By Stephen Rapier, PhD is an Assistant Professor of Marketing at Pepperdine Graziadio Business School
As social media platforms continue to grow, marketers view influencers and their followers as a potential gold mine to promote brands to their audience. One area where influencer marketing has been gaining traction is in the world of chatbots. Chatbots are AI-powered chat interfaces that can converse with users in a natural language.
While many businesses are using chatbots to handle customer queries and provide support, marketers see the potential to use chatbot capabilities to sell products.
Chatbots are sure to be a game-changer in the world of influencer marketing. These AI models aim to converse with users in natural language and provide unique and personalized experiences to users.
Already chatbots are transforming influencer marketing in specific niches. For example, fashion brands are partnering with fashion influencers and using chatbots to provide personalized styling advice to users. Tommy Hilfiger broke new ground in 2016 introducing a chatbot during the New York Fashion Week when the brand announced its partnership with supermodel Gigi Hadid. According to Luxury Society, the main goal of the bot was, and still is, to drive traffic to their website and create a personalized customer experience around their new collection
Another way chatbots impact influencer marketing is by creating a branded experience. For example, a beauty brand could create a chatbot that provides users with personalized skincare recommendations. Sephora, Nivea and Modiface have introduced chatbots to aid in determining skin types and makeover advice. Giving their chatbot an influencer mystique, Nivea has gone so far as to name their virtual assistant Charlotte.
Many chatbots, like Chat GPT, have the ability to converse in multiple languages. Seeing potential, marketers are scrambling to hire linguists who are experts in translating cultural references and language nuances. Marketers understand, by partnering with influencers in different countries, brands can vastly expand the reach and personalized chatbot experiences that are understood and persuasive with local audiences.
To be certain, there are also some potential downsides to using chatbots for influencer marketing. One concern is that users may be wary of interacting with an AI-powered chatbot, as they may feel that their personal information is being shared with a machine rather than a human. Even with a human influencer’s participation, a chatbot may diminish personalities and human qualities.
Another potential issue is the risk of a chatbot making inappropriate or insensitive responses. Chatbots are based on a large dataset of human language. This can include biased and offensive language. While efforts are being made to mitigate these biases, there is still a risk a chatbot could produce inappropriate responses.
Overall, while chatbots have the potential to be a powerful tool for influencer marketing, marketers will be challenged to use it responsibly and ethically. Brands should ensure that users are aware that they are interacting with an AI-powered chatbot and take steps to mitigate risks such as leaking personal information. With the right approach, chatbots can revolutionize the world of influencer marketing and provide a personalized, engaging experience for users.