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Social Media Is Beyond Cool

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C. Engdahl
The Big E of Big E Toys

There was a time when simply having a corporate website was cool. Think back to the early nineties when all things online began to coalesce then explode. Corporate websites were cool. They were at first simply a visual expression of corporate identity. They then evolved into much more. But simply having one in those early days, even if it actually sucked, meant your company was in some sense on the cutting edge. Corporations hadn't yet realized the true power and potential of a corporate website, but it didn't really matter. Websites were cool. You were innovative. Not having one meant you were uncool.

Now virtually every company, however big or small, has a website. It has less now to do with being cool (although there certainly are some truly cool sites out there), and more to do with traditional corporate identity, information dissemination, and human resource recruitment tactics. Now not having one doesn't necessarily mean your company is uncool. It probably simply means your management sucks and your business isn't likely going to survive much longer.

Corporate websites are beyond cool.

Today's social media is not unlike those early days of corporate websites.

There was a time for instance when simply having a corporate blog was cool. Think back just five or six years ago. Corporate blogs were cool. They were at first a written expression of corporate identity. Simply having one, even if it actually sucked, meant your company was in some sense on the cutting edge. It was suggestive that your company had something important to say (or in reality perhaps that people within your organization simply had too much time on their hands). It almost didn't matter what you wrote, and maybe still doesn't. [No one was probably actually reading it on a regular basis anyway. I mean really, who has time to read esoteric blog postings like 'Social Media Is Beyond Cool'?] But blogs back then were cool. And your company was innovative.

In its short history, even corporate blogs have evolved. Email newsletters, information alerts, guest bloggers, podcasts, webcasts, and the proliferation of white papers are all second cousins to those early corporate blogs. Now not having one doesn't necessarily mean your company is uncool. It might mean you ran out of intelligent things to say and your business is dying because you no longer have innovative thoughts. Or maybe you realized blogs are a pain in the butt to maintain. Quality content that doesn't continually sound like a sales pitch is sometimes hard to generate. Maybe your company was smart to never have started blogging. That being said, blogs have become an important marketing tool. But they're not necessarily for everyone.

Corporate blogs are beyond cool.

There was a time when simply having a corporate Facebook and Twitter account was cool. Think back about a year ago or so. Myspace may have seemed too juvenile for anything corporate other than bands looking to connect with fans, but LinkedIn and Facebook were coming into their own. Twitter was hot and ripe for exploitation. Simply having a corporate LinkedIn or Facebook account, even if you had no idea how to actually utilize it, meant your company was in some sense on the cutting edge. You were innovative. And more importantly, cool.

To honestly suggest corporate Facebook accounts are beyond cool at this point might be an overstatement. The rapid pace and evolution of social media strategy makes such a suggestion premature. And if marketing history gets rewritten, it may in fact turn out that corporate Facebook accounts should never have been considered cool at all. Consumer backlash on what people might perceive as personal (albeit virtual) space may force corporations to rethink their social media strategies. For now though, corporate Facebook accounts are cool. But I imagine not for much longer. If you don't yet have a social media strategy, I'd suggest your formulate one. Be ready for what's beyond cool.

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