Marketing Social Media – if you build it will they come?

SF Giants gameField of Dreams is one of the best baseball movies of all time. The gist is that Ray Kinsella, as played by Kevin Costner, hears a voice telling him to build a baseball diamond in the middle of an Iowa cornfield. In the end, thousands of cars are lined up to see the field of dreams.

As the above picture shows, the San Francisco Giants are depending on a bit more than disembodied voices to get their fans to interact via social media. On the scoreboard they are promoting their Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare accounts. Do you think many of the thousands of fans in the stands are interacting via their smart phones? I’m sure the Giants are counting on that.

It continually amazes me to see brands and non-profits ignore their external marketing platforms as a way to promote their social media. Unlike Ray Kinsella, building it does not guarantee they will come.

Here in DC, the number one radio station is WTOP. They have been at the leading edge of the social media curve – especially in their industry – for quite some time. They have multiple Twitter accounts and a very active Facebook page. Yet, until recently, they made little – if any – mention of social media on their own airwaves. This from a radio station that boasts over one million listeners every week.

A couple of months ago they had around 4500 ‘likers’. Not bad but a very small percentage of their customer base.

Recently, they began running a clever promotional campaign using the old Sally Field Oscar acceptance line. Today, their fan count is over 11,000.

One of the driving forces behind social media involvement is passion. You are drawn to ideas and brands that evoke emotions. Baseball certainly has a passionate following. Radio does, as well.

What about heating and air conditioning?

CroppMetcalfe is an HVAC company in DC that advertises regularly on the radio. To date, they are the only radio advertiser to consistently promote their Facebook page in their ads – extolling special offers and timely tips.

They have 222 fans. You can look at this two ways. One, it’s a small number for so much effort. Two, there are 222 people who are passionate enough about HVAC to actually click on the page. Either way, for minimal effort and cost CroppMetcalfe is attempting to build their social audience.

The key line in Field of Dreams was ‘If you build it, he will come.’ So, on faith alone, Ray Kinsella plowed up a perfectly good corn field. And it worked.

Are you willing to leave the building of your social field of dreams to chance?

Your thoughts?

Steve Allan

Social Media Specialist


About Steve Allan

I am a Social Media specialist uniquely focused on the management, messaging and marketing of social media platforms for non-profits and small businesses.
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One Response to Marketing Social Media – if you build it will they come?

  1. Dewg says:


    I have to admit I would be more likely to engage via Twitter at a baseball game. First, I’m a captive audience at a sporting event that doesn’t require very much concentration and attention. So, if the team offered special games or prizes using the scoreboard as an alert system, I might just play along. But it would be even more fun if a player in the bull pen, or in the dugout could interact with ME about the game we are both watching.

    Its hard to feel all that passionate about your heating and air conditioning company. If they did their job right, I’d probably not be eager to interact with them again. Its a big ticket item, and I shouldn’t need anything from them for 30 years or so.

    In this age where we are all connected 24/7, hearing from my air conditioning company or plumber wouldn’t be high on my priority list.

    In fact, hearing from most members of my family wouldn’t be that big a priority.

    So, I think these kinds of companies have a real challenge in finding a reason for a deeper relationship after their work is done. Doesn’t mean it can’t happen, but getting a news alert from a radio station on Twitter is really different than getting an alert about changing my furnace filter.

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