Utilizing Social Media For Your Card Shop

This is part of an ongoing series of posts in which SportsCardBlog.net is working to help card shop owners “Save the Card Shops”. We’ve been working with collectors and utilizing the knowledge within the hobby to create more business and a better environment for sports card shop owners and collectors alike.

From what I understand, there are still many card shop owners out there who don’t utilize the internet in order to help their business and bring customers into their stores. In today’s marketplace, not having an internet presence for your store is practically destroying your business.

There are several simple and free ways to market your card shop online to your customers and future customers and that is through social media.

The biggest places to utilize social media are Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. However there are several other hobby oriented sites as well where you can find new customers and interact with customers as well.

We’ll start with the big three.

Facebook

Creating a Facebook page is simple and it’s something that collectors around the world use. Create a page using your shops name and make sure to include the address, phone number, as well as store hours.

Continuing to post information is vital, so posting when new products arrive is a great way to start. I also recommend if you have customers that bust product in store to take photos and show off those big hits that come from your shop. You can spend some time engaging with your customers as well. All of this takes up very little time and is a great place to promote your shop.

Make sure your customers know you have a Facebook page as well by printing out a simple sign with the Facebook logo saying “Find us on Facebook!”

Twitter

Twitter is a great place to get out information as well as speak directly with the companies representatives on a more personal level.

As with a Facebook page, create a Twitter username with your card shop names and make sure to fill in other information on how to find your shop in the “About Me” area. You can post about when your products are released and keep in contact with your customers and company representatives about their products that you sell.

You can also engage in discussion with other collectors and follow collectors to see what’s getting popular in the hobby or what products they are looking to open so you have it available in your shop.

I’ve seen companies even “retweet” card shop tweets about big pulls from their products. Collectors follow the companies as well so if a collector sees that a shop is close by and they may not know about it, that’s another possible new customer and at least a new “follower” of your tweets. You tweet that you got a new product in for a great price, your customers see it and they’ll want to pick it up.

Again, post at your shop that you have a Twitter account so your customers know to follow you.

YouTube

Every card shop should be opening product for customers. What a better way to open product on camera and posting it for the world to see?

Sharing your YouTube videos with customers and people from around the world is a good way to promote your site. People are always on YouTube wanting to see breaks and what kind of cards are being pulled. (You can even link to your videos on the above channels.)

I’ve seen people share their breaks of Panini products and Panini has featured their shop in their “best hits of the month” videos which are seen by thousands of collectors around the world.

Unlike the other mediums the visual appeal of YouTube is perfect for sports card collectors. Nothing like seeing a full box or case of product being opened.

Forums/Blogs

If you aren’t reading and interacting in collectors forums and blogs you are really missing out on information.

Do you know what “group breaks” are? This is a popular trend in the hobby I will go over in the future, but the only way you could have learned about them is through blogs and forum sites.

Do you know what the hottest products are that collectors are most excited about? Do you know what bloggers have found wrong in certain products that may have affected your customers? If you aren’t reading and participating, you aren’t in the know and it affects your sales by either not being knowledgeable or not being prepared.

Check out the links I have on the right sidebars for great blogs and communities around the web.

These are a number of ways to get your shop out there on the internet and interacting with your customers and future customers. It makes your shop more visible, keeps customers in the loop about products, and it shows that you actually care about your shop as you are knowledgeable and friendly with your customers.

As with all these posts, I invite collectors to share their thoughts about card shops using social media and some recommendations collectors may have to interact with card shops.

 

 

Toploader Size Guide

I wrote a post on Sports Card Forum back some time ago in 2010 about how to find the correct toploader size for your very thick cards. I thought I would transpose that information here in the case someone out there needs to find this information more easily.

Do you have that really thick patch card?

Do you suffer from tight toploaders or are your cards bouncing around in your current toploaders?

Well this will tell you exactly what size to buy for that card. All you need is a ruler and know how to read in millimeters (mm).

1.5mm – 59pt
2mm – 79pt
2.75mm – 108pt
3.5mm – 138pt
5mm – 197pt
7mm – 240pt

In other words, 1mm is about equal to about 40pt.

Now I need to go measure my Upper Deck Exquisite and other thick patch cards to find the perfect size toploader for them!

Most major card sites like Blowout Cards, DA Card World, and Atlanta Sports Cards carry these products.

2012 Topps Museum Collection is a Pleasant Surprise

One of the common gripes amongst baseball card collectors in recent years is “Why can’t Topps put together a decent high end product?” We’ve seen great things from Topps in other high end departments like Topps Five-Star, but nothing close to that in baseball.

