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The Future of Marketing: Is AI Set to Replace Human Social Media Marketers in 2024?

Updated: Jan 9




Employers, are you wondering if AI can cut down your marketing expenses? Marketers, are you concerned about AI potentially replacing your role? Look no further. We're here to provide you with a comprehensive and balanced review, offering answers to both these crucial questions.


In the ever-evolving landscape of digital marketing, the choice between fearing or embracing AI takes center stage. With a remarkable 72% of marketers already considering AI a game-changer, our blog offers more than mere speculation. We provide concrete insights and real-world tests, unveiling AI's potential and pitfalls for a well-informed perspective.


Join us as we unravel the truth about AI's role in marketing, separating fact from fiction and helping you decide whether to fear or embrace this powerful force.



Test 1: Writing social media content


Crafting Content Ideas


AI has an incredible ability to craft content ideas and tailor that content to specific audiences, adapting tone and voice to match the intended target; also reflected in the conscious use of emojis and hashtags.


Below, you'll find an example were AI was specifically tasked with generating social media post ideas for a " high-end restaurant specializing in French food. "






Although the above copy has no clear faults brand consistency and hitting those customised goals often call for a human touch. Without guidance, the AI writer churns out content that's as generic as a plain sandwich. So, the marketer is the main maestro here, directing the AI to focus on the brand's special elements and unique selling points. In this partnership, the marketers input remains crucial to achieving the desired results.




Incapable of Writing for the Platform


AI sometimes struggles with deciding how long a caption should be. Different platforms have specific requirements for caption lengths, which often depend on the audience and objectives and as determined appropriately by the human marketer. This issue becomes particularly significant on platforms like X, which has a mandatory character limit. While the AI might not automatically understand these limitations, it can still generate good content. However, it's crucial for a human marketer to provide input and guide the AI in terms of word count, highlighting the continued importance of human involvement in the process. Below we tasked the AI with re-writting a Twitter/ X social media caption for Black History Month this last year:



Poorly Researched Hashtags


In 2024, hashtags might not always be the ultimate game-changer, and their impact can be minimal. However, during our above test, we noticed an important aspect worth highlighting – AI's weakness in conducting hashtag research. As an example, for this year's Black History Month, our advanced hashtag research suggested that using #blackhistorymonth23 would have been a more appropriate choice as opposed to the #celebrateblackstory as suggested above by our AI tool.


The tools are sophisticated but still needs expert guidance. It's like flying a plane: the plane does the work, but without a skilled pilot (in this case the marketer) , it would not be possible!




Test 2: Social Media post/ designs


AI-Powered Social Media Post Design Tools


After testing several AI-powered social media post design tools, we've found that AI excels in writing tailored copy (with guidance) but falls short in terms of fully automated designing.


Many marketers would agree that a 24-hour crash course in tools like canva.com yield better results. Currently, AI lacks the diversity, personalisation, branded elements, and intricate designs brands need.


Considering the time spent inputting details, most marketers could design better themselves. In the end, these tools end up consuming more time than they save, not to mention the design restrictions and pricing...





We found a few more issues worth mentioning:


  • While the tool lets you use your brand's colors, it doesn't do a great job of seamlessly blending them into the overall design, as seen above with a purple and blue colour scheme.


  • If you like variety in your posts, tough luck. Once you pick a template, you're pretty much committed to it for all your designs otherwise you have huge inconsistency.


  • The design limitations can be frustrating, similar to maneuvering around on Mailchimp or watching a HTML expert struggle with element placement on WIX. It's a bit like trying to solve a challenging puzzle.



These tools generate quite a buzz, often touting themselves as the “lovechild ” of Chat GPT and Canva rolled into one. However, the reality couldn't be further from the truth. These rudimentary designs have been in existence for years, with the only recent addition being the ubiquitous use of the term "AI" in their marketing campaigns.



Canva's New Magic Studio


Canva.com was once thought to be lagging in the AI race, but now it's rapidly catching up. Newer design tools claim to be like Canva, but Canva itself excels at what it does. The company has also cleverly integrated with other AI providers to stay ahead of the game.


Canvas's new Magic AI Studio doesn't seek to replace anything or anyone . Instead, It offers a range of features and tools that enable AI and marketing to collaborate seamlessly with flexible options and user-friendly AI automation features, such as text generation and customizable templates. Marketers can quickly and easily adjust formats, such as transforming a post into a story, saving valuable time in their daily tasks.


This efficiency allows marketers to be more effective and creative while leaving more time for idea generation.





Dall-E Chat GBT's Image generator


Let's not forget the big cheese, Chat GBT, and its swanky paid version that includes a feature known as Dall-E (also available to use on Canva premium). This little add-on is supposed to help you whip up fancy graphics and top-notch photos.




But, folks, brace yourselves for this: Dall-E might be a wizard with images, but when it comes to crafting social media posts, it's more like a wizard-in-training.


