Last week, after publishing a review of Apple’s new iPad ad, I habitually went over to my Facebook and Twitter accounts to share the link with my friends and colleagues. Whenever I do reviews, I frequently tag the respective brand’s handle in my social media posts so that it triggers an alert for whoever is handling the account. At the end of the day, the idea is to get the brand’s attention, share what I feel about it and increase the visibility of my article. But what happens when the brand has virtually no social media presence? How do you tell the brand that you love it, hate it or what you feel about it? That is exactly what happened when I was tagging Apple in my post and noticed that the brand has exactly zero activity on social media.
I found Apple’s two main accounts – a Twitter account (@apple) which has not tweeted and a Facebook page which is blank. I was baffled. In an era of hyper connectivity, when brands are enthusiastically trying to post content, interact with consumers and then evaluating likes and shares, why would Apple let go of a golden opportunity to reach consumers? Is Apple being lazy? Or arrogant? Does Apple believe that its products are so good that there is no need for the brand to engage with users online? Apart from the verified Facebook and Twitter accounts, the flagship Apple brand has an Apple support (@applesupport) Twitter page which addresses complaints and technical grievances. Apple also has a moderately active Instagram account and the official YouTube channel, where all comments are disabled.
So technically, the brand is not completely away from social media but there is mostly a one-way communication. A brand needs to show that it cares and it is available. There is nothing to lose by creating an online community of Apple lovers. An active online presence creates a relationship with consumers and gives a voice to the brand. While Apple already has a strong base of loyal customers, there is no harm in participating in a two-way discussion. This can often open doors to new ideas, exchanges and allow the brand to understand better, what Apple fans want.
Maybe it is not the brand’s style and maybe the answer to why Apple ignores social media resides in what it boldly proclaims: “Think Different”. Apple always wanted to be different and do things differently. The brand’s conscious decision to stay away from social media could, in fact, be a social media strategy. Even though silent on both major platforms, it is still one of the most talked about brands. It is quite a paradox. One cannot deny that there is a lot of noise online and finding a way to be heard above all that noise is no easy feat. Whether it is a Facebook post that backfires or tweeting from the wrong account, the biggest of brands have made blunders online. Come to think of it, Apple has cleverly managed to avoid unnecessary controversy by steering clear of social media. At the same time, its discreet communication policy makes us curious to find out what the brand is coming up with next. Apple is using silence to generate hype.
There are reports that say Apple plans to launch its very own social media network. Down the line, it will be interesting to see how a hip, new app from Apple changes the social culture. But let’s face it. There is something powerful about being the odd one out.
Apple surely knows how to stand out.