Yesterday I checked in with my good friend Bill Johnston regarding the state of AI in the Online Community space. He and his Structure3C team are the most knowledgeable about it. They have done the research: The Emerging Role of AI in Online Communities: Our 2020 Research.
Many community managers are wary about Artificial Intelligence managing their beloved community. The fear of big brother and the robots taking over runs deep.
Most likely AI or sophisticated algorithms help your community members already for example when they search and the AI serves them the most relevant content.
I want an AI that augments my community activities so that I can scale/maximize my personal touch, helping my members to succeed and feeling truly seen. It would be cool if the AI would even coach me to better interact with my members.
It does wonders to community engagement if you welcome every new member to your community with a personalized email. The more you know about your new members the better you can tailor that welcome message.
There is where an AI buddy would be really helpful. That AI buddy would use the information that a new member shared when signing up and scouts the internet for more information and puts a little profile together regarding that person. It would include pictures; latest blog posts; short bio from Twitter, LinkedIn, …; the last three posts from Twitter/LinkedIn; …
The AI Bot would also match that profile to one of our community member personas and surfaces the most interesting content, events, discussions, for it.
My AI buddy then creates a welcome message draft from that information. Something like this:
Hi <first name>,
Welcome to the <community name>. Hope you find it helpful.
If I am not mistaken, your focus is <area of interest> the member <name and link to the profile of blog post writer> has recently posted the <most shared post from that area of interest> that you may like. Check out the home page for <main area of interest> for more around that topic.
On <date + time in time-zone of new member> there is the <name of event> coming up that you may sign up for.
[if the new member doesn’t have a profile picture yet] I see you have this picture in your LinkedIn profile, is it OK if we copy that to your profile too? You can manage your profile here.
When you have a minute, you could introduce yourself to the community by posting a welcome message. To help you post it we can create a little draft post from the information you shared with us. Click on this link, adjust the text to your liking and post it.
Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions.
Welcome on board, <name of community manager>
As you can see with the support for the welcome post, your members will be helped by your AI Buddy too.
Instead of 40 minutes, the community manager will only need 5 minutes to write a wonderfully personal welcome message to every new member. Currently, it quickly is too much effort to welcome everyone like that, with an AI Buddy, you are able to keep it up much longer.
Having such a template welcome message augmented by an AI buddy available makes it really easy to personalize it, give it the human touch and make the new member feel really welcomed from day one.
Ideally, the AI Buddy learns from the changes I am making when finalizing the email. It also tracks the success rate of new members being engaged. Over time the AI Bot will also know when there is the best time to send a reminder email, again ideally personalized by a community member.
Over time these insights can then be used to coach new community managers to get up to speed much faster.
If we do it right, the AI Buddy will allow you to scale your personal human touch.
One problem is the current limit of what bots are allowed to grab from the walled garden of our social platforms. LinkedIn is notoriously stingy about information. I totally understand that they block a wholesale copy of large amounts of member data. They should get more sophisticated in their approach and open up their APIs for these smaller almost surgical requests for information of one member at a time. Companies would pay good money to access that data.
If you are building such an AI Buddy into your community platform, please reach out, I want this to exist.