There has been recent buzz about Apple investing in Foursquare in order to align itself with one of the most highly respected location-based services available to mobile users. At the same time, there have also been various reports in recent months that Apple could be considering an investment in Twitter. The technology giant failed to successfully maintain its own social network, and an alignment with Twitter could be a way to fire back at Facebook after broken down communication. So the question lingers: Will Apple take the social marketing plunge? This post will walk through some of the reasons Apple may decide to invest millions in Twitter—as well as some of the reasons why not.
Apple’s Failed “Ping” Network
A potential Apple investment in Twitter could stem from the recent closure of its own “Ping” social network, which debuted in September 2010 as a music sharing network available within iTunes. The LA Times believes Ping’s failure could be directly tied to Apple’s unwillingness to have Ping connect with Facebook, leaving little incentive for users to give Ping a shot from the start.
Will Apple Invest in Twitter to Shun Facebook?
Failure to join the two networks together could carry some weight insofar as it pertains to Apple’s potential investment in Twitter. A CNet post shows since Ping has shut down, Apple has expressed interest in social networking by embracing Facebook and Twitter in the latest versions of iOS, OS X, and its own content stores. Users can tweet or post about apps, music, and other digital items from those pieces of software. According to a NY Times article, “Apple doesn’t have to own a social network,” Timothy D. Cook, Apple’s chief executive, said at a recent technology conference. “But does Apple need to be social? Yes.”
How Would This Investment Help Either Company?
The merger of Twitter and Apple seems to make perfect sense. Apple has struggled to develop its own successful social media entity; a partnership with Twitter would give a deep social understanding to the company and pave the way for Twitter integration into Apple products. For Twitter, the benefit could simply lie within the partnership with the Apple name itself. With potential plans to go public like Facebook has done, teaming with a technological icon could give clout to Twitter’s brand, positioning it for success.
Is Apple Trying to Spread Its Brand Too Far?
While there could be massive benefits for Apple getting involved in social, the company could eventually hurt itself by simply over-extending its reach. With one social failure already behind it, Apple’s involvement in social marketing may not be its strength and could potentially hurt its brand name and reputation. On the other hand, investing in Twitter could also allow Apple to keep one step ahead of Facebook, as there are reports Facebook could be developing its own mobile software.
It will be interesting to see how the relationship between Apple and Twitter continues to develop over the next few months. Apple has acknowledged social media’s importance, and a partnership with one of the most notable social networks could give it an inside track into social involvement and intelligence to further its brand’s success.
What direction do you think Apple should take with respect to social media marketing? Should they invest in Twitter? Why or why not?