We asked it to create an actual post, followed by color code instructions and the input of our ccompany logo. here at Definite Marketing. It failed to follow our instructions and did not create a post at all but more so a nice graphic.



In Chat GBT's defense, the company has said that the intention of the tool is to create graphics and visualise unique images (which is fun but not very useful for a social media marketer).


Another significant limitation we faced involved requesting the tools to make minor adjustments or alterations. When tasked with changing a minor element in a design or graphic, the tool is unable to accomplish this and ends up generating an entirely different design. This approach is clearly ineffective and impractical.



No more brand photoshoots?


Sophisticated marketers understand that brands can't rely solely on stock images or beautifully designed posts. They recognize the importance of adding a personal touch through staff, product, customer, and event photos (for example). This is crucial for building relationships, establishing trust, and making your social media feed more diverse and engaging.


While marketers often suggest company photoshoots or may even take photos themselves in smaller organizations, the question arises: Can AI replace the need for professional photographers and videographers, while marketers still guide the content?


The answer right now is a clear no. We tested various text-to-image AI tools, including DALL-E and Adobe, for a client who frequently needs photoshoots to promote a kids' cinema hire services. The results were far from usable, and frankly, a bit unsettling. Moreover, when we asked the AI tools to make simple tweaks like moving a hand or changing a color, it goes haywire and creates completely new images.






Furthermore, maintaining brand consistency proves challenging, even when providing specific instructions regarding layouts and colors to the AI tool. It continues to produce varying image formats and colors, resulting in a disjointed and inconsistent appearance on your social media feed, clearly indicating the AI's involvement to your followers.


Text-to-image AI tools are nowhere near replacing photographers. While advancements in this area could potentially help organizations cut costs, marketers are still essential for providing visual and creative guidance.




Test 3: Scheduling


Determining the timing and scheduling of social media content is a crucial aspect of a social media marketer's responsibilities. In reality, marketers have been relying on AI-powered tools for years to assist in these decisions. Platforms such as Hootsuite and social media platforms with business accounts are equipped to analyze your company's historical posting data and provide recommendations for the most suitable days and times to post. Generally, marketers use this information while also applying their human judgment, as we've observed that occasionally minor errors can occur in the suggestions.




Nevertheless, these AI recommendations prove to be quite valuable for the most part but not new and not without the need of the marketer's input.

Overall, AI excels in aiding design and conserving time.


However, despite the existence of some amateur versions, a comprehensive and fully autonomous tool that integrates all necessities to outrun the human organic social media marketer: captioning, post-creation, and scheduling seamlessly in one platform is still non-existent. Such a tool would need huge integration across a multitude of providers and even so, would probably still require the oversight of humans considering the major constraints and errors we have encountered.


If such a tool were to emerge, we envision it coming from a company akin to Hootsuite. Based on our experience, we are far from having anything of this sort available.



Test 4: Social Media Ads


When it comes to setting up social media advertisements, regardless of the platform, there are several crucial elements to consider. Broadly, these elements include:


1. Ad Creative: This encompasses the visual content such as images, GIFs, and videos used for the ad, as well as the text that aims to compel users to click.


2. Budget Allocation: Deciding how much budget to allocate for your advertising campaigns.






While technology has advanced, it hasn't completely automated the entire advertising process. Here are some key points to consider:


Creative Aspect: Human involvement remains essential, especially in aspects like design and photoshoots. AI can assist but is limited in these areas.

Text Content: Tools like Chat GPT can provide assistance in generating ad text, but human input is necessary to ensure the best output.

Budget Allocation: While some platforms offer automated budget allocation, there can be discrepancies. Manual adjustments often yield better results based on our experience.

For a fully automated AI tool to handle the entire ad process, it would need compatibility with all social media platforms, which is challenging due to platform restrictions. Such a tool would have to create visuals, generate text, and manage budget allocation and reallocation, which is not currently feasible.


In reality, AI and analytical tools prove valuable for human marketers, enhancing their effectiveness but not replacing them entirely. These tools can offer suggestions and assist with creative stifles, but they fall short of managing the entire setup, tracking, and adjustment process.


It's worth noting that some platforms like Google Ads promote users to allow their ad system to fully automate and reallocate budget, but this can come with its own complexities and nuances in addition to only automating one aspect of the entire process to what we consider a substandard.



Conclusion

In summary, while AI has made significant strides in assisting social media marketers, it is not poised to replace them entirely. AI excels in certain areas such as generating content ideas, providing posting recommendations, and offering suggestions for ad text. However, it falls short in fully automating creative design, maintaining brand consistency, and handling all aspects of social media advertising.


Human marketers continue to play a pivotal role in guiding AI, ensuring brand identity, and making critical decisions. While AI enhances efficiency and effectiveness, it is not yet capable of taking over the full spectrum of tasks in social media marketing. Collaboration between human marketers and AI tools is the likely path forward, combining the strengths of both for optimal results.

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