attention spans, it’s obviously helpful to be shown content we’re likely to engage with, however, we admit this does sound a little creepy and borderline unethical. You may recall the Cambridge Analytica scandal of the 2010s in which AI played a key role in the efforts of the infamous data analytics firm to target and influence voters through their use of social media.
Data Analysis: Whilst we’ve already established the dangers of this technology, to be able to engage better with their audience, marketers rely heavily on AI to gain insights into user behaviour, which helps them fine-tune their social media strategies. If you’re not trying to influence a national election, it can be helpful to know what content your followers like to see most!
Chatbots: AI-driven chatbots are revolutionising customer service on platforms like Twitter and Instagram, and probably even your own bank’s website. These bots can provide instant responses to common queries, improving user satisfaction. When you’re trying to get a simple response from your bank, Chatbots can be an absolute lifesaver, but we’ve probably all been in a situation where they’ve actually added more frustration by getting confused or providing unhelpful information.
Content Moderation: AI is employed to detect and filter out inappropriate or harmful content, this technology ensures a safer online environment for users, especially children, and can arguably have the biggest impact on user experience.
Content Creation: In November 2022, the launch of the platform ChatGPT caused quite a stir among content creators and users alike. Many claim that it damages the authenticity and creativity of the written word that humans have spent millennia curating. Ethics aside, it cannot be denied that using such a platform saves creators a great deal of time and frustration, as all the hard work is done for them.
Using AI to Create Social Media Posts
Now, let's focus on how AI can be used for creating, enhancing, and targeting your social media posts.
At the most basic level, AI tools, such as ChatGPT and Microsoft’s Bing Chat, can generate text, images, and even video content. In today’s modern tech world, you can simply ask an AI service to create a social media post for your chosen platform, give it the topic or a little context, and it’ll spit out the ready-made content, emojis and all.
If that’s not enough for you, you can use platforms like Adobe Photoshop or Nightcafe to edit your photos, or even create fake ones which seem real. Filters, editing tools, and deep learning algorithms are used to enhance visual elements beyond human detection. There really is no end to the possibilities. Want the perfect headshot? Or how about a photo of you and your favourite celebrity at a bar together in New York? Done and done.
If you don’t want your creative freedom taken away from you, or the idea of fake photos or videos makes you justifiably uneasy, you can still reap some of the benefits of AI for your social media account by using it to schedule your manmade posts or to automatically review your analytics so your posts target the ideal audience. This is probably something you were already doing through Facebook or Instagram, without releasing it was powered by artificial intelligence.
If you’re more comfortable sitting somewhere in the middle between hours creating and overthinking every piece of content you produce and letting AI draw up fake images for your account so your audience has no idea what’s real, AI can still be useful to you. For example, you can use it to suggest relevant hashtags for your posts, helping them reach a broader audience. Or you can write everything yourself, and get an AI platform to suggest edits for you to consider, such as implementing more keywords into a post to improve its search optimisation.
Whether your social media account is a personal one, for your business, or both, you probably didn’t set it up so you could spend hours toiling over writing posts and editing photos to try and make your content more appealing. You want to get your content out there, as soon (and as painlessly) as possible, and onto the screens of the perfect audience. AI can help you do that, and for that reason, it’s definitely a good idea to explore using it to help with your social media posts.
Fundamentally, the main benefits of using AI on your social media posts include:
- Efficiency: AI can handle repetitive tasks, freeing up your time for strategic planning and engagement with your audience, or actually running your business!
- Consistency: AI generates content consistently, maintaining the same tone and style throughout your posts, pleasing all the algorithms.
- Enhanced visuals: AI-powered image and video enhancement tools can make your posts more appealing, attracting higher engagement.
- Data-driven content: AI provides insights into user behaviour, helping you make informed decisions about your content strategy.
It’s undeniable that using AI platforms for social media has some incredible advantages, like saving you tons of time and effort or fixing your uneven complexion, but there are two sides to every coin, so let's take a look at the downsides to AI-generated content.
