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Sat Apr 6 2013 12:07:32

Antique Shows Vs. Social Media Marketing

By: Julia Wilkinson

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How much are antiques sellers still using the offline world of antiques shows, and how much are they selling using the new-school methods of social media marketing? And which, if either, is more effective?

To talk to the two sellers in Sunday's Update article, Babs Davis of "World Rarities" on Ruby Lane, and Sandra Butler of Butler & Butler Gallery, the traditional world of face-to-face selling at antiques shows is working just fine. Babs gives out paper marketing materials and cards to her customers at shows, and Butler says her rare and unique items draw plenty of folks to her booth at shows. Plus, they both have repeat customers that they know in the real world.

But that doesn't mean social media isn't effective for sellers of antiques. Anecdotal reports of people selling more from using visual sites like Pinterest have been trickling in, though actual sales spurred by them can be hard to track.

One eBay seller says, "
As far as tracking on social media, most folks don't track and much of it is the blind leading the blind." But he recommends using tools such as,  clickty, "and of course Google Analytics," as well as the site "SocialNetworkingNanny."

"I Antique Online" member Antoinette, for example, uses Pinterest to market: her board is at  She also sells on Etsy at "AntoinettesWhims," and markets via Twitter and I Antique Online.
But while Etsy has a statistics tool to help track views, Antoinette says it can be hard to know what else is coming from where. She also recommends Google Analytics for tracking.

What about you? If you sell antiques, what are your best marketing methods? Do you still go to the offline antiques shows, and/or market online with social media? What has been most effective for you? Post a comment here!

Comments (4) | Permalink

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by: nothingnew This user has validated their user name.
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Mon Apr 8 06:09:53 2013

I am a full time seller both online and at flea markets and antique shows. I have junkables site plastered on the rear of my van,post on pintrest,ioa,and several other sites, and I hand out my card every place I setup. But still online selling is slow no matter which site ebay included. The spring season just started and so far things are showing improvement from last year. Im always traveling up and down the easy coast and see its better each state i setup in. I ask most people that buy from me online how they found and the only answer I ever got was google,despite all my efforts posting on social sites bragging about junkables or even handing out my cards.

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by: Watching the Wheels This user has validated their user name.

Mon Apr 8 13:20:23 2013

In my opinion, SITE TRAFFIC is king, followed by frequent additions of new items, a presentable working knowledge of SEO practices, competitive pricing and good customer service practices.

Social Media boils down to the Social sites enticing you to utilize them, for future advertising revenues. I don't bother with them because they pretty much wind up being a time suck, with a good percentage of the membership being other sellers trying to get THEIR stuff noticed.

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This user has validated their user name. by: JusTrains
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Mon Apr 8 14:13:12 2013

I still use the antique show market to meet up with customers from my stores before I decided to switch from a brick-n-mortar outlet to e-commerce... and of course sell to new customers. It's also a great place to add aquisitions to your inventory either by wheeling & dealing with other dealers or getting an invite from a looker wanting to sell. I used to do 22-24 shows a year but it's too expensive to keep running around the country and after 40 years I'm getting tired of hauling my inventory & a commercial booth. So, I just do shows now that cater to my niche and are at least 3 days long.

Between the shows & e-commerce (including eBay auctions) I don't have time for anything else, but I do maintain a Facebook business page to offer free info and post collecting ideas and news to keep some of my customers interested in buying from me. It is near impossible to discern from where or who lands on FB, but I treat it as a PSA in customer relations. I don't think my type of inventory is saleable on FB. Just my feeling.

The e-commerce website & shows are still where my money is.

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by: Dragonlord This user has validated their user name.

Mon Apr 8 17:36:33 2013

Antique shows have and always will be the best way to sell and meet customers.  We also have been doing this for 40 years and shows have been the way things started and continue to be the life blood of this industry.  The ecommerce sites are a great addition and allow us to find new customers from around the world that was not possible before.  Between the two methods you get the best of both.  

The social media sites have been tried and fail miserably as a way of selling.  They have a place but are best used as an advertising tool and not as a selling site.  Most social media users are in them to connect with friends or family and are not interested in buying anything.  We tried the Yardsell site through Facebook (and a few others) but after 2 years of having items listed, we ended up with 5 sales.  We get that many a day from some of our ecommerce sites.  

Some ecommerce sites provide very good sales but not all, you need to try several and only stay with the ones that actually produce sales.  The rest can be best used as advertising if you have the time to keep them up to date, if not dump them and find others that work for you.  Forget social media, it is a waste of time and effort.

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