Are you a dealer trying to use social media to engage new customers and grow your business? Maybe you have a local store but are on the fence about doing shows locally?
Yes, you should be engaging customers on social media. And yes you should go to shows locally. In fact, evidence more than suggests that while social media can be effective, the best thing you can do is engage customers in person.
As antiques, art and vintage dealers, many of us go into a show thinking that if we don’t cover our costs, its just not worth it. While of course staying in business necessitates taking in more than we spend, in the larger scheme of things and limited resources, you would probably better off to shift advertising dollars to shows.
I walked into a shop recently belonging to a couple who owned the store because they owned the building and ended up adopting the business. I told the gentleman about our show and asked what they recently spent in advertising. The cost of the show was about the same as the most recent advertisement purchased.
Especially where narrow categories like antiques and vintage are concerned, hitting the target is the only way to make advertising effective. If we set out trying to get people who aren’t interested in antiques and vintage to like them, its not likely to pay off. Exhibiting at a show is like social media advertising in that it can be used to hit a specific audience in a specific locale– the people who are most likely to make purchases.
In addition to that, the look of your exhibit is just as important as the attractiveness of an image or advertisement. Investment in signage and fixtures- items that can be used over and over- is wise. if you have a store, make sure its apparent where it is and that you brand your business and the brand is easily connected to a physical location and well as to any online stores.
So yes, even if a show now and then isn’t as good as it could be, it’s the most effective advertising you can buy. And just like the quality of content of social media posts influence their effectiveness, the quality of your presence at the show will influence what you get out of it.