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.

BoothBooks Vendor Tip #25: Payment Methods

There is no denying that now more than ever, technology guides the way we do things. In our world, we rely on it to get us through our daily life. For many of us, we have transitioned away from the almighty dollar and gone to the (hopefully) mightier debit card. Even something as simple as our morning bagel is now a technological experience. As vendors, it is important to stay up to date on the easiest ways to buy, and while it may seem like cash is the simplest way to go, you could be putting your business at risk by clinging to that cash register.

Thankfully, there are solutions, and as the technology grows, those options are easier to obtain. Debit and credit cards have changed the way we pay, but companies like Square and PayPal allow you to stay ahead of that change, by allowing vendors with a smartphone to accept payments via mobile card readers. This keeps your business from missing out on those last-minute sales when everyone has emptied their cash reserves after a long market weekend.

Even without cards, there are other purchasing options available to customers. Apple Pay is a great new way to allow businesses to accept a payment from an attached bank account. Customers can sync their Apple Watch or iPhone with their accounts, making purchasing even simpler. But what about our non- Apple customers? Programs like Venmo and CashApp let you send money directly between phones, and it is simple as a retailer to accept payments from customers, at no cost to you.

Although there are many non-cash options, we can’t forget about our green friends. After all, cash is king, and it feels good to walk away from a busy market with spendable profit. However, we must keep in mind that carrying large amounts of money can be risky, so it’s good to practice caution. Never keep more than $20 bills in your register, and try to only keep what you need to make change. Also, it’s recommended that vendors keep a sturdy safe or lockbox, preferably out of site, like in a camper or car, with the doors locked. No one wants to walk away from a day of sales with less than what they started with, so be vigilant.

No matter how customers choose to pay, it’s up to vendors to stay ahead of the ever-growing technology. Utilizing the resources that are available, retailers can keep up to date on mobile card readers, payment apps, and even Google for those newest fire-proof lock boxes.

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

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

How to Get Noticed Selling at Farmers Markets

When the average shopper wanders around the farmers market, it would be harder not to find someone selling tomatoes. The same could be said for carrots, lettuce, and other ubiquitous foods. Some vendors may corner the market on specialty produce like kiwano, but most vendors out there simply don’t have the means to stock them. So if everyone has the same produce, how do you convince shoppers to choose you, over your competition?

The answer? Sparklers!!

Ok. So maybe not sparklers. But the premise is the same. You need something to draw the attention of your potential customers. Whether that is by sight, sound, or smell.

Lauren Arcuri provides a great starting point for some specialty value-added products that you can grow on a small farm. This is a great way to stand out from the rest. Stuff can easily catch a consumers eye when it is different than all the others. If you’ve got 6 others selling potatoes, why not try selling fingerling potatoes instead? They are tiny, adorable, and delicious! People may be unfamiliar with them, drawing them in for a closer look.

Samples are also a smart way to entice people. They find out first hand how juicy those tomatoes are or how sweet that local honey is. Its hard to pass up! What’s more, it’s a lot harder to walk over to your competitor and buy the same product when they just tasted it from your stand!

One reason someone may not pick up some of your fresh fruits and veg is they don’t exactly know what they can do with it. “Why do I need this giant thing of ginger?? What could I even cook with that?” Source some great recipes, or come up with your own that allow people to be inspired!

If they see something that looks great, and you can give them a recipe on how to make it, why wouldn’t they buy from you? Even better, allow them to taste it! You could bake a fantastic sugar-free banana bread with that honey. Or mini cupcakes with strawberry rhubarb icing liberally applied to the top. These can be easily prepped ahead of time, and combined with recipes, are quite hard to pass up.

Alternatively, why prep things ahead of time? You can do live cooking demos at your stand. Either yourself, or have a chef join you for the day. Sauté up some fresh asparagus that will allow people to smell from a block away! That combined with the sizzling of the fry pan, and the visual of tossing them in the air are clear ways to draw in a crowd. Hopefully, when they walk away from your booth, they walk away with a recipe, and a handful of asparagus in tow.

All of these can clearly differentiate you from your fellow vendors. Allowing people to get the full experience of what you’re offering and giving yourself a solid competitive advantage.
If all else fails, pick up some sparklers!

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.

Why Your Market Should Use Social Media

Lets chat about social media. There are endless articles focusing on why small-medium businesses should use social media, but does all of that apply to markets? Whether you run a farmers market, craft show, flea market, or swap meet, lets take a look at the top reasons YOU should be using social media to improve your business.

Vendors Support

Vendors are what drive customers to your market. You want outstanding vendors selling original artwork, the freshest produce, or the largest collection of vintage toys your shoppers have seen. We focus a lot of time on getting customers to come, but equal time should be spent on vendors. They are the ones who are paying to be there.
Using social media, you can drum up vendor support. You can get your market out there, for more vendors to see. If they see you are actively engaged in reaching new customers, they will be more likely to want to exhibit at your market.
On top of that, once you have a audience, you can use that audience to feature different vendors. Get vendors to agree to longer rentals in turn for promoting them on your social accounts. It doesn’t really cost you anything, but can be a benefit to them, and in turn, you. A little good will can go a long way.

