Build it and they will come?

I don’t know who first said “Build it and they will come” I vaguely recall some 90’s movie with aliens and a cornfield but I am not even sure if they were the first to coin the phrase … anyway “Build it and they will come” … what utter nonsense !!! Yet it seems to be a phrase that I am hearing with alarming regularity in healthcare social media so let me clarify this here and now, at no point at anytime in the history of life the universe and everything has the hard work stopped once we have “built” something … there is no doubt in my mind that it’s once you have built the hard work really starts.


I guess that you are probably wondering what on earth am I rambling about this time ! Well here’s the crux – it seems that all too often in healthcare that we create a hashtag, create a video, create a blog or even create an infographic and then sit back think we have done all the hard work so we don’t have to do anything now …. Errrrrr wrong !  Yes its brilliant that we have this fab stuff but unless we do something with it then all our hard work is pointless.

Let me put it another way … imagine you built a shop, and in that shop you decided to sell everything that ever existed and a few more things besides… it’s a pretty cool shop.  However there is absolutely no point in just building the shop, how will people know about it? How will they know how to get there? How will they know how to use the shop, is it self service or do you ask at the counter? How will people know why they should visit your shop? Who will serve people in the shop? How will you evaluate that your shop is a success? How will you improve with your next shop?  ….. this is exactly the same in social media.


If we have created something cool, something useful to nursing, something amazing that we want people to share, help develop or use we need to do more than just merely build it.  We need to consider:

  • Shouting (in the social media sense) about it … tweet about it, FB about it, share it, share it again and keep sharing it
  • Use role models and advocates to help you share it and show people how to use what you have created
  • If needed create instructions – this is often needed if you are asking people to participate in or do something eg a webinar or a twitterchat
  • Make sure there are people who’s role is to drive sharing and engagement around your cool stuff
  • Measure what you do, how it works, collect feedback
  • Evaulate, work out how you can do it better next time
  • Do not underestimate the resources it takes to do social media .. and even more so to do it well

Build it an they will come should be left firmly in the 90’s … doing social media well means putting in a whole heap of work … but it is so worth it when you see the difference it can make to the people we care for.


2 thoughts on “Build it and they will come?

  1. Thank you Teresa, really important message. So important to proactively use, share and spread knowledge and learning. One of the very reasons why FoNS was first established nearly 30 years ago

  2. Thanks for you comment Theresa – yes being proactive in sharing any innovative “stuff” is absolutely vital .. and I am always in awe of the awesome work that FoNs do … these are exactly the principles we should be applying to our social media spaces

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