In 2023, platforms like ChatGPT launched into the mainstream commercial space to take the world by storm. But there’s still a lot of confusion around AI (Artificial Intelligence), among tech savvy and tech challenged people alike.
Some people hype AI as the ultimate magic wand that supercedes the human mind, no thinking needed anymore by us mere mortals. Others say it’s too limited by programming algorithms and knowledge of prompts (how you talk to AI to get the best results).
This article will clear up the confusion by explaining how small business owners, even with zero tech skills, can use AI to attract and engage with more customers.
One the most sensible, balanced ways to look at AI (Artificial Intelligence) comes from Jaron Lanier, computer scientist, co-founder of virtual reality, and listed among the Top 50 World Thinkers. In his article ‘There is no A.I.’ he says:
“The most pragmatic position is to think of A.I. as a tool, not a creature… the most accurate way to understand what we are building today is as an innovative form of social collaboration.”
In other words, AI is guided by human interaction, it cannot actually understand words the way a person can, it’s output is directed by our input. AI basically just pulls information from online sources, arranging it according to the parameters you set.
AI is actually an umbrella term. It covers a range of different technologies of varying sophistication, similar to the term ‘software’. But what makes AI different and smarter than typical software is ‘machine learning’.
AI tools start off with datasets programmed by human specialists. But from there, AI applies what it knows for new outcomes. The idea is that over time, AI tools learn from past actions and keep improving.
Currently, these are some of the most popular AI tools, but the list is fast growing:
In marketing, AI can be used to save time and money by automation, such as performance analysis to guide you in what’s working and what isn’t. It will also boost your customer engagement to new levels by helping you easily create content.
Modern AI content generators are basically a much smarter version of the chatbot technology we’ve had for years. They can not only understand typical conversational speak, they can craft any message to suit your target audience and marketing platforms, as well as generating the right images to go with your message.
The great thing about AI nowadays is you don’t need to be tech savvy to use it. You simply need to clarify what you want. Like any tool, the best results are gained by how well we use it. This brings us to the important new skill called ‘prompting’.
AI content generation tools are designed to use natural language, as if you were speaking to a person. If you use basic keywords you will get basic results.
Here are some Top Tips to get the best results:
For more prompting tips to generate high quality AI content for a range of small business marketing, check out this YouTube video: 32 ChatGPT Tips for Beginners in 2023.
Follow these best-practise steps to get AI generated content that your customers will engage with:
Define your AI tests according to specific marketing channels, such a social media, blogs, emails and customer replies. Then clarify what you want to achieve from each piece of content — brand authority, education, promotion for prospective leads, or hard sell to existing customers. Also think about your target audience and what style or format they enjoy most.
Taking the time for this groundwork will make your AI prompts much more defined. The more specific you are, the better and more unique your results will be.
For example, ask the AI to provide headings, then add them to a spreadsheet. For a blog, you’d then ask for an Overview, and cull the different sections. For social media, ask for 10 to 100 descriptions, using a variety of styles and tones, then add those to a spreadsheet.
This way you’re also building a content library to use in your marketing schedule, as well as generating a wealth of ideas for future posts.
In the case of images, not to worry about the copyright issue — the US Copyright Office has decided that AI generated images are not entitled to protection, as they’re not the product of human authorship, so they don’t meet the definition of original.
Once you’ve selected the AI generated messaging you like best, it’s important to take a little time to edit it. AI content quality is never guaranteed.
This is also vital if you want to stand out as a unique brand. You’ll want to tailor all your marketing messaging to match your audience, and create a unique tone of voice that your customer recognize. Generic is super boring and forgettable.
As anyone with marketing experience knows, it’s important to be able to gage your performance so you can find out what works best with your customer base. Setup regular A/B tests to see which prompts deliver good engagement results, and which prompts never to use again.
The good news is that modern AI and software tools will automatically create performance reports for you. But it’s also wise to keep a spreadsheet of your results, highlighting in different colors the pieces of content that do and don’t work.
Now that we’ve understood what AI is, and the right process for working with it, let’s take a walk through what you’ll experience — as a small business owner using it for the first time.
We’ll use RelateSocial as the platform example, since it has ChatGPT built-in, and puts all the social media platforms a small business needs in one easy place.
Sign into your RelateSocial Dashboard. Click the red pen circle at the bottom right of the page to open your AI content generator. Click the blue ‘Write with AI’ button. It’s that easy.
A window opens on your right, with a box called ‘Post topic’. This is where you can begin typing your prompt. The default is short form, as this is for social posts. But you can also use the AI generator for long form content.
The default is also to give you both text and images, but you can choose either or in the drop down menu, next to the ‘Generate’ button.
Click the Regenerate button to see new versions, but typically if the first try is off you’ll want to tweak your prompt. Once you’ve got the content you want, click ‘Use this content’. Or save it as a template.
The following results will demonstrate how widely the results can differ depending on your prompts. We tried many variations, but will list the most revealing ones. We’ll also give you a critique of the text generated, from the perspective of an experienced copywriter.
Prompt Example 1: Most Basic
“sell new boots”
Result — hyped, cheesy, full of emoji’s, nothing unique or engaging. The headline ‘New boots alert’ would do nothing to attract new customers.
Prompt Example 2: Human Context
“write a post selling boots in a darkly humorous way”
“write a post selling boots in an edgy way, like george carlin”
Result — hyped, cheesy, silly. It’s clear AI does not understand the real meaning of darkly humorous, and for the second prompt with George Carlin it merely injected his name and the keyword ‘rebellious’. Less emoji’s at least!