Drawbacks to Consider
It’s all very well to ask ChatGPT to write you captions for your next 40 social media posts, but it’s not as time-saving as you might have thought when you soon find yourself sifting through every post created to change all the Americanised words to their British English counterparts. With the default in this particular service’s software being American English, you can only avoid this by specifying your chosen dialect in each and every request you make. Not only are spelling and even grammar affected by these nuances on most AI platforms, but you might also find that the content produced is targeted at an American audience, or that it’s littered with childish-looking emojis when you were after something a little more decadent or serious.
If that wasn’t enough, at the forefront of creators’ concerns, even before AI came into existence, is the loss of authenticity. Relying too heavily on AI can risk losing the personal touch that sets your content apart from your competitors. Authenticity is a crucial aspect of connecting with your audience, and ultimately what makes your content worth engaging with.
Aside from the practical implications of using AI for social media posts, there are also some ethical perspectives to consider.
Despite its awe-inspiring capabilities, AI is far from perfect. Rather ironically, given that artificial intelligence is supposed to be unbiased, AI can unintentionally discriminate against humans. AI algorithms may inadvertently perpetuate biases present in training data, leading to unfair treatment of certain groups. This can have detrimental effects on the social media world and may put you off using it so lightly. This isn’t something that would likely impact the creation of your posts as such, but it could have an influence on who sees them. The world of artificial intelligence is still young and it will be a long time before AI has the capability to recognise its own errors like this.
Although not necessarily an issue for you when creating your social media posts, it’s worth keeping in mind what we touched on earlier regarding the matter of privacy and freedom, when we explored the use of AI in data collection and analysis, and how serious the outcome can be. It’s already been proven that there are questions about the ethics of using AI to determine who sees what when they open the apps.
Our last possible issue with AI being used on social media posts is a big one: mental health. As science and medicine evolve and we understand more about the mind and what makes it healthy or unhealthy, we are increasingly aware of the things we do in everyday life that can have big, or even tiny accumulative effects on our mental health. It’s no secret that the constant stream of AI-curated content available to viewers can contribute to the addictive and even damaging nature of social media. Whether it's seeing fake photos and believing that you’re the only one who has tummy rolls or acne, or reading false statistics because the creator didn’t fact-check their AI-produced content. There is a lot of misinformation out there, and it’s essential to make sure if you’re making use of AI for your social media posts, that you’re not a part of the problem.
That said, as we’ve established, AI is constantly evolving and learning and the relationship between AI and social media is certainly heading in the right direction.
The Future of AI in Social Media
The human creators of artificial intelligence platforms in use by the general public are inevitably pretty smart people. And they too are aware of the list of pitfalls we have lovingly detailed in this post. They also want their products to serve their true purpose, of fully understanding and appropriately interacting with human intelligence, while at the same time making our lives more convenient, and even safer.
As AI evolves, it will become even better at understanding user preferences, making content more relevant and engaging. It will be able to produce even more captivating images and videos, with a deeper understanding of aesthetics, and what humans find appealing. More importantly, as AI gains knowledge of ethics, we can anticipate more responsible usage with better mechanisms for detecting and mitigating biases and safeguarding against damaging mental health. It’s also likely that governments and businesses will introduce more comprehensive regulations to address AI-related concerns, ensuring user safety and privacy.
As a result, social media content creators like you will be able to more confidently use AI platforms to produce, enhance, review and accurately analyse your posts, while viewers should be faced with a safer and more enjoyable social media experience.
The Bottom Line
AI is transforming social media and, by extension, your experience as a content creator or consumer. Whether you're a business owner, influencer, or an individual looking to connect with your audience, there’s no doubt that AI can make producing good quality content for social media posts far less laborious. But it's essential to tread carefully, maintaining authenticity and considering the ethical implications of AI in social media.
The future holds exciting possibilities, but it's up to us to use AI responsibly and thoughtfully to shape a better online world for our fellow humans. At the end of the day, AI wasn’t designed to take over the world but to make our lives easier, and better. So your take home here is to embrace the power of AI, but never forget the unique voice and creativity that set you apart in the vast world of social media.
(by Dani Tucker, Guest Blog Writer)