Why Festivals, Fairs, & Art Shows Should Embrace Social Media

Today, social media is crucial to nearly any business. It serves a multitude of purposes, and really should be up kept all year round.

Most modern fairs, festivals, and shows utilize social media to some extent. Especially as the event nears, their social channels spring to life, in an effort to drum up attendees.

While the time leading up to an event is inherently of the utmost important, leaving social vacant throughout the rest of the year is a missed opportunity.

There are many ways to take advantage of social media before, after, and during the show to ensure your show is a success.

Event Info

Social media performs well in search results. Depending on how active your page is, it may even show above your primary website, especially city sponsored events. City sponsored events often live as a sub-site of the primary city’s website, which are not as visited as Facebook or Twitter.

That means it is vital to keep all of your time, date, and location information accurate on social. If they find you on Facebook before your website, and Facebook doesn’t have all the proper event info, it can be difficult for attendees to plan their visit.

Ticket/Attendance Info

To go along with the all the other relative event info, ticket purchasing, or attendance info is necessary. Aside from time, date, and location, how to attendance is the most crucial thing for visitors.

You need to be able to let them know if they need a ticket, how much, and where they can get it.

Some social media, like Twitter, has limited room for all this information. Be sure to point them to the correct website where they can learn more, as well as frequently share it in your Twitter feed.

Useful tip – Twitter allows you to pin tweets to the top of your feed. Utilize this to pin a tweet containing all revenant event info. Attaching a poster image with lots of information is also a good idea.

Promote Vendors

Vendors can travel significant distances to attend your show. It is often quite a financial investment for them to exhibit. Even smaller, local vendors take time effort to be there.

To help show your thanks to those vendors, as well as to garner some excitement before the show, it’s great to share any attending vendors on social media. You can even have a “mini interview” with them and share some Q & A’s with your followers. This is a great way to keep people engaged.

You can start registering vendors a year ahead of time, so this is great content to share throughout the year.

If your event is big enough, this is something you can opt to up-sell to your vendors as well. For an extra fee, you can give a spotlight on your well-followed social accounts.

Alternatively, you can use this as an added bonus to entice prospective vendors. Snagging up talented artists or exhibitors can be difficult, so if you can promise a certain amount of social exposure, that could be a tipping point in signing a vendor.

Musicians

Similarly to promoting vendors, if you are going to have live bands or musicians, this a great way to spur some interest. You can link to their past performances, and tag them in any posts. You can utilize their followers to help promote your event.

During the Show

During your event, there are many things you can do. Your audience is now not just perspective attendees, but people who are already at your event. By catering to this audience, they will already be following you for next year, and increase the return rate for your guests.

Share photos from fun things happening each day. Use the schedule to promote upcoming events or performances. Announce winners of any special contests you are running. Anything that would be useful if it was you attending.

Wrapping it up

Social media is more than just for friends to share photos and their every thought. It is a useful tool for businesses and shows to promote themselves, supply a host of useful information, and engage their audience.

Keeping up your social presence year round is taking advantage of a cheap, accessible service that any event, small or large can utilize.

Share your best tips on using social media, below in the comments!

BoothBooks creates best-in-class market management software. Easily handleing payments, vendor registration, layouts, reporting, and more. To find out more visit our website, or check us out on social media.

How Markets Can Evolve in a Digital World – A Roundtable Discussion

Retail is an evolving space, and some have questioned if retail is going away. If it is, how can small businesses stay relevant and draw customers? Recently, BoothBooks participated in a roundtable discussion on retail with renown retail expert Carol Spieckerman hosted by Off-Price (a must for any retailer and merchandiser), an industry leading publication on the retail industry.

Off-Price posed a series of questions on the retail industry that we parsed through and looked at how they apply to Flea Markets and Farmers’ Markets. Questions and answers have been edited for clarity and brevity.

Q: What should small business owners focus on in 2017?

Everyone provided some great answers. There was much talk on staying true to your brand, and optimizing your store experience, as said by IndependentRetailer. “Knowing their brand & 100% committing to it (sic). A clear message seen in store layout, interactions, online…everywhere.”

Markets in particular can easily focus on what makes them “unique” and how they can better stand out from other markets. Perhaps a theme, or just shopping experience. A sentiment echoed by Carol, “Don’t get caught up in every trend and news cycle. Do what’s best for your customers and you’ll do whats right for your business.”