Prompt Example 3: Audience & Style
“Write a post selling leather boots to a 40+ year old audience”
“Write a post selling leather boots in a sophisticated way”
Result — in the first instance, the style of copy was more balanced than previous prompt results, for a wider audience. This could be good baseline copy to work from, to add your own individual style and flair.
In the second prompt where we list ‘sophisticated’, oddly we just got a big block of text (which no-one these days would read), and similar copy to the 40+ result, but with way more mention of the keywords ‘Sophisticated’ and ‘elegance’.
Prompt Example 4: Contrast
“Write a post selling women's leather boots in a sophisticated but humorous way, in the style of the Gucci brand”
Result — now we see how AI gets confused by combining contrasting words like ‘sophisticated’ and ‘Gucci’ with ‘humorous’. The text is all over the place, and the solution is simply to use lots of synonyms for the keywords, which comes across as completely false. By removing the term ‘humorous’ we got a much better result.
Sample: “These boots are not only stylish, but they also possess a secret weapon—humor! 😄🔥 Get ready to unleash your inner prankster while maintaining that oh-so-Gucci sophistication. These boots are the perfect accomplice for your mischievous adventures, turning every step into a playful dance. 💃💥”
Prompt Example 5: Narrowed Down
“Act as a copywriter selling women's leather summer boots, in the style of the Gucci brand”
Result — now we’re getting there. The copy has the timely context of summer to fit people’s current interest, and the Gucci example is naturally quite sophisticated. So it’s clear that examples work well. There are still many phrases that sound tired and canned, so you’ll want to to take some of the best phrases from earlier results to make it truly unique.
Sample: “Ladies, get ready to elevate your summer style with a touch of Gucci glam! Introducing our stunning collection of women's leather summer boots, handcrafted to perfection with the signature Gucci flair. These boots are not just footwear; they're a fashion statement that will make heads turn wherever you go.
🌼 Embrace Unparalleled Elegance 🌼
Designed with the modern fashionista in mind, our Gucci summer boots effortlessly blend timeless sophistication and contemporary trends. Crafted from luxurious leather, these boots exude an air of elegance that will make you feel like a true style icon. Whether you're strolling through the city streets or attending a glamorous soirée, our boots will ensure you're always the center of attention.”
It’s a good thing the RelateSocial AI tool is so easy to play around with, because it takes some time to find your stride for the messaging that will best fit your audience. The Top Tips on AI Prompting above are shown to be true.
Keep in mind that the more original your messaging, the more you will engage customers and build brand recognition, so mix and match message results using different prompts, then take the time to edit them (some of the AI content is very bad and needs culling).
Pro Tip: senior copywriters hate hyped exclamation marks. It comes across as too loud, forced, and cheap. Unless you have a specific audience that loves shouting, smooth down the hype and exclamation marks to instantly get a more professional post.
Same goes for emojis, too many comes across as childish and fake. Make your messaging sound like you’re talking to an friend, explaining the reasons why it would benefit them to buy the product or service. The more genuine it sounds, the better it will convert.
What’s great about the RelateSocial AI is you no longer have to worry about character limits on different social media platforms. The text we chose brought this flagged message: “Uh oh! It looks like you’ve entered too many characters for Twitter. To post, please shorten the text or deselect Twitter as a source.”
With RelateSocial, you also don’t generally have to worry about the prompt because if you’ve chosen to generate text and images, three images related to the text will automatically display. You’ll only need to make a minor tweak or two.
Using the above text example about selling boots, the image prompt was already set i.e.
Generate a flawless, high-quality, pixel-perfect images about 'Act as a copywriter selling women's leather summer boots, in the style of the Gucci brand’, with no distortion by using the best blend of camera type, lens, lighting, camera settings, vibes, resolution, and style. Capture the scene with optimal sharpness, clarity, engaging atmosphere, and minimal post-processing for a professional and visually appealing result. Ensure that the resolution is optimal for online purposes.
With just a few minor tweaks, you can further personalize the images you generate. For example, you may have a sale on blue boots. Note that when we added the following in bold at the end of the prompt, we did not get image results of blue boots. This only happened when we added it at the beginning:
Display blue ankle boots. Generate a flawless, high-quality, pixel-perfect images about 'Act as a copywriter selling women's leather summer boots, in the style of the Gucci brand’, with no distortion by using the best blend of camera type, lens, lighting, camera settings, vibes, resolution, and style. Capture the scene with optimal sharpness, clarity, engaging atmosphere, and minimal post-processing for a professional and visually appealing result. Ensure that the resolution is optimal for online purposes.
Here are some Top Tips for getting the best images from AI prompts::
With platforms like RelateSocial, you get in-built AI to create short and long form content, plus a range of supporting features that make marketing a walk in the park. Other platforms that can save you huge amounts of time and money are RelateReviews and RelateSEO.
But although AI is the new ‘Big Thing’, it’s not a magic wand. It’s a tool, and you need to know how to talk to it (prompts) to generate content that is truly engaging. Keep in mind that with everyone now accessing AI for content creation, if you type basic prompts, you’ll get the same content that the masses use in their marketing. That’s not going to see you standing out from the noise.
For this reason, be sure to edit as well as mix and match the messaging generated by AI. Or if you’re no good at the written word, continue using a copywriter. You’ll still be saving, as they’ll only need to level up your content, rather than research and create it from scratch.
Like all technology, AI is a huge helping hand. But anything truly original can only come from the human mind. So if you want to really shine out from other brands, make sure to pair it with your unique touch.