To better engage customers on social media platforms, more than half of marketers in Singapore are using generative artificial intelligence (AI) tools to develop more relatable, better-performing content, HubSpot said Wednesday.

The customer relationship management (CRM) platform for scaling companies said in a study that nearly all (91 percent) social media marketers in Singapore view AI as a crucial component of any successful social media strategy.

According to the statement, more than half (59 percent) of respondents are already using generative AI tools to create social media content.

Among social media marketers in Singapore using generative AI to create content, nearly two-thirds (61 percent) say content made with AI performs better.

Meanwhile, more than half of respondents shared that AI could not only help them create content that is more tailored to the interests of their target audience (54 percent), but also do so at a faster pace (53 percent).

While Singapore’s social media marketers are leveraging AI for various purposes, the top three use cases for generative AI tools include repurposing content to meet the needs of different audiences (35 percent), writing copy for social media content (31 percent), and getting ideas or inspiration (30 percent).

AI is most often used to create short-form videos (39 percent), captions (32 percent), and images (31 percent).

“Marketers that are constantly challenged by the density of social media content needs can leverage generative AI to alleviate resourcing constraints,

“Generative AI tools can provide teams with data-driven suggestions for better content ideation, and also help to develop or repurpose content for different audience groups,” said Kat Warboys, Marketing Director for Asia Pacific, HubSpot.

According to her, this approach enables marketers to effectively engage a wide range of customer segments at speed and scale.

“Automating these time intensive tasks ultimately empowers human teams to dedicate their attention towards augmenting AI-developed content with a level of creative input that is difficult for machines to replicate,

“Singapore’s continued commitment towards AI in its latest budget will also prove timely, creating a foundation to spur local AI adoption that marketers can also tap on to enhance their competitiveness,” she added.

The study also showed social media to become the preferred retail channel for Singapore consumers in 2024

According to the study, nine in ten social media marketers in Singapore foresee that more consumers in the city-state will opt to buy products directly from brands through social media platforms as opposed to third-party websites (92 percent), or from the brand’s website (90 percent) in 2024.

Nearly all respondents (93 percent) predicted that local brands will adopt social commerce strategies in response to this shift.

It is noted that today, social media marketers in Singapore are selling on several social media platforms, which each register varying levels of effectiveness.

Among marketers already engaging in social commerce, more than seven in ten (73 percent) perceive Instagram’s social shopping features to offer the highest return on investment (ROI), followed by Facebook (71 percent) and YouTube (71 percent).

Close to nine in ten (87 percent) respondents also agreed that social search should be essential to these strategies, with nearly all (92 percent) anticipating consumers to search for brands on social media more often than on search engines in 2024.

“85 percent of Singapore’s population is estimated to be social media users making it home to some of Southeast Asia’s most avid users,

“They also have a propensity to use these platforms for brand discovery and research, making social media a key retail channel that marketers cannot ignore,” said Warboys.

According to her, B2B brands in particular need to adapt their approach to match the B2C experience that customers today have come to expect.

“Moving ahead, we are likely to see B2B brands moving away from factually accurate but often over engineered or very generic material in favor of relatable, authentic and engaging content on social media to win audience attention and influence purchasing decisions,” she added.

The study also revealed that active communities are critical for brand engagement.

According to the study, nearly nine in ten (89 percent) social media marketers in Singapore believe that an active online community is a vital component to the success of their social media strategy.

Respondents shared that the top benefits of building a social media community include incentivizing user-generated content (31 percent), improving customer experience (26 percent), attracting more followers or subscribers (22 percent), in addition to strengthening brand awareness, customer retention, connections among their customers, as well as trust between the brand and customers (19 percent).

More than half (58 percent) of respondents said that their organizations were investing in building communities, laying the foundations to capitalize on social commerce growth opportunities.

Of this number, nearly three quarters (72 percent) are planning to increase their investment into building social media communities in 2024.

One in three (36 percent) social media marketers who have not begun building social media communities planned to do so this year.

The study also showed short-form videos, as well as authentic, relatable content, are key to reaching customers.

According to the study, social media marketers in Singapore are currently leveraging an average of three content formats, with the most common being short-form videos (44 percent), live videos or streaming (41 percent), and user-generated content (31 percent).

Nearly eight in ten (77 percent) respondents believed that short-form video offered the highest ROI of any format.

The focus on short-form video is set to continue growing in 2024, with three quarters (75 percent) of respondents set to increase their investment into the content format from the previous year.

The study also identified several content types that resulted in the biggest ROI for social media marketers in Singapore, indicating their appeal to local audiences.

These include funny content (34 percent), interactive content such as polls or games (17 percent), as well as relatable content (15 percent).

However, social media marketers in Singapore are concurrently focusing on additional content types, and also increasing investments into content that is authentic / behind the scenes (62 percent), relatable (61 percent), educational / informational content (60 percent).

“Authenticity plays a vital role in social commerce, influencing purchase decisions and perceptions of a product,” said Warboys.

According to her, brands should embrace a shift towards less-edited content and explore collaborations with creators which tend to be perceived as more genuine and relatable by viewers.

“This creates an opportunity for brands to deepen connections with customers by boosting trust and credibility, especially on platforms such as TikTok built around fast growing formats such as short-form video,” she added.

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