Social Media and Business at The Sandbar

If you subscribe to the Lawrence Journal-World, or read it online, you might have seen this little article about businesses and social media. It was actually on the front page of the print edition on Sunday!

The reporter called me last week and asked a bunch of questions about what we do and how we do it, with regard to social media. I thought I'd share some of that information here, since news articles always get cut short due to space.

We've had a website for lots of years, along with our famous webcam. Lots of funny stuff happens at The Sandbar, and we started joking about how someday we should write a book. I started learning and hearing about blogs, and eventually decided that if we were serious about a future book, it would be much easier to start small.

This blog was born in September, 2006. As of right now, there are 820 posts- a few are saved drafts, but most of those are published. That's a lot of stories. I don't know if they'll ever be compiled into an actual book, but they'll live on for eternity right here.

When I researched where to set up the blog, lots of people recommended MySpace. Remember, it was the hot thing at the time. I didn't want the blog to be on a site where people had to be members in order to read it, but I decided it would be fun to have a Sandbar MySpace page. We don't do much with that page these days- sorry to those of you who still play there.

We're also big fans of videos. Our indoor hurricane began in 2002, and we've uploaded videos to YouTube for several years. Most of our videos were uploaded to my personal account (since I didn't know any better at the time), but now we also have an official Sandbar YouTube channel

Once I got a little bored with MySpace, Facebook started to hit my radar and I decided to set up a Sandbar page. Only I did it wrong. I didn't have a personal Facebook account at the time and had no idea how it worked, so I ended up creating a profile that people "friended." This is actually against Facebook's Terms of Service, as businesses should have fan pages, not profiles, and people should become fans, not friends. I figured that out, recreated a Sandbar fan page, and here we are. 

Then, Twitter. We joined this micro-blogging site a little over a year ago. It's a nice compliment to the other social media efforts we've made, and Twitter has allowed us to reach out to new people and the community in ways that Facebook or MySpace don't. You can follow us here

That's a little bit about how our business started down the path of social media. It's been fun to learn and we hope our fans enjoy our efforts!

What Words Bring You Here

It's been awhile since I posted about the keyword searches that internet surfers do that lands them on our lovely little blog. Okay, it's been a whole year. I'm sure you've been dying to know this information, too.

I can always tell when hurricane season is upon us- the real, actual, weather-related hurricane season, not the perpetual hurricane season at the Sandbar. How? Because people all over the internets start searching like mad for "what happens during a hurricane."  It's easily the most popular phrase that lands people here.

Somehow, I don't think our answer is quite what they are looking for. It's probably more fun than the other answer, though.

Some other fun phrases that have popped up lately:

  1. Wore heels all night Halloween.  This search was probably done by Dave. And he was probably looking for the ladies who continue to wear spike heels and dance on his fancy benches and pound little dents into them. Thanks, girls. He'll probably want to re-do the benches soon now.
  2. Actual volleyball team. This one made me laugh out loud. Wrong blog, people. There's no *actual* volleyball team here, just a bunch of wanna-be's.
  3. Andrew, KU Bar Band, Tuba. We talk a lot about the Bar Band and our doorboy Andrew. Apparently there is also a tuba player named Andrew in the Bar Band, and someone is looking for him. I hope it's a cute girl. 
  4. Joe's Sandbar Ottawa. Another one that made me chuckle. We poke a lot of fun at Joe, but it's all in good fun, and he knows it. At least I think he does. He's now been elevated to the owner of the Sandbar in Ottawa by the internets.
  5. How to add fan photos on Facebook. This search actually shows up a lot. I'm rather proud of the little instructional post I wrote about this- it was actually pretty difficult to figure out how to do this, so I hope this post helps someone out there.

There you have it, the search phrases I deemed most interesting. Or at least the ones I had something to say about.

Results of our Picture Poll

Last week, we asked a question: where do you want to see our pictures online? Currently we're putting them on Flickr so that anyone can see them without signing up for something; but if our fans would rather see them on Facebook (or both), we want to accommodate.

The poll closed on Saturday, and the masses have spoken. All 24 of them. We appreciate those who took the time to vote, and we especially appreciate that none of you chose the "Nowhere, I don't care" option.

It looks like you'd rather see our pictures on our Facebook page, and a lot of you think we should put them on both Flickr AND Facebook. 

So, that's what we'll do. From now on when we add new pictures, we'll put them on both sites. As we have time, we'll go back and add the pictures already on Flickr to Facebook, too. 

Thanks for voting, and we'll do another poll soon! If you have a question to suggest, leave it in the comments.

Flickr or Facebook?

I’m trying to figure out the best way to share our favorite Sandbar pictures.

We have a Sandbar Flickr photostream, and we also created a Sandbar Flickr group that you can join and add your own Sandbar pictures to.  The photostream is available for anyone to see, but you have to be a Flickr member AND a group member in order to see the pictures in the group.

The reason I set up the Flickr photostream and group was because I wanted a place to share pictures without requiring you to register or sign in to another site.

However, is it inconvenient? Does anyone use Flickr, or visit our page?

I’ve thought about adding pictures to the Sandbar Facebook page– either instead of or in addition to Flickr. But I know that not everyone is on Facebook (yes, it’s true- my mom’s not!) so I don’t want to restrict the non-Facebookers from seeing our pictures.

So, I’m asking you. Here’s a poll. Pick an answer.

(Isn’t this poll cool?!?) Feel free to share with your friends. Poll closes on Saturday, October 10.