This sales/marketing strategy report for Apple Inc suggests a social media marketing strategy for the company. A number of companies and businesses have adopted this type of marketing strategy and it is time for Apple Inc. to adopt the same to achieve its business and marketing objectives. This report proposes social media marketing as an approach that should be taken by the company over the next ten years. It highlights the customer target market for the proposed strategy while highlighting how the company can use social media in the selling process. It also provides the assumptions, advantages, and disadvantages of social media marketing. It concludes by suggesting the specific steps that should be taken by the company in implementing the proposed strategy.
Apple Inc. is without a doubt one of the most successful corporations in recent times. It has been hailed for its commitment to the development of both industry-disrupting and innovative products and is a dream employer for many individuals looking to work in the tech sector. It is also one of the leading multinational firms that offer a wide range of products and services related to electronics, computers, phones, and software. For several years now, the company has been engaged in accomplishing its corporate goals and objectives. It is because of this that the company is highly regarded by its customers. Unlike its close competitors, Apple launches its products almost once every year. This is usually done with the aim of strengthening attachment to its customers and users of its products as well as increasing the duration during which customers retain Apple’s products. Other than focusing on the design and specifications of its products, the company also focuses on how its existing and new products are delivered to new and potential markets. Since its inception several years ago, Apple Inc. has been relying on empathy as its principal marketing strategy. This is a marketing strategy where the company understands its customers and connects with them at a deeper level. In this strategy, Apple’s focus is to meet the innermost desires of its customers while providing them with products that are of great importance to them to the point that they can hardly live without it.
With many rival companies currently using Apple Inc’s marketing strategy of empathy, it is more than fundamental for the company to embrace or add a new marketing strategy to the already existing ones. The increased and widespread use of technologies such as computers and the internet has resulted in social media platforms that form an integral part of day-to-day communication in society today. Thus, the adoption of a social media strategy over the next ten years could prove pivotal to the company particularly in the achievement of its business and marketing objectives. One of its business and marketing objectives is to record an increase in sales thus increasing its market share in the global market. Other business and marketing objectives of the company that could be achieved in the next ten years through the adoption of social media marketing are building hype and anticipation for its new products, sustaining and expanding on a strongly branded name, as well as increasing profit margins. The approach taken in discussing Apple Inc’s marketing strategy is focusing on the next ten years and where the company wants to be within that period. Undoubtedly, adoption of a social media marketing strategy in the next ten years could be crucial to the company’s ability to attract and retain new customers.
Customer Target Market for the Strategy
By adopting a social media marketing strategy, it is highly likely that Apple will reach a number of targeted customers in somewhat a diverse marketplace. Currently, Apple’s is known for high-quality service and products and it targets a variety of consumers although this is largely dependent on income levels. For the social media strategy, a major target market for the company are middle age consumers and college students who spend most of their time on and are well conversant with social media platforms and can get information about Apple’s products from the platforms. By marketing of its products and services and products on today’s social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter, the company can reach a large number of potential customers.
According to Pew Research Center’s survey on social media use in the U.S. in 2018, young and middle age adults are the heaviest users of social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat. The survey indicates that notable majorities of U.S. adults use sites such as Facebook and YouTube. However, young adults between the ages of 18 and 24 embrace a variety of social media platforms and go to the extent of using them frequently. For instance, based on the survey, approximately 78 percent of young adults between 18 and 24 years use Snapchat and out of this figure, 71 percent visit the Snapchat platform several times in a day (Smith and Anderson). The survey further reveals that approximately 71 percent of American adult between 18 and 24 years use Instagram with approximately 48 percent being Twitter users. Roughly 68 percent of U.S. adults report using Facebook with around 75 percent of these users confessing to using or accessing the site on a day-to-day basis. Further research done shows that approximately 88 percent of American adults between 18- and 29-years report using any form of social media. For adults between the ages of 30 and 49, 78 percent of them report using any form of social media. The figure falls to 64 percent for adults aged between 50 and 64 and falls further to 37 percent among American adults aged 65 and older (Smith and Anderson). The figure below illustrates social media use in the U.S. in 2018 based on age.
Figure 1: % of U.S. adults based on age using social media platforms (Smith and Anderson)
Based on these figures, it is evident that the young and middle age adults are heavy users of various social media platforms. Thus, they should be the major target market for Apple Inc’s proposed social media marketing strategy. From the figures above, the company would be able to reach a more significant percentage of the targeted population through social media than through existing or other marketing strategies.
Although most brands are warming up to social media marketing in an effort to stay afloat in the social atmosphere, Apple Inc has little of that. Despite being one of the leading brands globally, Apple had a total of 12, 921,598 followers on both Facebook and Twitter as of 2018 (Hessler). This is even worsened by the fact that the tech giant had not posted anything on the two platforms on the two platforms at the time. It is only on Instagram that the tech giant puts a little effort with 4.7 million followers and 151 posts as of 2018 (Hessler). From these figures, the company could lose significant ground in the coming years and it has no alternative but to invest heavily in and adopt social media marketing.
How Can Social Media Be Used in the Selling Process
Social media in addition to other marketing strategies used by various companies can help to get sales rolling. A number of corporations such as Samsung, Coca Cola, Google, and others are effectively using social media to increase their sales and ultimately competitiveness. One of the ways social media can and is effectively being used in the selling process is that it enables companies to be where their targeted audience or customers are (Barker). One of the key rules of social media marketing is to ensure that only platforms that the targeted audience uses are used. It would be inappropriate for Apple Inc., for instance, to sign up for LinkedIn and expect to find its targeted young and middle age adults there. Most of these customers use platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Thus, Apple Inc can resort to being on almost all social media platforms although this can be time-consuming.
