Authentic content marketing in an age of AI automation
AI automation in the workplace is moving at a dizzying pace. Business wheels are turning fast to capitalize on the capabilities of large language models (LLMs) such as OpenAI’s GPT-4, which is bringing all kinds of advanced chatbot capabilities to enterprise software thanks to API integration. But LLMs aren’t the only AI automation show in town, and businesses have long been using machine learning methods to enhance sales outcomes – for example, by scaling up authentic content marketing activities.
Authentic content marketing, like other engagement activities, aims to strengthen the bond between a brand and its customers. Potential clients want to know what other users think about products and services. Company websites are great for gathering technical specifications. But it’s impossible for developers to provide an unbiased review of their own products. No firm is going to stay in business long by championing a rival’s offering. And even when a company has the leading solution, and the data to support its claims, customers will likely still want to do more research of their own and seek other opinions.
Don’t just take our word for it
These preferences highlight why firms have been adding authentic content marketing to their sales playbook, and exploring user-generated content (UGC) opportunities more widely. Sources of UGC can take many forms, from social media posts and video unboxings to verified reviews on popular platforms such as Trustpilot, Feefo, and others. The influence of reviews on purchasing decisions, especially for first-time customers, can be huge.
Considering Trustpilot alone, the verified reviews site has compiled over 800 million reviews – accord to figures provided by the firm to TechHQ – with monthly active users totalling over 30 million. And looking at other UGC channels, popular brands receive a multitude of mentions on social media, and this feedback can be gold for firms if they can act on it.
Platforms such as SocialBee help businesses by bringing together company social media accounts into a single pane of glass. Other benefits include analytics and scheduling assistance. Plus, tools are increasingly equipped with AI content generation features, to help write captions and guide other content. StoryChief – another tool that streamlines social media account management for firms – claims that users can work 50x faster using AI.
Time-saving rewards are significant. And so is the potential for companies to use UGC to fuel growth through authentic content marketing. Manual workflows are going to leave too many opportunities on the table. The volume of trusted reviews, social media posts, videos, and other UGC is huge, and it’s a cycle that never stops. But sales and marketing teams can leverage technology to not only keep up, but scale their campaigns in ways that would be impossible by hand. Solutions like Flowbox use AI and automations to gather and organize authentic content posted on UGC channels. Systems can receive content posted by users and compare images and mentions with inventory items in company product catalogs.
Automation allows companies to easily share real-life examples of their products and services being used by customers. And such a portfolio gives potential clients a valuable resource for conducting sales research. Companies wanting to add another layer to their UGC portfolio by working with influencers or brand ambassadors can benefit from AI automation too.
Influencer discovery platforms include affable.ai, which allows firms to search for candidates worldwide across any industry. Companies can quickly generate a shortlist of industry relevant people to engage with thanks to advanced filters. And as relationships form, the system can be used to gather insights on how the influencer-based marketing campaign is going, making it a potential end-to-end solution for firms.
Conventionally, sales enablement is about equipping sales teams with the tools they need to enhance outcomes. But the rise of authentic content marketing and the wealth of business intelligence that goes with it is too valuable to leave siloed. The overlap between sales enablement and content marketing is ripe for cross-functional business teams to explore.
Customers tell the story
The analytics and metrics-based approach at the heart of sales enablement can be readily applied to content marketing. And sales team knowledge of how to keep the conversation going has parallels in the power of customer engagement to boost average order value (AOV). Bazaarvoice – one of the pioneers in helping clients to instill trust and drive up customer confidence through the use of quality UGC – highlights the rewards for firms.
Engagement platforms capable of collecting, displaying, and distributing UGC at scale can dramatically increase AOV. And they point to a growing trend of so-called social commerce where company product stories are told through posts, videos, verified reviews, and other UGC streams. AI and automation helps to bring the content together, and those company product stories contribute across a range of business development channels.
For example, actionable insights can help companies with benchmarking and getting an independent view on their competitors. User feedback can contribute directly to future products and services, as well as improve day-to-day operations. If clients are more confident that a solution will be right for them ahead of purchase, then customer service teams will potentially have fewer product returns or service cancellations to manage.
By enabling authentic content marketing, AI and automation represents a powerful combination for enhancing sales outcomes.
30 November 2023
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