A much-anticipated announcement from Apple predictably made quite the splash yesterday, as they told the world they'd be pulling the iPhone 5 from the market and slotting in the new 5c as its “$99 under-contract” model. While there is plenty to say about the phone itself, I think I’ll save that for the tech blogs to analyze. However, I did notice that Apple's announcement caused a bit of a ripple in the Twittersphere, and while there were the usual critique tweets and praise hand Emojis popping up, there were also a few big brands latching onto Apple's buzz:
— Samsung Mobile US (@SamsungMobileUS) September 9, 2013
The wait is finally over. #MightyWings
— McDonald's (@McDonalds) September 10, 2013
— Nokia UK (@nokia_uk) September 10, 2013
— Motorola Mobility (@Motorola) September 10, 2013
— Denny's (@DennysDiner) September 10, 2013
While some have accused these companies of trying to ride Apple's coattails, I actually thought their tweets were quite clever. In my opinion, it’s okay (and in some cases, expected) to riff off of recent stories and headlines via social media, and these five companies showed exactly how to capitalize on a trending story like Apple's announcement.
Nobody @ mentioned Apple
These tweets weren't meant for the social media team running Apple's twitter account – they were meant for each of the company's followers and, at least in Nokia's case, those tweeters who were using #Apple to follow the announcement. Apple would never retweet a competitor's jab at their announcement unless they were jabbing back anyway. So, instead of trying to reach Apple directly, each of these companies composed these tweets with their audience in mind, leading to better engagement and more retweets.
Each tweet used an image or video
Visual content is absolutely vital to any social media campaign. Studies have shown that posts with visual content have higher engagement rates than posts that don't have any. Three of the five brands also created an image specifically to respond to Apple's announcement, though McDonald's used a pretty bland Instagram photo of a new product, rather than creating a unique image like Nokia or Denny's.
With the exception of McDonald's, each tweet was made earlier in the day
When it comes to tweets, the early bird really does get the worm. On a platform as fast-paced as Twitter, you want to keep your tweets relevant, and give your followers plenty of time to retweet your content. When you're trying to use recent events in social marketing, it is extremely important that you not let the news go stale before you put something up.
They had a bit of fun without being mean.
The taglines 'The Wait is Finally Over' and 'The Next Big Thing' were both used to hype up Apple's announcement, and were sort of co-opted by Samsung and McDonald's to promote their own products via hashtags. Neither company tweeted 'Apple's iPhone is a flop, (insert product here) is truly #thenextbigthing.' Likewise, Denny's capitalized on the announcement of the golden phones with their “always golden” Pancakes in iPhone font, and Motorola gently made fun of Apple's touting of a new fingerprint reader feature. Nokia probably got the closest to tweeting something 'mean,' but really it was just a joke about Apple finally getting around to selling different colored phones – something Nokia had already been doing. Had any of these companies attacked Apple, there would've been a significant backlash and plenty of accusations of being sour grapes.
While Apples still remains a direct competitor to three of these brands, each company played off of Apple’s buzz to promote their own products instead of attacking the company directly. These tweets were timely and engaged the user without being too self-promotional, and they showed it is okay to capitalize on another brand's news, as long as it seems fitting and you go about it the right way.