Apple has a strong online presence. However, compared to other companies and even tech giants, it is not as active on its official social media platforms. The company has less than 10 million followers on its Twitter account, around 17 million subscribers on its YouTube channel, less than 15 million likes on its Facebook Page, and around 13 million followers on its Instagram account. It is most active on YouTube but it does not post as much on other platforms nor does it use its social media accounts for paid promotions and customer engagement, unlike other companies. Nevertheless, considering its level of social media activities, the general social media strategy of Apple might seem limited but internet users would agree that it still has a strong social media presence and overall online presence.
Exploring and Understanding the Unique Social Media Strategy of Apple
The company maintains different accounts across different social media platforms. It has specific company accounts but has also created and maintained dedicated accounts for regional markets and specific products. However, as mentioned, the social media strategy of Apple is unique when compared to other companies. It has a minimalist approach and tends to focus more on YouTube. This is a departure from the conventional rules of social media marketing.
Core Principles of Its Social Media Strategy
It would appear that social media marketing is not an essential part of its promotion strategy and social media platforms are not part of its promotion mix and marketing channels. Apple is also not as vocal or transparent as regards its approach to marketing via social media. However, based on its other marketing tactics and activities, and its specific social media behavior, the following principles can be deduced from its social media strategy:
• Focus on Visual Platforms: Remember that Apple is more active on YouTube. It is also active on Instagram. These platforms are visual-oriented. It shares product teasers, product launch events, and product overviews on YouTube while it shares aesthetically appealing photos of its products on Instagram. This is aligned with some of the elements of its product strategy. The company takes its design philosophy seriously and it makes sense for it to focus on visual-oriented social media platforms.
• One-Sided Communication: The company also does not use its social media platforms for customer inquiries and feedback. It also does not respond to negative comments or complaints. This does not mean that it ignores its customers or the public. The company has dedicated communication channels for customer relations. These channels include regional phone lines and customer support representatives in its stores as part of its distribution strategy. It also runs a support account on Twitter.
• Does Not Sell on Social Media: Apple creates and publishes product-related content for its social media platforms. Some of its content are also promoted. However, compared to its competitors, it does not push products as a sales pitch. The company does not use social media to sell. This allows it to direct the attention of its customers or potential customers to its website. This website functions as a dedicated online storefront for providing product information, order placement, and order fulfillment.
• Focus On Sub-Brand Accounts: The company also maintains social media accounts for various sub-brands and products. Examples include dedicated accounts for Apple TV, Podcasts, App Store, and Apple Music. These accounts are more active than its central accounts. Their main purpose is to serve as dedicated channels for disseminating marketing campaigns and promotional activities specific to the sub-brands they represent. The central accounts are focused on products and events.
• Reliance on Other Social Media: Nevertheless, despite its limited social media activities, the company still has a strong social media presence that complements its marketing and promotion strategies. Apple is a household brand and has an established pool of loyal customers. It maintains its digital presence through other promotional tactics and activities that attract coverage from media organizations and content creators, foster online discussions, and stir public interest.
Specific Social Media Tactics and Activities
It is also worth mentioning that the social media strategy of Apple is dependent on other tactics and activities within its promotion strategy and specific digital marketing strategy. The company has limited social media activities because it has established strengths in other promotional tactics and activities. Its social media accounts and the entire realm of social media are used as channels to complement its overall promotion strategy. Take note of the following:
• Event Marketing: Apple has earned a reputation for mounting and hosting events or trade shows that attract the attention of the media, inspire and excite its loyal customers, and pique the interest of the general public. These events are streamed lived or recorded and uploaded on its main YouTube account. Media organizations and content creators also cover these events and create content around them.
• Digital Advertising: The company also places ads on social media platforms. Some of its ads appear on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. These ads can feature content made for the purpose of advertising or existing content boosted or promoted on social media platforms. However, because it relishes expansive media coverage, its level of advertisements is limited compared to its competitors like Samsung.
• Influencer Marketing: Apple does not pay influencers but it still has a specific influencer marketing strategy. The company builds and maintains relationships with media reporters and independent content creators through event invites, product testing, and exclusive access to information. These digital influencers give Apple the needed social media exposure to generate online discussions.
• Public Relations: Some elements of its public relations strategy overlap with its social media strategy. Remember that it builds and maintains relationships with influencers to maximize media coverage and target market reach. These influencers composed of media organizations, their reporters, and independent content creators represent a critical group of its stakeholders that help in promoting its products and brand.
• Marketing Buzz: Apple has also demonstrated expertise in generating buzz on various digital platforms. These include social media platforms. Its events and scheduled product launches, advertising campaigns, and influencer relations give people something to talk about. Buzz marketing helps in drumming up interest in an upcoming product launch or sustaining media and public interest in its new products.