Two days ago, the social web has been abuzz about the Apple’s new official Twitter account, @appstore. A business who sets-up a Twitter account is no big deal in general however, for tech-giant Apple, this is a major step. Currently, Apple’s social media presence is very limited to a few Twiiter accounts for its iTunes product and fewer official Facebook pages.The company itself is known for ‘snubbing’ social networks by refusing to have an official Facebook or Twitter page for Apple or for any of its other product lines. This is quite strange for a major tech company like Apple. Or not?
Let’s look first at the reasons why a company would want to have social media presence. Whats the goal of every company who is present on social sites?
First thing is to build a loyal fan base. When I say a loyal fan base, I mean people who subscribe to every content you post and who are – more importantly – real and loyal customers in real life. Next is to engage their customers. Companies would like people to talk about their services, products, and offerings. A company with a strong engagement means a lot of people are interested in what the company is doing, which is always a good thing because this means free PR.
Having said this, let’s ask if Apple really need to join the bandwagon and start creating official social networking pages for its company and its major products? My answer is: No.
To begin with, Apple already has a strong and loyal fan base by the millions who “hold on to everything Steve Jobs has to say.” And with that, I mean hold on to everything Steve Jobs says that they should buy. Hence, they do not need an “official” social media presence to build something they already have. (My thoughts on how they were able to do this, I would answer in another post.) What they need is to make sure that they can “upsell” their other services to the millions who already bought their product. Hence, App Store and iTunes has official Facebook and Twitter pages to upsell “Apple-authorized” content to their customers.
For the next reason which is engagement, I believe that Apple already has the best marketing tool to engage people about their product. The tool? Speculation. This has always been the strongest marketing tool for Apple. The less they say about their products or upcoming products, the more engagement they get becuase people enjoy guessing the unknown. This has worked for them and will continue to do so. So given that, having an “official” avenue on social media to directly communicate with consumers is the last thing a company like Apple would want to do becuase doing so would defeat the purpose of speculation.
Now does your company or brand afford not to be officially present on social media ala Apple? My answer again is: No. Unless you have a leader like Steve Jobs who can transform millions (even billions) of consumers into an army of loyal buyers. Unfortunately, almost no company in the world has that.
January 26, 2011. EJM