Is Social Media For Everyone?

I was reading a blog post recently by Valeria Maltoni (aka ConversationAgent) about Apple and its army of customer evangelists who enthusiastically spread the gospel about new products and genius of Apple CEO Steve Jobs. Part of Apple’s ability to activate and engage customer evangelists is an aggressive and creative advertising effort that saw the company spend nearly $500-million in 2008.

What’s interesting about Apple and its ability to generate amazing amounts of conversations is how it’s not really using social media at a time when many consumer-focused companies are scrambling to get on the bandwagon. Apple seems to be saying that it doesn’t really need to use social media because it has millions of customers using social media on its behalf. In many ways, Apple has been able to outsource social media.

It begs the question: Are there some or many consumer-facing companies don’t need to use social media?

If your customers are using social media to spread the word about your products and services, provide customer service, answer questions and build the brand’s presence, does it make sense for some companies to stay out of the social fray?

Instead, they can feed the machine by generating content that evangelists (and non-evangelists) can use when blogging, tweeting, Facebook updating, etc.

The reality is Apple may be an exception to the rule because social media makes sense for many companies as part of their communications, marketing and sales programs. Then again, it raises the issue of whether social media is for everyone at a time when social media is being trumpeted as a cure-all or silver bullet.

6 Comments on “Is Social Media For Everyone?”

  1. Funny you should post about this – I was just reading The New Rules of Marketing & PR by David Meerman Scott and he talks about tapping into blogs and getting millions of evangelists to tell your story and I just had a conversation with a friend about how we thought that is exactly what Apple is doing.

    They have controlled leaks to certain people which gets the “buzz” about new product (iPad as an example) going. Apple themselves don’t blog but other people blog about Apple. I’m sure they are researching what others are saying, commenting on posts and perhaps shaping conversations with those controlled leaks.

    Who knows, perhaps one day we will see a blog written by Apple but until then…

    Aleksandra S
    (aka @alisaan on Twitter)

    1. Alexsandra,

      I agree that companies with evangelists could rely on them to take the social media lead, although I do think it’s important that companies have a social media presence as well.


    I’m sure that this is a question that many marketing people are asking themselves at the moment.

    One thing that Apple has always done really well is stoked up its fan base by treating fans with respect and giving them insights on the company and what its working on. I’d agree with Aleksandra, if Apple is empowering millions of evangelists to tell its story, then that may be the smartest social media strategy of all. Could Apple have driven more social media buzz on iPad day by launching a large-scale Apple-branded social media campaign? Doubtful in my opinion.

    Twitter: @CarringtonMalin

  3. Apple is a superb social marketer – no matter what channels or tools they use or do not use that are in today’s “social media toolkit” – they kill social marketing.

    Why? they have people, opinion and thought leaders talking about their products ALL THE TIME!!! Online and offline…

    There are other means to social marketing than simply sticking to the obvious social media/networking tools (twitter, blogs, facebook etc.)

  4. Pingback: Does Every Company Need Social Media | Mark Evans Tech

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