Social Bots and Their Effects on Businesses
2018 March 30
Bots are computer programs that are usually autonomous. They are programmed to achieve a certain task and can function without user intervention. Bots are often used to analyze large amounts of data, maintain databases, and automate various other routine tasks.
With the rapid advancements in the field of AI and language processing, social bots can now take on the responsibility of maintaining an online presence for businesses and individuals. Social bots are a variety of chatbots that generate and share messages, tweets, and other forms of content.
There are Twitterbots that post tweets on a regular basis, Facebook bots that post content for organizations, and chatbots that interact with various users on multiple forums to answer queries and provide customer support.
They can follow other social media users and even support campaigns. The rise of the bots can be clearly noticed in the major role they played during the 2016 election of USA.
AI is slowly automating a lot of activities in the industry. Machine-operated activities require no human intervention and thus leaves little room for error.
What does this mean for businesses?
The use of bots in the field of marketing does not limit itself to posting advertisements. AI and social bots also play a key role in connecting customers with the right businesses. A lot of sectors use social bots for customer support and assistance.
Bots can enhance the user experience by providing real-time customer support. Imagine ordering a take-out using a mobile app. A bot can automatically detect the nearest running restaurants, sort them according to your preferences, and present to you the best options.
Bots don’t replace human interaction, they just make the process of finding what the customer is looking for really simple. It also is a cheaper solution as no human employee is required.
Badly programmed bots and hacking
Bots, even though are advantageous, are not completely risk-free. Badly programmed bots can have major impacts on your customer base. News of the flaws in your customer interaction will spread soon as bots are always operational.
You need to understand that bots don’t actually “understand” things like humans. They are programmed to achieve a task repeatedly and cater to user inputs and changes based on pre-written codes.
Unless carefully tested before use, a bot can misrepresent your organization. Bots on Twitter might like or retweet content based on the hashtags that they have been coded to follow. It is advised to be careful and monitor bot activities closely on Twitter.
Some businesses choose to artificially boost their number of likes and followers on social media by using bots. It is not usually advised unless the bots themselves have a large number of followers.
Also, bots can be used to spread false content and misinformation on social media. Cyber-criminals often use bots to scavenge the Internet and collect user data. Bots can be used to infiltrate and remotely operate other computers.
Needless to say, AI is a powerful tool. When used with caution and the right intention, it can greatly reduce human efforts and overhead costs. We would be seeing more and more activities in the industry being replaced by machines with AI that are capable of improving over time.
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Posted In: Social Media and Digital Marketing