Is Apple finally stepping into social media?

While most brands today are actively finding ways to differentiate themselves in the world of social media, Apple has been rather mum in the arena.

However all that might be about to change as Apple brings on board Nike’s social media director Musa Tariq as digital marketing director. Tariq confirmed his role on his Twitter page yesterday with the following tweet.

Tariq (pictured) was last at Nike for a little over a year holding the role of global senior director of social media & community. He has also worked as global director of social media, digital marketing at Burberry. He first came on board Burberry in 2009 as global head of digital marketing. Tariq has also had significant experience on the agency side working with agencies such as JWT and Saatchi & Saatchi.

While it remains unclear what the brand is trying to achieve with Tariq’s hire, it is highly speculated that Apple’s approach to social media might be getting an overhaul. Despite being hailed as a marketing genius, Apple only started to embrace social media earlier this March when it launched its first social campaign on Tumblr promoting the iPhone 5c. While it currently does run several Facebook pages for its iTunes and Apps stores account on Twitter, the posts are somewhat lackluster.

Maybe all that is about to finally change.

Tariq has over the years gained respect for his campaign work with both his previous employers. According to publication 9To5Mac, at Nike, Tariq helped in spiking the company’s product portfolio and athlete relationships via social media. Meanwhile at Burberry, Tariq was behind the creation of the luxury brand’s social media imprint in China. He also led social media for the firm’s famous annual London Fashion Show events.

In a blogpost by social media management platform Hootsuite, enterprise writer Matt Foulger, claims that Apple’s indifference to social media is “puzzling”. Foulger added that “Apple is not only abstaining from a major marketing opportunity, but turning its back on an increasingly vital channel for customer feedback and support.”

However Kimberley Olsen, head of business director of social media agency Vocanic added that Apple’s brand presence alone is so strong that it hasn’t had the need to have a social media presence. Olsen added that the move will give loyal Apple consumers a place to congregate and be the official source for them to stay updated with all the latest releases and news from Apple, faster than a press release or via website.

“Apple would also be able to finally put an actual brand voice in the social sphere which many fans would look forward to as well as use the opportunity to consider extending its efforts in customer service,” said Olsen.

The report on 9To5Mac also predicted that it is quite possible that Tariq’s work on social media marketing could be linked to Apple’s marketing push for its upcoming fashion and fitness-oriented wearable bands. Apple recently hired Patrick Pruniaux Tag Heuer’s vice president of marketing to work on the future wearable product. Meanwhile, the brand also recently nabbed Burberry’s CEO Angela Ahrendts appointing her as retail chief to run both its retail and online stores.

Could Apple be the next fashion icon? Only time will tell.



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