by Meaghan Brophy
“I’ve been told that the first few Instagram posts on Sunday morning are what gets people out the door to come see us,” says Natalie Iturbe, Vendor Curator and Marketing Manager at Melrose Trading Post in Los Angeles, CA. (MTP). The flea market attracts 250 vendors and over 4,000 attendees every week. “People from all over the world, customers and vendors alike, come to see our market. It’s a very fun, multicultural environment,” says Iturbe. MTP is part of a larger organization, called the Greenway Arts Alliance, whose goal is to give back to the Fairfax High School and unite communities through art, education, and enterprise. The Alliance provides various opportunities to students, including internship and employment programs, supplemental arts education, grants, and access to a black box community theater.
Approaching its’ 20th anniversary, MTP has developed a significant reputation, thanks in part to their large social media following. The flea market has close to 5,000 followers on Facebook, 1,300 followers on Pinterest, and 16,800 followers on Instagram. “Our vendors tend to use each platform differently,” explains Iturbe. “Our customers are a pretty broad spectrum of people from high school students, to parents, to folks who are older. We have such an eclectic group of people that we need a good mix of social media to reach everyone.”
Whether you’re a market owner or a vendor, capturing an online audience to generate interest in your flea booths is not as time-consuming or overwhelming as it may seem. On Sundays, when MTP is open, Iturbe says she spends “maybe 1.5 hours over the course of the day to take pictures and figure out captions.” On market days they focus on what’s going on at that moment. During the week, they spend “maybe 20 minutes per day,” promoting their upcoming musicians and events. Altogether, Iturbe and her team spend “3-4 hours per week spread across 5 days.”
Iturbe says for those looking to either grow or reestablish their social media presence, “The first thing is to think it out. Think of how you want to represent your company and organization. Set up guidelines and value pillars. Give yourself some parameters so your content isn’t haphazard and you have a sense of direction.” Most importantly, “Don’t give up,” emphasizes Iturbe. “That’s what I see a lot. Even once a week, just to stay relevant.”