Well, nearly a week into December and I know I’m feeling the pressure a bit. It’s strange following a year of such austerity and hardship in Spain and worldwide, to be entering this consumerist festival of abundance the way we do every year. I have never felt less inclined to spend money I haven’t got on things that people won’t like or need!
I know I am not the only one to feel this way, and the feelings are intensified by a backlash against the big corporations who do so well at this time of year – yes it’s fabulous that Amazon can ship just about anything anywhere and even wrap it up for you first, but the fact that I have paid more tax on it than they have is starting to stick in my throat and everyone else’s – especially when we see so many small businesses struggling locally.
Zofia Coulton and Diane Berryman in Malaga were feeling this too, particularly because a lot of the companies they help with social media are those hard-working small enterprises. They came up with a unique solution to help everyone on both sides of the gift-buying equation this year: the #Twitmas Campaign
“We thought that, as a lot of our followers (and #flutterbiz supporters) were small businesses, mainly crafters, it would be a good platform for them to promote their stuff, and also for other businesses to see what is being showcased. We’d seen lots of people mention that they intended to buy from small businesses for Christmas but we didn’t know of any other ‘campaign’ that actually got people together for this purpose. It stemmed from a desire to buy from our many great supporters on Twitter and Facebook and a frustration of not being able to find things easily, so we came up with the idea of getting everyone together with a mutual hashtag on Twitter, (#twitmas) – and then the Facebook group was born so everyone could showcase their lovely products too.”
The Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/twitmaslist/ is a great place for makers and retailers to share information about each other’s products and help each other out, there are people from Spain, the UK and further afield, all getting involved
“People are buying from each other big time! Most of them are offering discounts or free postage for fellow #twitmas members, or even swapping gifts of similar values. We are also buying from lots of people too. More than that, friendships are being formed, the support for each other has been fantastic, everyone is in the same boat which promotes a great friendly atmosphere.”
It’s like a personal shopping service too, people are posting things like ‘I need a great gift for a female relative in her 50s, quite traditional tastes and she really loves cats’ or whatever, and people are replying with suggestions and ideas for perfect gifts that they will even wrap and post with a dedicated message for the recipient – Christmas gifting made easy! So much more personal than an Amazon ‘suggester algorithm’ – other people who shopped for this also liked whatever. Doesn’t that make you feel special, hmm?
It couldn’t have happened without social media – the main ‘meeting place’ is a Facebook page, and it is also a very active Twitter tag. As the members are all over the world – UK, US and Spain amongst others, there is no other way they could have got together. Obviously most of them have websites – but not all, some only have a Facebook page, but even with a website, people have to know it’s there. Small businesses like these don’t have the marketing budgets of the big boys on the high street or online, so coming together on a shared social space makes sense from a business point of view, to pool resources and promote each other’s work.
From a social point of view it has benefits as well. Because of the mutuality, everyone respects the work of other people who put their heart and soul into creating something new, and are pleased to be buying from other crafters and small businesses
“I have found it brilliant…. I have found buddies, sold items, and found some amazingly talented people! I have mentioned before – and I’ll mention again just for good measure… Twitmas for me is not about Christmas! It was good excuse to start the group up though, and for me to join!…. I think this page should also be used to share our good and not so good news with regards to our little enterprises!”
Indeed there are plans afoot to keep the group going into the new year, because makers like everyone else have to earn a living year round. Another member chipped in:
“I definitely want to be in the new group. As others have mentioned this isn’t just about sales. It’s also about networking. Sharing our own experiences good and bad may help others who are going through the same or whose businesses are at a different stage. Molly Felicity Designs has only been going since early 2012 and I have made some great contacts through the group.”
Do you make or sell as a small business, or would you like to support those who do? Get along to the Facebook group as soon as possible https://www.facebook.com/groups/twitmaslist/ or simply tweet ‘I want to be on the #twitmas list’
Published in Costa Blanca News, 07/12/12