BoothBooks was quick to mention a high focus on data. Data gives you insight into your market: It can let you know who are your most valuable vendors, what days and times are most popular, or which products (or product categories) sell the best. Off-Price agreed, saying “Data & Content and King & Queen. Without data, how will you know what’s working?” Carol Spieckerman even called it a “match made in heaven ; )”.

Q: What can retailers learn from online retailers?

Once again, Carol provided some excellent insight. “Distinctions blurring, tho (sic) digital-to-physical is easiest play. Digital data makes physical forays pop.”

Another consensus was on the user experience in the store. A large reason for shopping online is pure convenience. Physical retailers need to try to increase their level of usability and ease. A great way to do that is to incorporate more technology.

BoothBooks always took this point to heart and worked to make it one of our core competencies. We worked hard to streamline the once laborious process of the vendor checkout. Billing, reports, maps, and more have all been streamlined to focus on speed, reliability, and the user experience.

We’ve also been making more information available to visitors, so they are able to find your market, discover its vendors, and learn what sets you apart. Carol agreed that bringing technology once exclusive to online retailers into the physical space was a crucial task to undertake.

Q: What are the biggest challenges for retail stores in the digital age?

Megan believes that it is “making yourself as accessible and convenient as digital competitors “ That’s similar to Carol’s sentiment, though she believes challenges are more like opportunities. “Nail customer experience & close sale while shoppers in store. Treat stores as experiential assets +Retail-tainment (sic). Ensure digital discoverability even if no Ecommerce.”

This is hyper-relevant to flea markets and farmers’ markets. Both are inherently sharable. Not only because #ShopLocal and #FreshProduce are popular, but because of the great finds that people love to boast about on social media. It is key to ensure a web presence to gain visibility and attract new shoppers. The same goes for customer experience. If the market looks dirty and uninviting, shoppers won’t return. For markets though, it’s not just shoppers, but vendors as well. You need to focus on their experience, and how they interact with your market.

Q: Who do you follow, or where do you find great insight for market and the retail experience?

There are so many places to get great ideas for small businesses. For markets, we humbly recommend our own BoothBooks blog (LINK) (shameless plug alert!) We here at BoothBooks are huge fans of podcasts, of which there is no shortage.

Carol pointed out a host of different twitter accounts, all of which are hugely popular and insightful. “retailwire I like aggregated perspectives: @wwd @adage @NRF @retailwire For creative thinking: @interviewmag @newyorker”

While its been widely reported that “Retail is Dying”, they couldn’t be more wrong. As Carol says “B&M (brick and mortar) never more relevant+enables digital. Hence clix-to-bricks Warby, Casper, Amazon. Different not ‘dead.’” Let us know your best small business tips down below in the comments, and stay tuned for more tips on how to rock your market.

BoothBooks creates best-in-class market management software. Easily handleing payments, vendor registration, layouts, reporting, and more. To find out more visit our website, or check us out on social media.

Market Tip #214: Vendor Loyalty

No matter what their specialty may be, markets are an amazing place. The open venues, the community feel, and the mystery of what may be on those tables can always be counted on to keep customers coming back. But is that the only thing that matters? In the market business, so often we look only at foot traffic in and out of our booths to measure success, when we should also be focusing on another one of our greatest assets—our vendors.

Vendors are truly what makes a market work, and the variety of products they bring is only a small part of it. The craftsmanship and pride that many take when hawking their wares can draw people in from all over the state, especially if they are known by shoppers for their quality. This kind of rapport and familiarity brings in more shoppers than may be apparent, which brings up the question—how do we keep our vendors coming back?

Vendors come (and keep coming back) to those markets which are memorable for treating them well and give them a chance to succeed. Making the markets successful for them is only half the battle—you’ve got to make it fun. Your vendors can join in on events if you include them, and you could even offer discounts for the off season to encourage year- round profits. A membership card at your market for vendors which included showers, RV hook-ups, and other possible amenities can keep your retailers pampered. Often, the competition of markets forces us to forget that vendors can be family that keeps coming back, and with them, their loyal clientele. Something as simple as a loyalty card for returning vendors can help create that extra push for your last available booth, and make retailers look forward to coming back.

Markets thrive when vendors are happy, and BoothBooks can help. With such a variety of people bringing their products in, it can be difficult to make sure everyone has the same opportunity to thrive. By giving vendors an efficient and user-friendly resource to book their booths and see the amenities, pay their rent, and get a feel for the venue, it helps build trust in your market and lets them participate more in the process.

The next time you’re wondering what you can do to make your vendors more excited to reserve a booth at your market, think about what you love about it. Do you have great events that keep things from getting bland? Is your market community open and friendly? Do you have brag worthy amenities for the vendors that keep coming back? Share these things with your retailers, and they will not only love your market, but will be loyal for years to come.

