Jim Barr is a ski fanatic, a writer, and as of lately, a social media guru.
Barr is the president and founder of SnowSeekers — a new-media company that delivers winter recreation videos, articles, and photos through their website, TV show and line of smartphone applications — and on April 27th, he’ll be sharing his expertise with the Golden community through Kicking Horse Country Chamber of Commerce’s (KHCCC) Let’s Do Lunch program.
“I’m coming to inspire and to give education about these free tools,” said Barr, referring to the ever-growing social media trends like Facebook and Twitter. “A lot of businesses don’t have a lot of money, especially when they’re starting, so you have to be really smart about how you communicate.”
It all started for Barr and his SnowSeekers team with the Vancouver Olympics. It actually started a few years before the Olympics, with the realization that the ski industry in Western Canada was about to experience a serious boom.
“We started off trying to make a guidebook,” said Barr, explaining that the deal with his potential publisher didn’t work out. “So our traditional guidebook turned into an app (smartphone application), and we went from there.”
SnowSeekers, now, seeks to fill a void left by most ski-related destination guides and travel magazines that routinely showcase only the most internationally recognized Canadian resorts.
“Our goal is to ensure visitors to Western Canada have as much fun as we do,” it reads on their website. “We’re pretty proud of where we live, and we want to share it.”
Social media, explained Barr, has been an amazing tool for SnowSeekers.
“We started out really organic. We really didn’t have much money, but social media allowed us to connect to people in so many ways,” said Barr. “ If you’re a restaurant or hotel or some sort of tourism provider in Golden, you’ve got some amazing stories to tell, even if it’s just about something simple, like your hotel pillows. People come to hotels for the pillows.”
Over the past two and a half years, SnowSeekers has grown from an exciting idea to a new media network with over 30,000 followers.
“With a push of a button we can talk to 30,000 people in Alberta who are interested in winter travel,” said Barr. “It’s really incredible.”
Rick Macdonnell, Director of Communications for SnowSeekers, put it succinctly:
“Some people might pay for a billboard on a highway, and people will see it. They’re also hoping these people are interested in their product, and that they’ll look into it when they get home,” said Macdonnell. “With Facebook and Twitter, your audience is already engaged and it’s so much more interactive. It’s so easy, so quick and so free.”
Jim Barr will be presenting his workshop “Tips for building your business through the Internet and Social Media” on Wednesday, April 27th at 12 pm at the Island Restaurant. Please RSVP with lunch selection (see http://www.goldenchamber.bc.ca/news/tips-building-your-business-through-internet-and-social-media) to firstname.lastname@example.org.