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.