Artificial Intelligence has been present in popular culture from 1950s space-age novels to Skynet’s time-hopping T-900 terminator to the adorable droid companions of Jedi Knights.
However, in our digitally driven society, AI has carved a space separate from science fiction to play a considerable role in how we learn, interact and do business.
The latest AI craze to enamor the public isn’t self-driving cars or AI-produced social media algorithms. It’s ChatGPT. The chatbot developed by OpenAI has been celebrated and criticized by professors, writers, artists and even marketers.
No matter which camp you align with, ChatGPT has genuine, practical applications for many small business owners and marketing professionals.
What Is ChatGPT?
ChatGPT is a chatbot where users can ask questions about anything and get a response in seconds. You’re thinking, “Big whoop. I see these online all the time.” The thing that makes ChatGPT special is its range of capabilities and the quality of responses.
Let’s get technical for a moment. ChatGPT’s creators trained the chatbot on enormous amounts of data from the internet including news articles, books, websites and more.
It uses a technique called unsupervised learning to understand patterns and relationships of the training data without specific direction. Consequently, it learned a wide range of language patterns and styles and provides text similar to the training data.
Now you’re thinking, “So, it does what Google does? I ask a question and it gives a response?” Not exactly. Some even performed tests to see how it stacks up to the globally dominant search engine and found the two don’t operate entirely the same.
ChatGPT can’t search. It can only use the training data, which includes heaps of information from the web up to 2021. So, it’s likely to find similar results, but it’s not meant for search capabilities.
Then, What Does ChatGPT Do?
On Dec. 5, 2022, five days after its release, 1 million users had already tested ChatGPT. Among the millions of queries, popular ones included writing essays, explaining the complexities of quantum physics, composing music, finding HTML errors in websites and even generating code to produce images.
Many even demonstrated its capabilities on various social media platforms.
It wasn’t all cupcakes and high-fives though. ChatGPT attracted a fair number of critics and skepticism related to job loss at a time when hiring struggles still affect businesses nationwide.
Some even concluded if AI programs possessed a collective knowledge of everything in real time, there would no longer be a need to learn because a robot could do everything for you, effectively putting people of out careers they’ve worked hard to build.
This, of course, is a futuristic scenario. ChatGPT doesn’t have the capability to learn new information in real-time, but it’s certainly a path AI companies are exploring.
One of the biggest bugaboos with ChatGPT came from teachers. ChatGPT can easily write a 1,000-word essay on The Odyssey or any piece of high-school literature. It can even cite sources for you.
Then, others discovered you could sidestep any plagiarism with an online rephrasing tool. Now, OpenAI is working on reducing plagiarism and even including a digital watermark to show the text was AI-generated and give the world of academia some peace of mind.
Using ChatGPT in Your Small Business
One of the most valuable ways ChatGPT can serve your small business is through content creation and brainstorming ideas.
It can write blogs, video scripts, social media posts and SEO. It can suggest keywords, plan a marketing campaign, provide slogan ideas and even write a detailed business proposal.
Additionally, if you have the means to hire a software engineer, ChatGPT can automate customer onboarding, email responses, appointment reminders, answer FAQs from a website chatbox and more.
We put ChatGPT to the test and the results were encouraging. First, we asked it to, “write a social media post for a lawn company trying to entice new customer signups in the spring.”
It responded, “Spring is here and so is the perfect time to freshen up your lawn! Say goodbye to dull and patchy grass, and hello to a lush and green yard. We at [Company Name] are offering a special promotion for new customers — Sign up with us now and get 10% off your first lawn care service. Trust us to make your lawn the envy of the neighborhood. Contact us today and let us help you achieve the lawn of your dreams! #spring #lawncare #newcustomer #specialoffer”
Next, we asked, “Write a 155-character meta description for a webpage about concrete driveway replacement and include Pete’s Asphalt, Tulsa, OK and this phone number (918) 555-1234.”
It responded, “Get your driveway looking like new with concrete replacement by Pete’s Asphalt in Tulsa, OK. Call us today at (918) 555-1234 for a free estimate!”
Furthermore, we asked for keywords for the home page of a salon website, and it produced 20 with an additional suggestion to “include more specific keywords related to your salon service and location, such as ‘haircuts for men’ or ‘hair colors in [city name]’ to target specific search queries.”
It not only produced what we asked but also offered advice to make the keywords more beneficial.
Lastly, we asked it to, “write a 250-word blog post about the importance of regular water heater maintenance.” Then, asked it to summarize the 250-word response into bullet points, which looked like this:
- Regular maintenance ensures water heater runs efficiently
- Regular maintenance prevents leaks and damage to the water heater
- Regular maintenance extends the life of the water heater
- Regular maintenance ensures safety
- Scheduling regular maintenance check-ups with a professional plumber is recommended for maintaining the water heater
Whether you’re stuck on ideas for social media posts, need to sound professional in an email response to an upset customer or want to “wow” investors with a detailed business plan, ChatGPT can help.
We recommend running its responses through a plagiarism checker to cover your legal bases. Also, it might be beneficial to rephrase parts of the AI-generated content to ensure it maintains the voice of your brand.
Although ChatGPT can supply natural, human-like language, it can’t perfectly capture your brand’s established voice — or your personality.
AI Is Integral in Today’s Marketplace
Many forms of AI work in today’s digital marketplace, from face- and voice-recognition software to robot waiters who deliver your food. Heck, Mark Zuckerberg is trying to build one of the most ambitious digital environments that will depend on multiple AI functions.
Keep in mind, with so many people fired up over the new AI, there may be moments when ChatGPT is down. If you can use AI technology like ChatGPT to benefit your small business in any way, give it a try. AI will only get more advanced and ubiquitous as time passes before it’s as commonplace as oxygen in our atmosphere.