Apple is a unique case, according to Berkowitz. "There's arguably no other brand in the world with that much love, and practical ownership of the mainstream media to the extent that it can always rely on the press to spread the word for them."
However, Berkowitz also says it's hardly a best practice for Apple to ignore, even neglect, its loyal user base. Considering the strength of Apple's product-focused channels on Twitter, however, it's clear the company employs "at least a competent if not very talented bunch of social media managers."
The company launched its first social media ad campaign just 17 months ago and placed its bets on Tumblr instead of Facebook or Twitter. Apple also hired Musa Tariq away from Nike last summer to become its head digital marketing director. It hasn't exactly reversed course on social media, but it is striking a slightly different stance these days — or at least it's been more active, even if the effort is disjointed. For example, the new Apple Music Tumblr page is consistently updated with details on upcoming features, information about popular artists and other modes of musical discovery. Cook also recently joined Chinese social network Weibo to promote some of the company's latest moves in that country.
The rules don't always apply to Apple, and social media is no different. However, the nuances of social media mean companies that resist the road most traveled can ultimately succeed, and Apple proves this. Solis says that simply launching a branded account on social media to talk to potential customers also isn't always enough. "Think about the majority of branded accounts out there, who's running them, the voice and the person, the governance (or lack thereof) of its engagement. It's an art, it's not a mandate."
Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.