Social Media and Marketing Tips to Learn from Apple’s iPhone 5 Launch


Apple’s new doohickey is here and all your friends who bought it have probably been making you look at it and ooh and ah over it and admit that they’re way cooler than you because they waited in a line bought a thing. But there’s much more to the device itself, like the marketing campaign behind it. takes a scalpel to what a Steve Job-less Apple did to promote the new phone via social media, and two of its points are particularly interesting. (The third one is good, too, but a little more obvious, so we’ll skip it here.)

The first is that you can no longer hope to control the conversation on social media. This should come as no surprise to anybody, but as attending a number of events at Social Media Week last week taught me: You can’t assume anyone knows anything, or even much of anything, about social media. By its very nature, its the people’s platform. They’ll say whatever they want about anything and everything, and you’ll seem like a rube trying to shepherd what’s going on there -- be it on Twitter or Facebook or wherever.

Like any big tech company, Apple tries to keep its big moves a secret until they can be revealed under their own terms. But as Socialmediab2b says, “the control model of keeping everything a secret until the announcement is just no longer possible… as you plan product announcements or other public activities, be aware [of that].” This is also why Apple manages its own supply chain, which may not always be possible for entrepreneurs, but it is something to consider if you are trying to minimize the number of leaks.

This isn’t in the Socialmediab2b piece, but when Apple needed to reach out to others to help promote what it was planning, it was careful to not put all the cards on the table.

At least, that’s what Karen Chu, showrunner of the Good Job, Brain! podcast says. Her podcast was featured in Apple’s promotional material for the new iPod Nano, like its website and also Apple’s top spots in iTunes and iTunes newsletters.

“Early this year, Apple just asked me for clearance for my podcast logo in their marketing campaigns,” said Chu. “And I said yes, but had no idea what they were marketing... andthe fact that they chose to feature our little independent hobby show makes me believe they actively curate and explore the content that gets added to their system.”

A couple months later, bam, there it was. It’s great bragging rights for Chu, and also it turns her into a disciple for the brand -- by nature of telling people about it, she’s also helping to promote Apple’s new device.

Which goes back to Socialmediab2b’s other great point: “make it about your customers, not your solutions.” What does that mean?

So let’s forget that we are talking about a consumer company and make sure we’re talking about the customers. They don’t care about our solutions. They want to know how we are solving their problems. This is truer than ever in social media because we need our customers and prospects to share our blog posts, ebooks, videos and webinars. They won’t do that if we talk about our solutions.

So, if you talk about solutions, people will listen. And they’ll also talk about them, too. Win-win.

Read the full thing over at

David Wolinsky is a freelance writer and a lifelong Chicagoan. In addition to currently serving as an interviewer-writer for Adult Swim, he's also a comedy-writing instructor for Second City. He was the Chicago city editor for The Onion A.V. Club where he provided in-depth daily coverage of this city's bustling arts/entertainment scene for half a decade. When not playing video games for work he's thinking of dashing out to Chicago Diner, Pizano's, or Yummy Yummy. His first career aspirations were to be a game-show host.

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