Artificial intelligence and social media are two of the most powerful technologies that exist today. A.I. brings the power of machine learning to increasingly complex tasks, and social media connects people across a fragmented world.
Each will have a profound impact on both marketing and our society as a whole in the near future. That’s why I founded Sensai, an A.I.-powered social media marketing platform for small businesses and creatives.
Our goal is to provide businesses with a powerful social media marketing solution that offers valuable insights to help them better reach target audiences in an ever-changing social media landscape.
The path that brought me to Sensai is winding (I’ve helped build companies on three continents), unconventional (I went from being an environmental lawyer to a professional athlete to a business leader for massive media companies to a tech entrepreneur), and opportunity-based (I pride myself in creating new markets).
During my time working with small businesses, nonprofits and creators in Detroit, I saw they were struggling to navigate through the complex world of social media marketing.
As they competed for attention with major brands with big budgets, they realized social media was not the level playing field they expected. This was mainly because monetization across major platforms resulted in a debilitating decrease in organic growth and exposure.
This is precisely why I founded Sensai:
To help resource-strapped people and organizations find their success on social media.
Social Media: Then vs. Now
Initially, social media platforms served as a new media and marketing frontier where both big brands and fledgling creators could engage with their customers, investors, donors, patrons, partners, and other stakeholders.
I’ve always loved that about social media as a marketing channel and communications medium.
But as paid advertising and promoted posts took over, I watched social media become just another space for huge corporate brands to inundate people, en masse, with their messaging, just like TV and glossy magazines used to be.
Once major social media platforms began that aggressive push toward increasing profitability, gaining exposure on social media required paying for sponsored content.
That’s not only because sponsored posts receive paid exposure, but also because the platform algorithms intentionally decreased the organic exposure brands and companies received via posting.
So I set out to shake things up.
Reclaiming Organic Social Reach
I wanted to help small businesses and creatives reclaim the power social media once provided.
These are the communities I’ve been deeply engaged in for most of my life, whether professionally or through advocacy and activism.
After spending years learning the big media and entertainment trade at MTV Networks, I worked to share that knowledge with independent artists and creatives.
At South by Southwest (SXSW) media and music festival, for example, I served as an advisor to help ensure that the voices of independent creatives were heard.
When I was the Global VP of Music and Content at Bebo, an all-in-one streaming service and social network, my mission was to help connect musicians with a worldwide online audience.
As one of the early pioneers developing major social media platforms, I gained invaluable insights that have gone into building Sensai to ensure that we can go beyond together.
And in Detroit, as I mentioned, I invested heavily — both financially and personally — in helping small businesses, nonprofits, and musicians succeed in the city’s urban center.
So Sensai is a passion project in every sense.
Breaking Through the Noise
I believe small businesses and creatives have important messages and voices worth hearing.
But they’re being drowned out.
I witnessed the impact of social media platform algorithm changes firsthand while working with musicians who relied heavily on social media as a channel to market themselves. When releasing a new single or announcing a tour, they used social media to increase streams and sell tickets. But within the last few years, they noticed it just wasn’t working as well anymore.
Of course, they’re not alone.
Small businesses, artists, athletes, and nonprofits have all seen social media become an increasingly difficult marketing channel to master.
This growing inaccessibility is a major problem because according to our recent national survey of small businesses, 57 percent reported social media to be one of their most critical channels.
These are the increasingly underserved groups we aim to empower. Most importantly, we want them to know there’s still great value in growing a social media audience organically — with the right approach.
Reaching the Right Audience, Every Time
Essentially, we help businesses navigate the complex, algorithm-driven world of social media with practical guidance.
We like to call our approach “augmented intelligence.”
What that really means is we utilize both our proprietary A.I. and our team of human experts to provide customers with surefire strategies and business insights, so busy people don’t have to be experts in the algorithm to be successful.
We use the power of A.I. to “listen” to social media: what people engage with, how they behave on social media, where their trigger points are (in other words, what words and topics they respond to). And we use the power of people to help our clients decipher what the data is saying.
Without an A.I.-powered solution like Sensai, acquiring these data-driven insights require huge expensive analytics teams and multiple enterprise solutions.
Of course, this is how McDonald’s, Nike, and North Face approach social media. But, small businesses hardly have the resources to hire big analytics or social media teams, license expensive technology or to put thousands of dollars per month behind sponsored posts.
However, through machine learning and A.I., we’re now able to make a similar approach accessible to more organizations and businesses.
I believe it’s the most powerful, affordable social media marketing solution currently available. I am especially excited about our complete do-it-for-me Luminary solution, and building on the success we’ve had with organic growth by developing A.I.-enhanced ad buying.
We launched into beta earlier this year, and our customers — who range from prominent environmental nonprofit Surfrider Foundation, to chef Nyesha Arrington, to the legendary Duran Duran, to 29,000 small organizations and artists — have given us great feedback.
“I’ve used Sensai to get strategic advice on posting times, the best channels to use, and which followers deserve to be recognized. Sensai has been like a helpful co-worker who works in another office!” -Katy Krassner, Duran Duran’s amazing social media manager
And we’ve measured their success:
In fact, our active Professional-tier customers have grown their followers 198 percent faster than similar customers who haven’t used our guidance.
And what’s more, I’m confident Sensai will revolutionize social media marketing for any small-to-medium-sized organization ready to take the next step.