How to keep up appearances on Social Media
In this interview, I speak with Owen Bolwell from Bubblerr who tells us all about how you can keep your social media posts “Bubbling” along with ease and why this helps to generate sales for your business.
SCOTT: Welcome to the Small Business Heroes show, where we talk about everything to help your small business grow and prosper. I’m your host, Scott Trevethan, and today I’m talking to Owen Bolwell from Bubblerr.
In his early years, Owen found commercial success as a songwriter and music producer. Their production company developed recording artists in collaboration with Sony BMG, one of the biggest recording companies in the world.
When he went to business school and got himself a Master’s degree in Business and Marketing, he was eventually offered a position as a Marketing Director of the Bolwell Group, the family business founded way back in 1962, and which now is a successful multinational company with businesses in Australia and Southeast Asia.
He is developing the Bolwell Group’s Australian B2C business units while increasing their international B2B market penetration. With responsibilities for profit and loss, overseeing creative and diverse teams, Owen also has experience in Automotive, OEM, and the Australian Leisure Industry.
Owen Bolwell, welcome to the Small Business Heroes show.
OWEN: Thank you, Scott. That was very professionally done, mate.
SCOTT: Thank you very much.
OWEN: Very nice.
SCOTT: I’ve just told our small business audience a little bit about what you’ve been doing, but tell us a little more about what you do and what you can do to help the small business community.
OWEN: What I do, I’m the valiant fighter for small business everywhere. No, not really. Don’t get excited. [laughs]
SCOTT: That’s the show is all about. [laughs] You’re with kindred spirits here.
OWEN: No, where I’m coming from is I create digital content for small businesses’ websites, their social media, everything like that. We’re talking blog articles, we’re talking social media posts, we’re talking video, we’re talking infographics, images, things like that. Anything to do with a business’s online asset – and I’m not talking about the infrastructure behind it, I’m not talking about websites, I’m not talking about your email system – I’m talking about all the stuff that you have to produce every day to get your customer walking through the door. That’s what I make for businesses.
SCOTT: I think there was a Queen song that said something along the lines of “it’ll take you all your time and your money to keep yourself alive.” Is that kind of what we’re talking about here with your offering from Bubblerr?
OWEN: Absolutely. We won’t take all your money, but we might take all your time. [laughs]
SCOTT: Time is money for Small Business Heroes. That’s great. So you’re taking that daily posting type of thing and creation of the content and the content marketing side of things from the small business sand making it easy for them.
OWEN: Yeah. Because it’s been the number one request from my prospective clients and my now current clients. Early on, I was doing websites, I was doing a bit of SEO, bit of PPC, just bits of stuff.
I really enjoy creating content. I really enjoy being a digital media producer, and I’ll just qualify that a little more: I’ve got a team that produces this stuff for me, okay? I love getting into Photoshop and Illustrator, and I love getting into the video editing programs, but I know myself that if I do that all the time, time just goes, and I have no time to build my business. So I’ve had to ungrasp from the day-to-day media creation which I so much love and basically delegate that to my team.
Since we first started talking about it, about 12 months ago, I’ve really developed a team now. In fact, just the other day I was interviewing a couple of new video editors, because we’re moving more into video. Not so much face-to-face video, but…
SCOTT: Yeah, I’m the maverick in the industry.
OWEN: [laughs] Yeah. No, more a brochure type video. And these are low-cost videos. You’re not spending four grand on the video; you’re spending two or three hundred dollars. Because I know small businesses, having been in a small business myself and run one myself, and as soon as someone says the word “four thousand dollars,” you’re not hearing anything else. All you’re thinking about is, “Okay, go away now, because I’ve got things to do.” [laughs]
SCOTT: Right. From an accounting perspective, we look, what’s the return on our investment? What are we going to get for our four grand? And a lot of marketers, I think, have been guilty in the past of saying, “Well, I don’t know, we could get you visits to the website.” But there’s no tangible result to that. So I think return on investment is the big thing for sure. You lower the cost, well, the return has to go up.
OWEN: It has to go up. And my thinking is, if I can offer a client a service whereby they’re not paying a fortune for their blog, they’re not paying a fortune for us to post articles onto their social media, they’re not paying a fortune for the odd video here and there, they’re not paying a fortune for infographics – infographics are performing so well with search and on LinkedIn. All those social profiles, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram – not so much Instagram. Pinterest, definitely, with infographics. So visual media is really coming into its own now, and that’s why I’m looking at putting on more video editors. I’m putting in more graphic artists now. The writers, we’ve got a fantastic team of writers.
