Robots are taking over the world.

Okay, that’s not totally true, but artificial intelligence (AI) is transforming industries across the board, and small businesses stand to benefit tremendously from these emerging technologies. From streamlining operations to boosting sales, AI-powered solutions present powerful opportunities for growth.

This article was inspired by insights from a recent webinar featuring Ben Fisher, co-founder of Steady Demand, Steve Wiideman, CEO and Sr. Search Strategist of Wiideman Consulting Group, and our very own in-house expert, Justin Meredith. Read on to learn practical ways you can harness AI to drive results and scale your success.

Top AI tools for small businesses

With the rapid evolution of AI, new platforms and tools seem to emerge every day. To make the most of AI, it helps to know the top tools and what they offer.

Example of typing an AI prompt to streamline marketing processes.
  • Claude:  Features robust memory and ability to digest long content. Great for refining prompts and writing long-form content.
  • ChatGPT:  Strong natural language capabilities. Useful for early prompt drafting and plug-ins like summarization tools.
  • Midjourney:  Leading platform for AI image generation based on text prompts. Creates original brand assets.
  • Google Bard: Lacks midjourney’s creative range but accurate for factual content and conversational queries.

With so many tools out there — and more options popping up each day — It can be challenging to cut through the noise and determine which solutions are right for your needs. Birdeye makes the choice easy. Thanks to BirdAI, the entire Birdeye platform is infused with AI capabilities designed to streamline processes and grow your business as efficiently as possible. 

Crafting effective AI prompts

While today’s AI tools are powerful, they rely heavily on the prompts provided to produce useful results. That’s why mastering the art of strategic prompting is so crucial — it’ll allow you to fully unlock AI’s capabilities. 

One effective technique is to use a prompt ladder. The basic idea of a prompt ladder is to start with a simple prompt and gradually build on it with more details and instructions. Here are a few additional tips to help you get the results you want out of your prompts: 

  • Start with a basic prompt summarizing the overall task.
  • Add more details on what you want — tone, length, formatting, etc.
  • Give specific instructions to refine the output.
  • Use guardrails stating what to include/exclude.
  • Assign a specific role for the AI, like writer, designer, or SEO expert.
  • Ask questions and give step-by-step instructions when needed.
  • Avoid unnecessary words that waste tokens like “please” and “thanks.”
Example showing how to write an AI prompt ladder to streamline SEO.

4 Ways to use AI to grow your business 

Now that you know what AI tools you can use and how to craft effective prompts, it’s time to dive into the different ways AI can help you grow your business. 

1. Leverage AI for SEO

AI can be a game changer when it comes to your online reputation. It serves as a fantastic brainstorming tool to generate SEO-friendly content, identify trends, and more. A few ways you can use AI to streamline your SEO efforts include: 

  • Identifying competitors through AI assistants.
  • Extracting titles, headings, and keywords from top-ranked sites to inform SEO content.
  • Checking technical SEO issues like site security, speed, and accessibility.
  • Generating descriptions and business information and automatically updating business listings. 
  • Fixing grammar and spelling errors in content.
Man using AI to list his business in directories.

Want to learn more ways to leverage AI for SEO? Watch the full webinar here

2. Optimize website experiences

AI chatbots allow you to engage website visitors in real-time through conversational interfaces. With customized and natural responses as well as seamless hand-offs to human agents when needed, chatbots enable your business to provide smooth and satisfying digital experiences.

Other types of AI website enhancements, like providing personalized product or content recommendations, can also keep customers more engaged during their visits. By leveraging data about individual preferences and purchase history, you can provide tailored suggestions for other products or services that align with customers’ interests. This leads to higher conversion rates as visitors are presented with more relevant offers.

3. Streamline customer service

Providing excellent customer service across channels is essential, but it can be challenging with limited resources. AI and automation can help you deliver consistent, efficient support experiences across platforms like phone, email, live chat, social media and more.

AI chatbots and virtual assistants can handle common customer inquiries, complaints, and requests. This saves staff time from repeating the same answers and lets them focus on handling complex, high-value customer issues.

Smart AI routing algorithms can also ensure customer emails, calls and social media messages get to the right human team members with relevant expertise. Additionally, AI tools can summarize support tickets, chat logs, and social media data to identify trends and issues causing spikes in certain types of customer contacts. 

4. Smarter social media marketing

Infusing AI into social media marketing is a great way to increase reach and engagement. AI social media management tools can analyze audience data and activity to suggest ideal posting times when fans are most active. AI can also generate and optimize social media captions and creative assets tailored to each platform’s algorithms and user preferences.

Woman using AI to generate social media posts and captions.

Key takeaways

  • Assess AI opportunities aligned to business goals and customer needs. Look for high-potential use cases.
  • Seek tools that integrate smoothly into existing systems for easy adoption.
  • Train staff to utilize AI capabilities effectively and focus on more strategic tasks.
  • Start small with measurable goals and refine AI applications over time based on impact.

Check out our Local Search Expert Series

The possibilities of AI will only continue to evolve to bring transformative benefits to companies and customers alike. By selectively adopting the right AI solutions for your specific needs and optimizing applications over time, you can leverage these tools to drive sustainable success and scale.Ready to dive deeper into how to leverage AI to transform your small or local business? Be sure to check out the full webinar that provided the inspiration for this post. From leveraging AI for SEO and online reputation to streamlining operations and boosting sales, they explore a wealth of use cases and tips businesses can start applying today.