Gone are the days when a company or individual identified its reputation based on the fan mails and e-mails they received. Welcome to the era of digital marketing and social engagement where an individual or company boasts its popularity by listing its thousands of likes or hundreds of followers. Facebook and Twitter are now fully accepted as part of a lifestyle more than just a mere past time with Pinterest potentially anticipated being the ‘next big thing’. Every company, individual or brand is taking to social media to directly reach out to their customer increasing transparency as well social engagement. In this entire social media outburst, one company refuses to budge from its closed-door image and join the social bandwagon which co-incidentally happens to be the world’s biggest and most popular tech company, Apple, Inc.
Apple has always maintained its secretive nature be it launching the new iPad or the iPhone 5. As organized and clean as its E-commerce website looks, one strange feature missing from their website is the lack of Facebook or Twitter icons. When other E-commerce companies like Amazon and Macy’s clearly display the social media icons like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest on their product pages, Apple has restricted these to a meager cold, unattractive text hidden in a drop-down menu. So why has Apple not embraced social media? To many this question has been bewildering, while others feel Apple doesn’t need the social media crutch to accentuate its popularity. However, Apple does see some potential benefit in social media and has presence for its sub-brands like iTunes, App Store and iBooks. The strategy of Apple is so unlike its closest competitor Samsung when it comes to launch of a new product. On one hand Samsung marketed its Samsung Galaxy SIII to its 2 million followers on Twitter and over 10 million on Facebook, Apple let the rumor-mill do all the PR. By staying silent and secretive, it has managed to create a stronger buzz, be it the launch of its new iPad or its ‘revolutionary product’, the iPhone 5. Apple crumbled Google’s numbers by selling 11.8m iPads and 35m iPhones in Q1 alone that too without embracing social media. So one questions, should Apple really change its winning formula? Certainly not, but that doesn’t mean Samsung and other tech companies should adopt a non-social behavior and expect similar success.
Apple shying away completely from social media isn’t true, because they tried to roll-out their own version of a social media network by combining Facebook-like engagement in terms of comments, pictures and updates, and pushing song discovery. The inability to share this experience of using Ping on Facebook or Twitter caused people to stay away from experimenting with Ping. With Ping misfiring since its inception in 2010, and not being able to catch on like other social media networks, Apple decided to finally discontinue this venture on September 30, 2012. Steve Jobs built, sustained and revolutionized Apple. So what lies in store for Tim Cook, CEO Apple, Inc. and its social media efforts? Rumors are that the tech giant is looking to acquire the service, The Fancy. This app presents Pinterest-like API targeting product recommendations as its core competency. It also supports E-commerce allowing users to make purchases thus adding value to its service. Apple’s current version its operating system has Facebook integration, highlighting the fact that almost all of its users resort to using Facebook as the most convenient medium to socialize. Looking at Apple’s track record of shocking the world, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Apple continue to adopt a secretive approach and staying away from Social until they discover or create the ‘next Facebook or Twitter’.
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