We even go so far as – I have a medical client, and we commissioned a practicing doctor to write the articles for this medical client. Because the articles have to be of a standard, right up there. They have to be medically accurate. They have to be speaking the same language. And this medical client doesn’t treat patients; they service other medical practitioners. So we have to be speaking the same language. I get excited about that.
SCOTT: You should.
OWEN: It’s exciting because I’m able to offer this stuff affordable. They’re not paying an arm and a leg for it, but it’s stuff that yes, some of them could write themselves, sure, but who’s got an hour a day, two hours a day?
SCOTT: Hand on heart, which Small Business Heroes owner out there is actually doing that sort of content marketing themselves, has the time to write the newsletter articles, or is it like our business – like everyone else – we just don’t have time. Things get in the way, life gets in the way, and our own businesses get in the way. We just don’t have time to write the content.
I’ll just give you a little example. Owen and I have been working together for a long time now, and I decided that I was going to do a podcast. He begged me, he said, “Don’t go live with it until you’ve got 10 in the can.” I said, “Don’t worry, mate. I’ve got this all sorted. I don’t need 10 in the can. I’m going to go live after one, and I’ll do one a week.” Well, I only ever did one. [laughs] Just didn’t have time.
OWEN: And a very good one at that.
SCOTT: So dead right, someone like Bubblerr, someone like Owen to be able to help you with your content marketing I think is such a boon. But tell me a little bit about content marketing as a way to drive sales for individual businesses. Is it an effective use of a small business’s marketing dollar?
OWEN: Yeah, that’s an interesting question. I know your audience – I don’t want this to turn into a sales pitch, so I’m going to steer it away from Bubblerr for a minute and I’m going to talk about just some of the – because there’s nothing worse than watching a human being promoting himself. I get that.
But I think it’s really interesting to explore the value of content in today’s online environment, because I was reading an article on Inc.com, the American site, talking about how there was an online magazine called The Daily Beast, and they’d run a marketing – they’re an online magazine, so they make their money from advertising revenue from banner ads. Physical banner ads on the site next to the article.
But what they found was that they’re getting a lot higher conversion for their advertisers when the articles themselves incorporate some of the advertiser’s elements in there. Now, there’s a very gray line there, because is it an advertorial? Does it become an infomercial? There’s all this sort of grayness in there.
But what they’re finding, though, is that for people to want to come to the site – whether that’s an online magazine, whether that’s a plumber’s business down the road, whether that’s an accounting business in Malvern somewhere –
SCOTT: Malvern East.
OWEN: Malvern East, I should say. No, seriously, for anyone to want to come to a website, there’s got to be a reason for them to come. And they’re not going to want to come to a website just to be sold something. We’re so wary and suspicious of advertising now. We’re a very educated client base, where we don’t trust advertisers, we don’t trust the big companies really, no matter how cozy and cuddly they get, and it’s the content that we produce that goes all-out to help a client with whatever problem they may be having at the time. And you never know what problem they’re going to be having at any one time.
So the thing with content is that as a client, as a prospect, I have a problem. I’m thinking, “Jeez, I’ve got the ATO breathing down my back, I’ve got the business here, I’ve really got to get my books sorted out. What am I going to do? I’m going to get in there, I’m going to research. Okay, what do the ATO look for when they audit people?” Things like that.
Many accountants, many bookkeepers don’t have that sort of information front and center. But if someone has decided to write an article about it three months ago, and that article’s floating around –and the thing is with most articles that you write or you have written, if you make them evergreen, meaning that you can publish them today and they will be just as relevant in a year’s time, maybe with a tweak or two – that content, it keeps coming up and it keeps floating around the web.
It’s like a little bit of – it’s a horrible, horrible term, but a little bit of bait out there. It’s just always out there. That’s a shopping term. I’m sorry.
SCOTT: No, so it’s an asset for you that just continues to work.
OWEN: It does, it does. But it’s only an asset if it’s promoted right. It’s not an asset if you just write it, slap it on your site, and then expect everyone to come and read it. It won’t happen. In fact, no one will read it. So you’ve got to get out there, you’ve got to promote it.
The idea, rule of thumb, you post – and I’ll get into the nuts and bolts of pretty much what it’s about – you’ve got your blog article there, you find a great picture for it. You don’t just want a substandard stock picture; you want something that’s going to be a little bit catchy, just a little bit maybe left field, something that’s going to catch your eye.
