Does your company make it to the prom?

Imagine a John Hughes movie, only this was my life: Senior year in high school. The 80s. Prom rolls around at my tiny high school. I can’t afford a dress. I don’t have a date. Some of my good friends also do not have dates. The question: should we go stag to the prom? Or skip it?

My decision: Take a chance and go by myself. Wear a vintage dress that was given to my mom by one of her clients. Hope for the best.

Result: I had an amazing time, probably better than if I had had a date. I danced with everyone, including two of my teachers. Afterwards, a group of us went out for waffles. Looking back, no regrets. I never had to say “what if?”

My friends’ decision: Stay home, watch television.

Result: Looking back, do they regret not having gone to their one and only prom? They sure do! (I know this for sure, because we are Facebook friends, and they told me so).

Lesson learned: Show up for your prom! Or spend the rest of your life wishing you had.

So my question today is this: is your business or nonprofit showing up for the prom?

I was reminded of my prom night dilemma three times this week when I heard three professional communicators talk about their approach to using social media.

One communicator (who doesn’t blog) tweeted a blog post by another communicator that you really shouldn’t start a company blog if a number of reasons apply to your company.

I read them. Valid considerations, yes. But no, no, no, no.  Not good enough to stop you.  Put your shoes on and go to the prom.

Another communicator opined in a meeting that you really shouldn’t have a company YouTube Channel if you don’t have a well-thought out plan of all the video you are going to produce for it.

I listened to his rationale.  Hmm, a plan is a good thing, I thought, BUT it’s 8 o’clock now, and they’re playing your song. GO to the dang prom!

Yet another communicator said to me this week (and at this point, I was starting to think about having some kind of mass intervention) that their agency was so busy with clients, that they just didn’t have time to get their blog off the ground, but would probably start that project in the next two months or so.  Maybe.

Wow.  While “maybe” was watching re-runs and eating m&ms in her pajamas, “let’s do it” was partying like it’s 1999 in a second-hand dress, and having the time of her life.

There is such a thing as over-thinking something.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I think careful planning is a good thing.  I get paid to help people plan their blogs, newsletters, videos, and other marketing tactics. It’s one of my favorite things to do.

But if what people refer to as planning so completely paralyzes you in a progress-sucking whirlpool of what-ifs and indecision…at that point, you need to put on any dress in the closet and go, because 9/10ths of the game is showing up.

And showing up today — in marketing terms — translates to showing up in search engine rankings.  It’s prom night, my dears!  You can show up in search engine rankings by starting a blog, creating a YouTube Channel, and putting your photos online.

You don’t need a designer dress — er, multi-thousand dollar video — to have a YouTube Channel. You can get some tread from YouTube even if you do not have any video at all to share.  Video is better yes, but it should not stop you from claiming your space on YouTube.  You have to step out on the dance floor.

I hear a lot about real-life obstacles — silos, budgets, time constraints, priorities, politics, and committees — how they interfere with progress being made on the social media front.  Or at least, how some important communications and marketing opportunities are missed.

If I were in this situation — and I can sympathize but I am glad I am not — then this is what I would do.  The proof is in the pudding, as they say. If the approval process is mired in the mud of “eventually,” then take some initiative yourself, as a marketing or communications professional, because this company or organization is going to hold you back from fully developing your marketing muscles and helping them when they are ready to move forward.

Take some time now and get trained. Buff your skills.  Hire a consultant, like me, to get you started and clear some of the brush, or draft a plan you can edit.

Or if the budget, staffing, or time are holding you back, just let me create your blog, YouTube Channel, or Facebook Page for you.  Please.  Really.

I will be your Duckie if you show up for the prom. I promise.

I do this everyday.

I like it.

I know how to do it.

I’m not afraid of it.

I’m good at it.

I’m cheap.  Okay, my business partner is making me say affordable.  Okay, now he’s asking me not to say affordable because that is not how he wants to position Fletcher Prince.  Fine.  Let’s just say this: budget will probably not be an issue for you, if you hire me.

I’m fast.

And I can show you how to do it, as well.  You can do this, and you will like it.  I highly doubt that you will have any regrets showing up for this prom.

At the very least, create something today.  You have something to say, so, start blogging about it! Life happens to you: photograph it.  Put it on video.  Have fun with it.  Do it for yourself.  Do it for your church.  Do it for your professional industry organization.  Get really comfortable with the medium, or ask me to help you learn about it.

I don’t think I could say this any more powerfully than this woman.  Watch this video, if you need a little motivation today.

About Mary Fletcher Jones

Mary Fletcher Jones is a mom, teacher, and blogger. Her blogs include Autumn in Virginia, Cool Yule Blog, and You Can't Make This Stuff Up, among others. She is also the creator of "Living Well With Autism," an online resource for caregivers of children, teens, and adults with autism and related special needs.

Posted on October 25, 2010, in Blogging Tips, Client/Agency Relationship, Marketing Tips, Nonprofit Marketing Tips, Social Media Tips, Video, YouTube Video Tips and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. If you read this post, please click “Like” and “Tweet.” I would really appreciate that. And of course I will love you forever if you leave a comment, even if you disagree with me. Thanks!

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