Be sure to check back regularly for more great market tips!

BoothBooks creates best-in-class market management software. Easily handleing payment history, vendor registration, layouts, reporting, and more. To find out more visit our website, or check us out on social media.

Market Tip #98: Use Special Events to Increase Visitors

Whether its because you’ve hit that off-season slump, or you’ve lost your “new market” appeal, seeing your customer numbers slip is the last thing you want. In a world where people judge businesses off of word of mouth and Yelp reviews, we need to keep our customers coming back.  Whatever the case, you need something to boost those numbers, and spicing up your market with different events can be a great technique.

Events are  a great way to draw people in. They can be anything, and are super easy to promote. These events keep your market from turning into a forgettable venue, and can be as simple as bringing in local food trucks, or as extravagant as a themed market weekend.

While these events can mean large crowds and big bucks for your market and booths, it also helps create a community experience. Bringing in local bands can be a great way to show your support for not only them, but for your city and local arts as well. Something as simple as asking the local high school marching band to come play at your market will foster a sense of community and grow your clientele.

Why not have a local produce weekend dedicated to the family farms that people pass on their way to work everyday? You can help create a sense of unity in your market, and keep people coming back for the quality products they’ve grown to love.

Any event will give you something to differentiate yourself from any other markets near by.  People will take note and stop in to support your market, and that added traffic will mean happy vendors. They will experience larger crowds, and higher sales.   

As your market grows and sees more foot traffic, your vendors will be more willing to pay a more competitive rate, increasing your overall profits. By using  market management software like BoothBooks, it’s simple to adjust booth rates based on your events, and to give vendors a more efficient way to work with you. That means vendors earn more, and you still see increased revenue as your market thrives.

The next time you think that your market is not meeting its full potential, think again. You may just need that little extra boost, and BoothBooks is here to help.

Be sure to check back regularly for more great market tips!

BoothBooks creates best-in-class market management software. Easily handleing payment history, vendor registration, layouts, reporting, and more. To find out more visit our website, or check us out on social media.

Best Products to Sell at Flea Markets & Swap Meets

Flea market and swap meets are really getting rolling as we head into the spring and summer months. In the past, we took a look at some of the best selling produce for farmers markets, but today we will explore the best items to bring in the shoppers for flea markets.

Clothing

Not just any clothing mind you. There are a few different ones that sell better than others. People won’t likely be buying pants, underwear, or socks at a flea market. They will however go for things like specialty sports footwear and t-shirts. Shoes for running, tanning, soccer, or year-round sporty-styles will sell very well. And T-shirts are easy to buy in bulk, and can change with the fashion trends. Price them right, and you will move them fast.

Toys

Parents are always on the lookout for affordable toys. I don’t mean just.. used toys either, but inexpensive or lesser known brands. Even non-parents probably know someone with children and could use a birthday or Christmas present. You can also go with seasonal toys like squirt guns. When its hot, its an easy way for a parent to keep their kids busy!

Baseball Hats

The trick with baseball hats is being able to find the popular styles. You don’t want to be stuck with a bunch of old looking hats. But once you find a good wholesaler, you can easily sell these year round. You can even try getting some local or touristy ones made that may sell well depending on your area!

Records

Have you heard?! Records are hip again! Jump on the bandwagon with a collection of older classic vinyl, as well as some of the new bands that are all releasing physical records as well.

Movies

Ok, so please make sure you find a reputable wholesaler before selling movies because you don’t want to be peddling illegal knockoffs. But once you find where to buy them in bulk, old hit movies sell great for that nostalgia generation. Movies from when they were kids they want their kids to experience, or just movies from a few years ago they missed or just want to see again are very popular.

Posters & Specialty Prints

This is an easy one. Tap into whats going on in pop culture and sell posters, or prints of them. Obviously you want to align the subjects of your prints with the audience at your particular market. If you tend to have a lot of older guys, maybe have posters and photo prints of some classic rock bands.

Produce

Everyone loves fresh produce. Its something easy they can grab to make dinner with or lunches for the week. It could even save them a trip to the grocery store! For the best varieties, check our previous post.

Wrap It Up!

Now that you know what to sell, go acquire some products and get selling! Markets can be a great hobby, or side-business for you or your family. Happy selling!

BoothBooks creates best-in-class market management software. Easily handleing payments, vendor registration, layouts, reporting, and more. To find out more visit our website, or check us out on social media.