Even if you own every Apple device under the sun, there’s a chance you’ve never interacted with the tech giant on any social media platform.
Well, for one thing, Apple doesn’t have a social media strategy on most platforms. You could also say Apple’s social media strategy is to avoid a social media presence at all.
The whole concept is pretty wild, especially for a global industry-dominating tech brand.
Now, that’s not to say Apple’s presence is completely non-existent everywhere. Let’s break it down piece by piece and see what we can learn…
A search for Apple across social media platforms delivers official pages but they’re much more barren than you might expect from someone like Apple.
Remember, this is the company charging nearly $1,000 USD for a monitor stand and $160 for wireless headphones. They could certainly afford to staff, create content for, and manage their pages – but they don’t.
Apple does have a dedicated Facebook page with over 13 million followers, but they haven’t gone through the hassle of verifying their official page.
No one posts regular content to the Facebook page either. The only updates you’ll find are for new cover photos. Apple hasn’t even shared a video in over two years.
Although the tech giant has run ads in the past, Facebook’s transparency tool shows that Apple isn’t even currently running any ads at the time of writing this.
Here’s another interesting thing about Apple’s Facebook page. In the comments section of every cover photo update, you’ll see nothing but complaints:
Shipping, problems with products, bad customer service, etc., etc.
That’s not even the most interesting part.
Notice how Apple doesn’t send anyone in for damage control? It appears they don’t have anyone on staff to manage their customer service via social media. And from the looks of the responses, they don’t need to either! Instead, other followers swiftly jump to Apple’s defence.
That’s just how loyal Apple’s customer base is.
Apple is basically absent from Twitter as well – even more so than Facebook since Twitter doesn’t really publicise your cover photo updates.
Although, Apple clearly does regularly update its Twitter cover photo as it’s currently the same as their December 26 Facebook change:
Apple doesn’t even follow anyone on Twitter – not even the CEO Tim Cook! Despite their lack of content, Apple still enjoys 5.8 million followers on the platform.
However, Apple does have about a dozen Twitter accounts for its products, partners, and subsidiaries. Including Apple Support: A Twitter page designed to provide much-needed customer service via social media. The Apple Support page follows a handful of pages – all of which are fairly active too.
Here’s where things get interesting. Apple is extremely active on Instagram, posting new content several times a week and regularly updating their story.
It’s really riveting stuff too…
But there’s still a caveat to Apple’s Instagram strategy: It’s almost all user-generated content or user-created content Apple commissioned:
Maybe. But knowing what we know about Apple’s fairly non-existent social media presence, it’s more likely they hire someone in-house to manage their campaigns.
It’s hard to see Apple trusting an outside agency with secretive product announcements.
What about Apple’s subsidiaries and partners like Apple Music and Apple News? They might hire an agency for those accounts.
Well, Apple doesn’t really make any content.
The tech giant doesn’t even have a blog on their site – just a newsroom.
Almost all the content on the official Apple Instagram page is user-generated. Good luck finding anything directly from Apple themselves. Instead, it seems like Apple wants to promote how customers use their devices, specifically the camera and related tools.
We can’t be sure if Apple pays influencers in cash but we do know it partners with YouTube influencers for endorsements, for one thing.
We also know that Apple is big on traditional “influencer” methods. Specifically, product placement.
You couldn’t watch an episode of Silicon Valley without seeing an Apple iPhone or MacBook – among other references to the brand.
Apple’s Instagram account also admits it’s commissioned certain Instagram videos and pieces of content. Most of such includes videos explaining how to use the cool features of Apple products.
Apple’s lack of consistent social media content actually tells us quite a bit. Less is more, value trumps everything, centralised control matters, and thought leadership dominates – just to name a few key points.
It’s extremely simple but a major takeaway from Apple’s presence: less is more. Publish less from your official account, and people will view your content as exclusive and mysterious.
Most brands can’t get away with doing nothing on social media but updating their cover photo. However, we can take the less is more concept to heart with our content.
Take a minute to re-evaluate what you’re publishing and how often. Do you really need to post that update or tweet? Who are you posting for and why?
Apple’s social media strategy can teach us to focus on quality over quantity, for one thing.
Apple clearly isn’t comfortable hiring someone to manage their Facebook comments and replies – or even post curated content for that matter.
Instead, there’s a clear centralised control over everything official Apple accounts publish on social media.
Make sure you have a set of brand guidelines for social media, first of all. Lay out your social media voice across each platform, image filters, colours, and logo watermarks.
With strict guidelines, your content will always look and sound consistent and on-brand no matter who’s publishing it.
Most of us can’t take the hands-off approach to social media that Apple does, but we can use Apple’s social media strategy as a reality check.
Social media certainly isn’t everything.
Instead, look for other ways to connect with your customers in-person, at events, offering free samples, and meeting your audience where they’re at.
Apple might not be active on most social media apps, but CEO Tim Cook sure is – and he’s full of spicy hot takes. Most recently, Tim Cook took a jab at Facebook while promoting the iOS 14’s new privacy features:
This shows us how important thought leadership is to branding. Anyone who runs a Facebook page will tell you that their personal Facebook account gets way more engagement than their branded page.
The fact is, people use social media to connect with other humans so thought leadership is key to forming these connections.
Apple does not care about promoting new features. Even as they dominate the world’s operating systems and handheld devices, Apple remains focused on the value you get from their products.
Take their Instagram presence for example. They’re not just pumping out content about how awesome Apple products are. No, they show us how people like us use Apple products.
Even the commissioned pieces are from artists and designers demonstrating new ideas for using Apple products to their full potential.
We could all stand to take this message to heart.
Watch a major film and it’s almost guaranteed you’ll see an Apple iPhone, MacBook, or some other device. Product placement is a major staple of Apple’s general promotional strategy.
Some have even pointed out that Apple won’t let “bad guys” use their devices either.
Most of us might not be able to afford product placements on the level of Apple, but we can get our hands into certain niche influencers and others who can help promote it to the right audiences.
Finally, Apple’s Instagram shows us that it’s all about the customers – not Apple.
Each post and story is a piece of user-generated or commissioned content. You won’t find a single piece of content Apple created themselves.
Remember why you’re using social media in the first place. Hopefully, you use social media to connect with your customers.
Focus less on self-promotion and more on using your brand’s social media platform as a tool for bringing your audience together. Develop new user-generated content strategies, contests, and storytelling prompts to get the conversations flowing.
It takes a certain level of confidence and frankly, global domination, to carry yourself on social media the way Apple does. For all we know, Apple could be holding back on building a Facebook and Twitter presence because it has plans to develop its own alternative social media platform. Who knows at this point?
While I wouldn’t suggest anyone attempt Apple’s social media strategy, you can take some notes from their presence (or lack thereof) and use it to build your own loyal base.