More Customers

You already have an existing user base of shoppers who regularly visit your market. You don’t need to advertise at all to those people, as they should already be coming back. Using social media you can reach a new audience. If you are a farmers market and someone near you searches for fresh produce, your Facebook should come up. If you are a flea market and someone searches for vintage records, they should see you posting about that related content on Twitter.
Use content marketing across all these platforms to bring those keywords frequently into your feeds. Then when people search for those words and they are near your market, your content will start to rise to the top. Hashtags away!
Bonus tip! You can leverage your existing shopper and vendor customer base to help post on social. Ask them to post their finds which lets them have a sense of accomplishment, and advertises cool or delicious things real people were able to purchase at your market. Instagram is a great place to feature some of this stuff!

Promote Events

Events are a great way to bring an upswell of guests in a business that operates regularly. People may take breaks in coming to visit, but if you have regular events going on like live music, themes, or pet days, it gives them new reasons to get back in there, and hopefully buying from your vendors. If you just post on your website, you’d be taking a passive approach. People wouldn’t know unless they check out your site. If you try to take a more active approach by sending emails, it now requires you to get as many shoppers emails as possible to put onto an email list, then you need a campaign manger to send out all these emails.
Instead, try social media. Facebook has great tools for promoting events. You can even run ads with them! The idea here is that it is way cheaper to post to social media than send out an email campaign. It is also much easier to get people to follow you on social media than it is to get them to hand over a personal email address. This way you are still taking an active approach, but you are doing it for less, and getting a better response.

Affordable

Social media is really cheap and easy to get started with. There will be inevitable down time for employees, so have them update frequently throughout business days. They can even do it from their phone while they are walking the market. While they are out and about, it gives the great opportunities to see what is happening and capture some great pictures for twitter, Facebook, or instragram. The more stuff you share form your market, the more people may respond to it.
You can also sign up for things like Buffer, Hootsuite, and others for free to help manage social media channels. You shouldn’t have to pick and choose just Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. You should be able to hit them all! Plus they have roles which allow you to see which employee is posting what.
Ads are also much more affordable and targetable on social than on larger platforms like google+. Share a post about an upcoming event for just a few dollars a day and you can get many new impressions.

Updates

If you want to update your customers on specific hours, those aforementioned events, or other applications to your business, you need an easy way to do so. If you try to do it through your website, you will a) need a website, and b) have one that is quickly and easily able to update.
Instead of investing all that time, money, and effort into a website, you can start our by using your social channel for these things. They are dead easy to update, even from your phone! Plus, people will check them more regularly than your website. Once your market grows, you can add a website too!

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.

5 Ways to Make Money at a Farmers Market

Spring is here! That means farmers markets are popping up all across the country, and with them, the chance to make some extra money. There are many different ways to capitalize on farmers and other outdoor markets so we will just take a look at the top 4 ways.

Sell Great Produce

Ok so this is probably an easy one. I mean… that is the main thing people go to a farmers market for. Fruits and veggies! It does pay however, to differentiate yourself and offer up different ones people don’t always see, as well as making sure to pick the ones that can most lucrative. Since everyone sells lettuce, tomatoes, and potatoes, why not sell a specialty variety? Think fingerling potatoes or cherry tomatoes. Here is a list of great alternative crops that might be useful. That aside, we’ve already covered the best produce to sell, so we will leave you to check out that post for more details.

Bees!

Honey is a great produce to sell at farmers markets. Everyone loves fresh honey and there is some serious change to be made here. While it is a LOT of work, beekeepers can make $40-60k a year depending on their location.

Plus, you don’t have to sell just fresh honey. There are so many honey based products out there. You could have fresh baked goods (honey banana bread!), honey cough syrup, lip balm, or herbal honey mix-ins for tea. Now you really set yourself apart!

Jams & Jellies

You can sell fruit, but people will only pay so much for fresh fruit. With a little bit of extra effort, you can take that fruit and turn it into jam, jelly, marmalades, or spreads. These can garner a much higher price tag, plus if you do a “recycling program” where you have customers return your jars for a discount, you can save some additional money!

IMG_9508

Baked Goods

Why stop at jams and jellies? Or maybe to accompany them! If you like to bake or cook, why not actually make things to sell? Some fresh loaves of bread! Scrumptious desserts! Whatever you are great at, make it! Again it is just a little bit of extra effort that can increase your margins quickly!

Crafts or Used Goods

Now this can depend on the market, but why stop at food or food products? You could sell vintage cookware like cookie cutters, aprons, trays, etc that you can source from flea markets or online.

You could also make pot holders, bag holders, or other simple crafts that can be easy add-on items or gifts. You will find much less competition for these items as well. There are 10 people selling carrots but only one selling kiss the cook crocheted pot holders!

Good Luck!

Here is the last tip – get out there and sale! You can count that tip as a freebie, but it could be the most important! If you aren’t out there, you won’t be selling. So take our list of tips, put your best foot forward, and go make an impression at your local market.