..which begs the question, should we just give up on all this social media malarkey and do something a bit more useful instead?
Along with reviews of the year and predictions for the one to come, January is also a cracking time for lots of Top 10/20/50/100/infinity-1 charts of stuff from the previous year. Unsurprisingly there have been a couple of of top social media brands for 2009 charts make an appearance this week and equally unsurprisingly Apple has done very well in both.
In the Virtue Top Social Brands of 2009 the iPhone comes in at number one, iTunes at six, Apple itself at eight, followed by the slightly laggard iPod and Mac at 34 and 35 respectively. Then we have the Social Radar Top 50 Social Brands of 2009, which Twitter in the top slot, then Google and FaceBook with iPhone coming in fourth. Mac, Apple and iPod however all do much better at seven, eight and nine and poor old iTunes is no where in sight.
Both companies behind their respective charts claim similar methodologies. Infegy describing the Social Radar methodology as:
To create the Top 50 list, we used Social Radar to analyze millions of blog posts, news feeds, forums, social networks and Twitter posts to aggregate a list of the words and brands mentioned most frequently on the Web during all of 2008 and 2009. The list measures the number of unique individuals or sources that posted content about each brand during 2009 rather than the overall number of mentions, which would be more heavily influenced by big fans who post frequently about a specific brand.
With Virtue describing its thusly:
The Vitrue 100 is the result of Vitrue’s daily analysis of over 2,000 popular brands on the social web.
On July 1, 2009, we refined the SMI’s algorithm in our continual efforts to reflect the the social web. See more details here> http://vitrue.com/smi/
The Vitrue SMI report is an easy to understand measurement of a brand’s online conversations. Based on our patent-pending technology, index scores are comprised of various online conversations from status updates to multi-dimensional video sites. The Vitrue SMI score provides a snapshot in time to help make sense of the overwhelming amount of measurable data.
We derive the Vitrue SMI by reviewing popular social media sites. We update the Vitrue SMI once daily. Our sample set represents different dimensions of social interactivity:
Both of which when combined say to me, there are several ways to skin a rabbit and the rabbit is most likely going to look a tad, or even radically, different depending on you chosen method. However this is not a post about the need for standardised metrics, this is a post about how if Apple is the Social Media Brand that all brands should all aspire to be then perhaps we’re barking up the wrong tree when we talk about the need for online engagement and for brands to become more social. For as so beautifully described in this late 2009 post, ‘Why Santa shouldn’t use Social Media’.
Apple has a web presence that if it was any more old-school would be in black and white and suggesting Netscape Navigator as the browser of choice. It has a website and a store, thank you very much. iTunes at heart is just a store. A lot of it is free, but it’s still a store.
Which is true, Apple doesn’t own its name on Twitter. Going by the single Tweet from @Apple in March 2009, I’m not convinced they are even an Apple fan. Unlike @iPhone, who at least links to the Apple home page but as he claims to be ‘just a dude with an iphone and 16 gigs worth of attitude’, I’m not sure he’s an official channel either. A search on the Apple site for blog reveals results for blogging apps and how-to’s for iweb. In short, Apple doesn’t do social media. Yet why would it need to? It has thousands of evangelists talking about it all over the place already because they love its products.
So perhaps what we should do is quit working on engagement strategies, how to achieve cut through, growing the number of FaceBook Fans and concentrate on making amazing products that do something that people actually want, which they will then buy and then rave about with monotonous regularity.