Looking towards competitors within an industry to gain insight for successes or warnings against failures can often end up being helpful. It can give new ideas that can be adopted or exemplify mistakes to be avoided. Apple is not one of those companies. Apple is quite unique, not just within the computer industry, but among the World’s top brands. This is especially true when it comes to Apple’s use of social media. Apple is known to be a social media recluse, meaning they were either slow to adopt, or have still yet to adopt social media channels. However, Apple is one of the most spoken about and well-known brands there is. How do they do this and what can be learned from them?
Apple takes advantage of digital word of mouth both from media sources and consumers. Using Google Trends, it is visible that Apple (blue) is searched on Google more often than Dell (red), Microsoft (yellow), HP (green) and Samsung (purple), all of which are competitors in either computers and mobile phones.
Digital word of mouth undoubtedly has influence in purchasing power offline, but marketers are encouraged to not see it as a replacement for traditional offline communications. Apple has done just that. They do not just jump at every new social media channel; they consider each option and still rely on face-to-face interaction and traditional marketing. Influence marketing is another way to think about this concept. Consumers are more than happy to leave reviews, ratings, unboxing videos and other user-generated content. Apple does not allow for reviews or ratings on-site; this is rare today because consumers can see this as a lack of transparency, yet it works for Apple. They know that YouTubers, bloggers, and consumers on social media will use their social space to do so, perhaps giving even more exposure. A YouTuber by the name iJustine built her channel on her love for Apple products. Her channel has over 3 million subscribers and her recent unboxing video of the iPhone 7 garnered over 2 million views. This organic and earned media can be extremely effective in both offline and online purchases.
Apple as a whole has had a Twitter page since 2011, which has 656 thousand followers, but zero tweets. Consumers are willing to follow them on social media even when they do not provide content.That is considerable power. @AppleSupport was only started in the beginning of March 2016. Until then Apple offered help to customers through scheduling a phone call or physically going to a retail location. This is seen as a tentative move to hone in on customer service and customer experience management. This is a function that no brand can afford to ignore, not even Apple. Even a social media recluse like Apple acknowledged the need for this type of digital support.