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.

4 Tips to Help Flea Markets Embrace Technology

Utilize technology to get the most out of your market.

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Flea Markets, while not alone in their intricacies, are still very much like other businesses. Large and small. Yet, many swap meet proprietors shun standards in technology that they really shouldn’t.
Technology has become an essential part of all businesses and it is important to break through the swell of companies fighting for your attention. So lets go back to basics and take a look at four tips every business should be aware of when considering technology.

1) Mobile is Important

It is crucial not to underestimate this tip. These days mobile is king and you have to be sure your business is ready to handle that. I don’t mean you need to rush out and have a mobile app created especially for your market, but there are easy and cheap ways to cater to todays consumer.
For instance, your website (you have a website, right?) should be responsive. That means it adjusts automatically based on the device people have. That way it fits on small phones, big phones, tablets, or computers. If you don’t have a mobile friendly site, users can’t access the information they need which can lead to frustration, the inability find your market, and a negative perception of your brand.
This isn’t a huge endeavor as a lot of the web design companies like GoDaddy, WIX, and others all now support responsive designs right out of the gate and are quite affordable.
With a mobile-optimized site your customers can find your market higher in search rankings, find operating hours and vendor information quickly and easily, or get directions. Alongside your website, take a look at your social media accounts, your Google Maps listing, and Yelp page.  These are crucial to improve your web presence.

2) Know your Data

Analytics are imperative and can help you really understand your flea market. You can get as fancy and sophisticated as you’d like. Want to know how many visitors you have each operating day? How many vendors you have? Which days are bringing in the most revenue? Which food items and your concessions are proving to be most popular? All can be tracked and reported on to help you make informed decisions and run your business more efficiently. Its important when looking at your software it isn’t just about functionality, but what data, insights, or reports you can glean from the system.

3) You don’t have to Break the Bank, but don’t be Cheap

It may be appealing to cheap out on technology, but in the long run, it isn’t worth it. Technology can really drive your flea market. Not just from the consumer side (where they can learn about your market, find hours, reviews, and directions), but from the vendor side as well. You are trying to attract two different groups of people and you want to remove any frustration for either of them.
For instance, without technology, when a vendor would like to reserve a booth for the weekend, it requires an employee to find available booths on those specific days, adjust the cost based on location and amenities, have the proper paperwork and contracts signed, all of which is cumbersome, time consuming, and error-prone. In today’s world, reservations can be made in advance online. Reducing mistakes, decreasing signup time, and freeing your employees to focus on other pressing matters.
If you choose cheap tech, that process won’t be smooth. Customers or vendors will be met with errors, long loading times, and often can cause more frustration than they are alleviating. Some good software, an iPad, and a few apps can be affordable and change the way you do business.

4) Its a Bird! Its a Plane! Its the Cloud!

Do you keep your data stored locally? Do you have a recent backup? Do you have an offsite backup? Data storage can be one of the most expensive and important parts of your markets tech arsenal. You need more than just an external hard drive, you need multiple backups on an offsite in case the worst should happen.
There is s bevy of information you should be retaining like transaction history, agreements/contracts, orders, and vendor rental history. An ideal solution would keep these all together, encrypted, and backed up.
Cloud solutions like BoothBooks help make that process easier, and more secure. All data is securely encrypted over SSL and backed up regularly. Ensuring if your hardware ever fails, the only thing you need to be back up and running is your closest web browser.

Get Going!

Embracing this list of technology basics for your flea market or swap meet can really modernize your business. Shoppers have a better experience, vendors have more customers and a speedier registration process, you are protecting your customers and vendors data, and you have new data insights to make informed decisions to help run your business. Combined, you will have a flourishing market and increasing profits while not having to break the bank.
BoothBooks is an affordable way to get started with technology. A clean and easy to use interface works across a variety of platforms like computers, tablets, and phones. Sign up to learn more and get started for free to see how easy you can integrate cutting edge technology into your flea market.