Understanding the Difference Between ‘Nurturing’ and ‘Harvesting’ in Social Media

As community managers, it’s important we understand that social media is not really meant to generate sales, but to interact and engage with your audience. Why? Facebook users mainly engage with their friends or their favorite brands and are not looking to purchase anything. But can Facebook ever lead to sales? Absolutely!

Here are some statistics that may change your outlook on selling on Facebook:

1) P&G sold 1,000 diapers from Facebook in under one hour.
2) 20% of e-tailer Kembrel’s Black Friday sales came from F-commerce (Facebook commerce).
3) Users in F-Commerce spend 1.5x more than in any other e-commerce sites.
4) 83% of consumers are likely to visit a website recommended by a Facebook friend.
5) An average brand sees a 30%-200% increase in site registrations for sites using a Facebook sign-in.

There is clearly evidence that Facebook can be a very effective platform to drive sales, whether directly or indirectly. Yet, we still see many brands disappointed with their brand’s sales performance through Facebook. This is because many brands are trying to make the sale too quickly.

The Two Phases of Your Brand on Facebook

If you look at the brands that are experiencing great successes on Facebook, they are brands that either 1) have a large community of fans, or 2) has been interacting with the brand on Facebook for a long time. What are the common traits among these successful pages? The size of the number of fans that trust in their brand’s online presence.

This is the reason why many brands fail at gaining results and the reason why you need to invest time and resources into building your credibility and a group of loyal fans before you can expect great results through social media.

Phase 1: Nurturing Your Community
Just like your business, the first phase of your social media page will be the most expensive and the least profitable one. In this phase, your goal is very simple: to populate your Facebook page with users who are relevant and loyal to your brand. It does not matter how many leads or sales you are generating through Facebook. As long as you are gaining more fans and more engagement on your page, you are on the right track. We know this approach sounds scary for businesses, but we will explain why it’s worth it.

The time that your brand spends in this stage really depends on how much time and money you are putting into your advertisements and producing great content. Budgets for Facebook advertising can range from $5 to $1,000 per day!

To find users that are relevant, you must invest money in Facebook advertising. Make use of all the tools you have access to, such as power editor, so that you can ensure that whoever your advertisement brings is a valuable user and a potential sales lead.

With your advertisements bringing in more and more relevant users, your job is to keep the audience engaged on your page by producing content they want to see. The more interactions or engagements you have, the more your audience will trust your brand.

The content portion is where many brands get it wrong. Many brands are trying to sell their products very early on without having built credibility and a relevant Facebook community. The problem: Sales posts are bound to get less interaction than posts that merely ask for a comment, share, or like. Take the example below, for instance. Which one would you rather interact with?

Due to Facebook’s algorithms, the more interactions your page gets, the more people will see the content on your page. With more people seeing your content, the faster your community will grow!

Phase 2: Harvest!
This phase is when your efforts on social media begin to become profitable. With a large, loyal fanbase (this number can be 20,000 or 1 million, depending on your industry), you will no longer have to spend too much money on advertising your page, as whatever content you publish will be seen potentially by hundreds or thousands of loyal fans.

What’s more, your previous engagement with your audience means that not only will you understand their behavior, but your audience will be very familiar with your brand and will be more likely to interact with your content.

Whatever content you publish will also be more likely to appear in more user’s news feeds, because the high engagement on your page will be favorably ranked by Facebook. With the increased likelihood for higher engagement and reach, this is the phase when you can begin to get mind-blowing results through social media.

Want to get more traffic from Facebook to your website? Simply put up an engaging picture with a link to the page and watch as thousands of people click on that link. Want more people to purchase your product? Start a F-Commerce store and expose it to thousands, if not millions, of your loyal fans without spending another dollar on building that awareness.

Just like building any business, be sure that you are investing time and money at the start to build a strong foundation. Unlike your business, however, your currency in social media is your engagement numbers. The more engagement you get, the more people your content will be shown to, which will in turn lead to even more engagement.

Finally, the odds are good that the fans on your Facebook page are there to stay. The only reason your fans will “unlike” your page would be if they think the brand is irrelevant to them (which is actually a good thing) or if you are producing awful content (which we hope you are not). So don’t be afraid to invest more money into social media, as it can only grow bigger.

As always, if your brand needs help generating and building a community of loyal fans, we are always here to help.

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Written by Geoffrey Setiawan

Geoffrey Setiawan leads esd in the development of digital marketing strategies, execution, and measurement. He integrates various digital marketing tactics, such as SEO, PPC, Social Media, Content Marketing, and Email Marketing to generate and nurture leads for clients across B2B and B2C sectors.

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