If you build it, they will come.
Everyone knows that quote from Field of Dreams, which is still one of the only movies to make me cry like a teenage girl at the Twilight sneak peek; especially at this part: “Dad, do you wanna have a catch?”
NOTE: I know that the actual quote from the movie is “If you build it, he will come” but the misquote is really more pertinent to this post.
I just realized that if you think about it, that’s a pretty good tagline for what social media is really all about–If you build it, they will come. I don’t want to get all wishy-washy on you and I don’t want to reduce social media to feel-good huggery, hand-holding, flower-power and songs around a campfire, but stick with me on this one…
Business has long been accustomed to measuring ROI carefully, asking questions like “what’s the bottom line?” These are valid things for business owners and CEOs to talk about, but somewhere in that kind of talk, people are reduced to numbers, which is one way to look at things. I think one of the gifts that social media has given to consumers is the necessity of treating people like people, not numbers. Again, I’m not advocating that companies forget about their finances and go out on a crusade to make more friends and build a bigger Twitter following at the expense of profit. This post is about one way to think about Social Media to actually improve business results.
Social Media has given us the ability to spread information, both good and bad. Everyone has a voice and access to their very own megaphone with a free WordPress blog or twitter account and their personal social networks. This fact has given rise to the customer centric era. It’s now important in this age of choice and voice that companies act right and make the extra effort.
Herein lies the point of this post. If you build it, they will come.
Companies that focus on engaging their customers and building a community will likely succeed. It’s the companies that look at customers as an extension of their marketing department that grasp the potential of this new economy. Build a community, focus on making them happy, build their loyalty, embrace their creativity and not just their dollars, and you will be on your way to success on the social web. If you build loyalty, the dollars will come.
I’m not saying that making money isn’t important. I’m saying people are tired of being numbers, of being “sold,” I think people want to be active buyers, not simply passive consumers. I think people want to be respected and treated like human beings; and in some cases, when they feel strongly about something they want to be part of a community. If you build it, they will come.