Social media’s effectiveness in the selling process can also be witnessed in working with social media influencers (Barker). In recent years, influencer marketing has become popular and it works for many companies who have embraced the same. Studies show that approximately 40 percent of people using Twitter are most likely to purchase a product once they come across an influencer’s tweet. It is also believed that social media users trust influencers as much as they trust their friends, and thus, their purchasing decisions are largely determined by social media influencers. Apple Inc. should consider promoting its brand and products on social media platforms through influencers as this can drive sales and help achieve its business and marketing objectives. Apple Inc can consider getting social media influencer feature its products particularly its iPhone product in their tweets, photos, or videos alongside telling engaging and unique stories about these products. The company can also consider working with social media influencers who give positive and honest reviews about its specific product as well as providing tutorials on the benefits and how the products can be used.
Companies are also currently effectively using social media by turning loyal customers on these platforms into brand advocates (Barker). In this case, Apple can use its existing customers on various social media platforms as brand advocates by enticing them to promote its products in exchange for either discounts or freebies. A perfect way of coming across loyal customers on social media platforms such as Instagram is conducting searches using hashtags and keywords related to a specific brand or name of a particular product. This can enable the company to find people who post content about its brand. This way, Apple can have several brand advocates across social media platforms and this could result in a significant increase in its sales. The creation of valuable content for the purposes of educating and enticing audiences is another way Apple Inc can use social media in the selling process (Barker). In this strategy, the content must always be engaging and compelling enough to have the audience or target customers enticed into making a purchase. There are several examples or cases of companies such as Coca Cola and Pepsi that create short videos of their products and post them on their social media pages for viewership. In the strategic videos, Apple can provide crucial tips on how its products can be used or where they can be purchased. This approach in itself provides target customers with more reasons why they should be buying a particular product thus resulting in more conversions.
Another way Apple Inc can use social media in the selling process is by investing in social media advertising as is already being done by several corporations. Currently, there are millions of social media users. However, a company’s marketing efforts may be ineffective if social media users have not heard of a brand before. A way of overcoming this is investing in social media advertising. In every social media platform from Facebook to Twitter, there is always the option of promoting content or creating ads (Barker). Through this, companies such as Apple can ensure higher visibility for their brands and products among the targeted audience. With increased visibility, chances of increasing sales on social media are high. Instagram recently came up with the option of advertising products through Instagram stories, which ca be done alongside regular advertising.
Assumptions, Advantages, And Disadvantages of Using the Strategy
|· Social media is the most effective or best way of reaching generation Y and generation Z consumers.
· Social media is not important or effective for B2B service providers.
· Although a firm’s or business’s presence in social media is great, it is not essential.
· Social media is just but an adjunct to main marketing.
· Everything posted by a company or business on social media can be seen by all followers.
· Social media marketing strategy is usually an instant success.
|· Helps to increase brand recognition and brand awareness as the business or company engages a large number of potential customers.
· Provides an opportunity for the acquisition of new customers and assures more inbound traffic.
· It results in improved search engine rankings where the brand’s ranking on search engines such as Google rises.
· Social media marketing comes with increased visibility that leads to higher conversion rates.
· Customer engagement on social media results in better or improved customer satisfaction.
· It is considered one of the most cost-efficient advertising strategies.
|· Social media marketing is usually outsourced or carried out by different departments that can tarnish the name of the brand due to lack of full understanding of the company’s vision or values.
· SMM exposes brands to unsatisfied customers who can jeopardize the company’s relationship with other potential customers.
· SMM is limited in its ability to be creative and can create less of an impact for the targeted customer.
· SMM is considered a long-term investment as results cannot come as quickly as witnessed with traditional media.
What Apple Should Do to Start Implementing the Proposed Strategy
Apple should take specific steps in its implementation of the proposed social media marketing strategy. One of the steps that the company should take is to determine its goals where it focuses on what it looks forward to getting out of social media participation (Gunelius). Another step for the company is to evaluate its resources alongside determining who will be responsible for the creation of content and management of various social media accounts. Also, the company should identify its audience and know where the targeted audience spends most of their time in social media. This should involve delving into the content and type of conversations that they targeted audience is engaged or most vocal about. Moreover, the company should ensure that traditional marketing strategies of print and mass media work in collaboration with social media marketing (Gunelius). Most importantly, the company should ensure that the targeted audience takes control of the conversations online and have them develop an emotional attachment to the company.
Barker, Shane. “7 Simple Ways to Drive Sales on Social Media [With Examples].” Medium, Strategic Content Marketing, 26 Mar. 2018, medium.com/strategic-content-marketing/7-simple-ways-to-drive-sales-on-social-media-with-examples-8012193aa2fb.
Gunelius, Susan. “10 Steps to Getting Started in Social Media Marketing.” Entrepreneur, 25 Nov. 2010, www.entrepreneur.com/article/217578.
Hessler, Nick. Apple’s totally bizarre social media strategy that makes perfect sense, https://medium.com/@nick_hessler/apples-totally-bizarre-social-media-strategy-that-makes-perfect-sense-a10d050f4d46
Smith, Aaron, and Monica Anderson. “Social Media Use 2018: Demographics and Statistics.” Pew Research Center: Internet, Science & Tech, Pew Research Center: Internet, Science & Tech, 19 Sept. 2018, www.pewinternet.org/2018/03/01/social-media-use-in-2018