Christmas is a time like no other, but if you run a small creative business, then there's a high chance you're going to be selling your wares at a local festive market this month. Having a spot at a Christmas Market can take up a significant amount of your time and money, but making sure you promote yourself properly on social media before, during, and after the event can make all the stress and effort worth your while!
We all love a good Christmas market, with its twinkling lights, festive music, and mulled wine. This year it feels like markets are popping up everywhere, and it's all about getting your products in front of customers primed to buy and ready to support small and local businesses.
How can you make sure you promote your trade stand to the absolute max on social media and get the most out of your time at the market?
Are your profiles set up for the event?
Optimise your Instagram page for the event by setting up a story highlight for the show. Edit your profile name (a simple 'Find Us At XX will be enough), add the event hashtags to your bio, and include a link to your online store under your bio. You can change your bio back to normal again after the show.
Update your Facebook and Twitter cover picture with a unique, branded, festive image. Add the text over the image using Canva or Picmonkey or something similar. Let everyone know where they can find you and what you'll be selling.
Pin your best Christmas social media posts to the top of your pages so people can see what you're selling at the market straight away.
Don't neglect the build-up period!
In the lead-up to the fair, it's crucial to build up intrigue and interest so people will make a beeline to you when the market starts.
You'll get extra brownie points if you can create a sense of mystery at this stage, for example, some sneak peeks, a surprise feature, something that people won't have seen before, etc. The aim is to get people guessing in some way so they'll want to come and see what you've been up to for themselves.
Now is an excellent time for people to become invested in your business journey - to be with you from the start as you make preparations for the market. Capture and share everything, even the disasters, no matter how trivial you think it might be. Include plenty of pictures of your team with smiling faces. You want your followers to feel like they are there with you.
It's a great idea to network and show other market traders and the organisers some love too if you have time for it. Everyone's working hard to bring their trade stands together, so it's a nice touch to send the other teams a little gift, such as a hamper with afternoon tea, morning pastries, or cocktails for the evening. You'll find they are highly likely to share a pic and mention you on their social media profiles as a thank you, again helping you to promote yourself.
Consider teaming up with your fellow market traders and running one big, impressive social media giveaway beforehand. Quite a few people run giveaways on social media, but by joining forces with your pals, you can put together a fantastic prize bundle, stand out from the crowd and generate a lot of interest on social media before the event.
Share live videos and Instagram Reels!
As your trade stand begins to come together, it's a fantastic opportunity to get filming. Live videos and reels are newer features on social media platforms, and therefore Facebook and Instagram are desperate for people to use them.
If you're happy to be in front of the camera, get streaming and show people around the market to see how things are progressing. Introduce your products, talk about your designs, share it all with them. If you're not so happy in front of the camera, then see if someone else from your team is pleased to have a go instead and be the 'face' of your live videos.
What makes you and your brand stand out?
Find your angle! Many similar businesses attend Christmas markets, especially jewelry designers and knitted items. If there are identical competitors in the same market, don't panic. Think about how your products are unusual and what makes them stand out. What unique or exciting stories lie behind the design?
Always have your hashtags, tags, and call-to-action phrases ready to go for the market.
Hashtags are essential if you want to get found and noticed at events like Christmas markets, but it's easy to forget them when you are rushing about.
Research the best hashtags to use in advance, have them copied into a blank page in notes on your phone, and copy and paste them to everything you share. Include a little hand-written sign on your stand with your hashtags and social media handles so people can tag you in their posts from the market.
It's also beneficial to have your unique hashtag just for your business, so people attending the market can search for your content specifically.
The same applies to profiles you'd like to tag in your posts. Have their profile handles for both Facebook and Instagram (as they can often be different) to hand, so again, you can copy and paste to your post before publishing.
It also doesn't hurt to tag the event organisers in your posts too, as they might occasionally re-share your content to their profiles.
Encourage engagement as much as possible.
Social media platforms reward content that generates high engagement when it first gets shared. Take advantage of this and ask your friends, family, employees, and collaborators to go to town on your posts by liking and commenting. You'll notice this will get the ball rolling and encourage others to engage, too.
Try to reply to every comment and DM you get during the show because you want to keep the conversation going and get the most organic reach possible.
Have some fun and get creative!
Never underestimate the power of creativity at Christmas! If you have a creative mind, then now's the time to let loose and come up with some fun ideas to promote your business and spread some cheer.
Want to dress up as Santa and offer people free samples? Go for it.
Were you thinking of running a raffle or a giveaway competition from your stand? That's a brilliant idea - crack on!
Games, lucky dips, pickin' mix bags... it's all good fun and will get people enjoying themselves - after all, it is Christmas.
Follow up after the show:
Thank everyone involved on social media, including the people who made it happen, your team, and the guests who bought your products. Remember to share a link to your website or Etsy store for those who couldn't make it or forgot to visit you, and let everyone know what's still available.
Share your highlights from the market and talk about how it all went. It's critical to maintain that connection with your followers who have followed you during the build-up, especially if you didn't get a chance to share much content during the market - how are you feeling now that the event is over?
Let people know your plans for the rest of the month and remind everyone of your last day of business as December comes to an end.