Until this year. Until now.

For all intents and purposes, I call 2012 Topps Museum Collection a high end product. Really, any product over $150 at release I consider high end. I remember when it used to be anything over $100, and some people would only claim those $300-$400 boxes are the only true high end nowadays.

Would you call it a game changer? Some would. I would. The quality of this product reminds me of something that Upper Deck would of done, but with the signature Topps flair. As one person has stated on Twitter, “It’s like Marquee and Tribute had a baby.”

The reason I mention former Upper Deck products is that one of the gripes of Topps collectors is about how stingy Topps has been in the use of the uniform patch relics. This product features no shortage of patch relics, that’s for sure. Usually it seemed that Topps reserved the best patches for the most hard to get cards, that has definitely changed with this product. While the numbering on the jaw dropping patches is low, and that’s rightfully so, there are still a ton of other great looking patches in this product that are easier to pull.

And that has definitely reflected on secondary prices as well. Just checking the secondary market prices on places like eBay really showcases what a well designed card, some on-card autographs, and beautiful patches can do to the value of cards.

Good show, Topps. Good show.

 

“Ball Boys” Debuts on ABC

I briefly mentioned the new ABC show “Ball Boys” a couple of days ago when CBS declared the hobby of sports card collecting “dead”. I finally got a chance to check out a replay of the show and I wanted to share my thoughts.

My first thought was that this seems exactly like “Pawn Stars”. The “characters” and even the show setup seems just like the show it was based off of.

Set at Robbie’s First Base just outside the city of Baltimore, the show features a father and son who own and operate a sports card and memorabilia shop. The cool thing about this show for me is just seeing all the sports memorabilia and autographs this shop has that they get to deal with as well as overzealous people coming in trying to cash in on items that aren’t worth what they think.

While I’m not a huge fan of reality shows with this sort of set up, I could find myself watching this show because I am into the industry and love seeing pieces of sports history. Plus I can dream about owning some of the items they will show off someday.

It’s in a weird time slot on Saturdays at 3pm, but I love that it’s on network television and showcasing some of the interesting parts of our hobby. So check it out if you got some time on a Saturday afternoon.

Response to the CBS Report on Card Collecting Dying

If you missed it this morning, CBS had a small segment on the baseball card industry and how it’s “dying”. You can view the segment here if you missed it.

The segment features the creator of a card show in Parsippany, New Jersey and how it was once a playground for collectors of all ages. Now, it’s barren with the same few “middle aged white people” there every show.

First, where the hell is Parsippany, New Jersey? And why would I ever want to go there?

Next, there is more than a single reason why collectors, even younger collectors, don’t attend these card shows anymore. And the reasons aren’t cell phones, girls, and video games. One would be the creation of the internet. The internet is like a 24-hour a day card show where you can find and buy pretty much whatever you want without having to leave the comfort of your own home. That’s gotta be where all the non “middle aged white guys” are.

The only shows worth going to anymore are the ones held annually where dealers from across the country come in with their top inventory and manufacturers are in attendance. Over 4 days last year, the National Sports Collectors Convention in Chicago drew 30,000 people in attendance including several thousand children, especially on the Sunday where children get in free. And guess what, there is a lot more product there then what I saw on video in that CBS segment, better product too. How is 30,000 people going to a single show in Chicago evidence of the hobby dying?

I could go on more into price of products, greed, asking prices at these card shows, hobby shops, etc. but that is something CBS should have done before putting together a half-assed report on television.

Yes, the hobby has taken a hit with the number of collectors since the high points in the 80s and 90s, but it’s far from a dead national past time. Every hobby has it’s peak of interest and that was it’s time, but it’s still going strong today. In fact, modern card values are selling for a pretty penny. We’re seeing sales in the 10 to 20 thousands of dollars for single cards on the secondary market. Again, how is that evidence of the hobby dying?

When people stop buying vintage cards and stop buying new products to the point where there is only one manufacturer left, you can tell me the hobby is dying. But with Upper Deck, Panini, Topps, ITG, Leaf, Benchwarmer, etc. still creating and selling trading cards, you can’t convince me of something that isn’t true.

For that terrible reporting CBS, I’m going to have everyone check out this early review of “Ball Boys” on ABC. It’s basically “Pawn Stars” but with sports memorabilia. Looks…interesting, but I’m not into television like that, but maybe you’ll like it.

What are your thoughts on the CBS piece?