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CIO: Inside Apple’s odd, yet effective, social media strategy

Credit: REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

By Matt Kapko, CIO


Apple has repeatedly shunned the status quo and routinely defied the odds of success throughout its nearly 30-year history. If there’s one thing Apple proves time and again it’s that it doesn’t have to — nor does it want to — follow the unwritten rules of business, technology or marketing.

While Apple generally distances itself from social media on a corporate level, the company’s CEO Tim Cook and many of its flagship services, including the App Store, Apple Music and Beats1, take a more active and meaningful approach to the medium. The pervasive strength of Apple’s brand means it can break rules other marketers must follow on Twitter, Facebook and other networks without consequence.

“Apple doesn’t need to, nor does it have a history of, communicating updates to either [Twitter or Facebook],” says Brian Solis, principal analyst at Altimeter Group. “Having a Twitter account, if you want it to mean something, takes care, intention and thoughtfulness. At the moment, all of Apple’s needs, and more importantly its customers and stakeholders on Twitter, are covered.”

The rules don’t always apply to Apple, and social media is no different. However, the nuances of social media mean companies that resist the road most traveled can ultimately succeed, and Apple proves this. Solis says that simply launching a branded account on social media to talk to potential customers also isn’t always enough. “Think about the majority of branded accounts out there, who’s running them, the voice and the person, the governance (or lack thereof) of its engagement. It’s an art, it’s not a mandate.”

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2 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “CIO: Inside Apple’s odd, yet effective, social media strategy”

  1. PeterJ42 says:

    Apple is textbook 20th century marketing – controlling a media message, building hype and beating down dissent. Their social media stance comes from the latter – uncontrolled messages open the possibility for negatives to spread. This strategy built Apple’s brand strength and its aloofness and distance from customers is part of the appeal.

    I think of it like a teacher. Some teachers like to be one of the lads, speaking like the kids, sharing thoughts etc. But they get little respect. Others keep themselves distant and position themselves as “above all that”. The less they say, the more they seem apart from and above the hubbub and a myth develops that they know more than they are prepared to impart. So people want more.

    It is a pull strategy which is brave to try and which requires persistence and a strong vision to succeed with. One off-message communication can derail it. But done successfully, it builds a powerful pull and generates strong margins as people want to be part of the magic.

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