Thursday, March 27, 2014

Throwback Thursday: The Evolution and Future of Social Media
When we think of social media, Facebook,Twitter, and the most 'popular' social media sites come to mind.  There are dozens of sites similar to these, and your audience could be on any one of them, at any time. In fact, the number of people on social media continues to increase daily.

To the right, is an infographic about the evolution of social media (Prohibition). As time progresses, more and more social media sites are appearing and each one has its own unique functionality. One way to enhance social media sites is to integrate Virtual Agents (VAs). Here are just a few reason for doing so...
  1. They can answer questions on Blogs/Facebook. Consumers look towards social media to get quick answers to their support and sales questions. Implementing a Virtual Agent onto your blog or Facebook profile will give consumers a fast, reliable option while getting great customer service; and as we know, customer satisfaction via social networks is critical. If one person is unhappy, they often blast negative remarks about your company to their network, discouraging potential customers to shop with your brand. On the flip side, if they are happy with your products/services, they could post a positive recommendation. According to an article in Yahoo! Small Business Advisor, "50% of shoppers have made a purchase based on a recommendation through a social media network" (15 Social Media Statistics That Every Business Needs to Know).
  2. Sharing is another popular function on social media. When you find a solution or cool new product from the Virtual Agent, you have the capability to share that information easily with your network. 
  3. Virtual Agents can be applied to community forum pages as well. For example, when a member posts a question, the Virtual Agent will assess the question and depending on the degree of confidence, it can post the appropriate response automatically. Similarly, the Virtual Agent can be a more passive option, by simply being available to answer questions if engaged by your audience. In both examples, a Virtual chat is beneficial because most community forum pages don't provide immediate solutions. Users can get an immediate response and have confidence that it is the right solution. 
Today, human interaction is still necessary. By realizing the popularity of social media, and considering the benefits of a Virtual Agent, the two go hand in hand. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is already everywhere (Siri, Watson, Google Now, etc.) - Can you imagine a future where Virtual Agents become the 'MVPs' for interacting with your clients in community forums? What about on Facebook/ Blogs?