SCOTT: Something with a pussycat in it, perhaps.
OWEN: Absolutely, you put that with it, you post that onto your website, and you make sure it’s all SEO-friendly, meaning you’ve got it in the right categories, you’ve got the right tags associated with it, you’ve got the description engaging. The headline is one thing, but the description that you put that comes up in a Google search has to make me want to click through and read it.
The other thing, too, that we’ve found through looking at different studies is that yes, inbound links – everyone knows that inbound links to an article from authority sites, so from important sites that Google sees as important – links from there into your article or into your page are very valuable for SEO, search engine optimization, and they will push you up.
But they’ve also found now that outbound links to authority sites, just as important in Google’s eyes to pushing you up in organic rank. So let’s say that for instance you were talking about – we’re talking about ATO study here, and there was a university study on the effectiveness of tax accounting, blah blah blah blah blah. What you do is you might have a line in there saying “tax accounting practices,” and you make that into a hyperlink and you link that to the study from, say, Melbourne University. And all of a sudden you have an outbound link to a very high authority site – a university site is a good site to have – and that adds to the whole mix.
So you have one, two, or three of those within your article – not overdoing it, because overdoing anything, it’s like eating too much sugar. It’s not good for you, and it’s not good for your rankings. So that’s your article and your site, so you’ve got that all squared away with Google. Everybody’s happy. It’s lovely, right? Looks good, reads well, all the rest of it. It’s got a good, catchy headline. Headlines are super important. In fact, I generally change headlines two, three, four, five times before I’m really happy with the headline. It’s got to grab you first off.
So you’ve got that article sitting on your site, and that’s okay. No one’s really going to come and read it. So what you do is basically, the day that that’s published, you syndicate that article out to your Twitter feed, you syndicate it out to Facebook, you syndicate it out to your LinkedIn. You syndicate that out to wherever else your client base wants to hang out, whether it be – you might have an image within the blog post – you can have more than one image – in that ATO article, we may have an image there with a quote in it or a graph in it.
Now, that image, we can post that to our Instagram page. Posting to Instagram, it’s got to be interesting. There’s no point posting stock. Stock in there is going to do you no good at all. Quotes, information in a visual form work excellently on Instagram.
The other thing, too, that I’m starting to suggest to our clients is that we also post to Medium. Now, Medium.com is – I don’t know a good way to explain it. It’s almost like a TED Talks in text. There’s a lot of good articles on there. I would only post your best articles on there. The thing with that, with posting onto Medium, is that you’ve got your main article on your website; your main article should always live on your website first and foremost.
We’ve syndicated that article out to Twitter, to Facebook, to LinkedIn, and maybe to Instagram, maybe to Pinterest, wherever. Snapchat, if you’ve got a younger audience, that’s fantastic. It’ll live there for 24 hours and then, see you later. So we’ve done that.
Now, what you want to do then is with that content, what we can do then is the following week or two weeks – one or two weeks is generally a good rule of thumb – we can take that whole article and post it onto our LinkedIn page with a caveat down at the bottom saying, “see the original article here,” with a link back to the original one. And then we do the same on the Medium account. Full article with a link down at the bottom saying, “this is where the original article lives,” and it’s back on your website.
So everything comes back to your website. I think that is probably the main game there. It’s got to live on your website. Because if that’s evergreen, if that article is relevant next year as much as it is this year, you can do the same thing next year. So over time, you’ve built up a whole library on your website of these things, and every single day, you’ve got this content churning away.
You were right when you said before, it probably does take a good 12 months to get the ball really rolling and getting traction. But the thing is, once it does get traction, you complement that then with PPC, or pay-per-click advertising, and advertising those articles rather than the company itself, but advertising those articles and the message that they send. Say we’re coming into the deadline for getting tax in, and you might find “Oh, I’ve got a great article for that.” “What to do if you’re panicking about getting your tax in on time.”
So pull that article out of the archives, we post that again onto all the social media, and we also implement a little bit of pay-per-click on that to boost that up. And all of a sudden you’ve got a lot of your clientele that you want to get, the type of customers that you really want to get, you’ve got them coming in to read that article. “Who’s written that? Ah, this business. Maybe we should give them a call.” In theory, that’s how it works. It’s holistic.
SCOTT: That’s brilliant. We could talk about this all day long. You’re clearly the go-to guy when it comes to all things digital marketing. Where would our Small Business Heroes audience come to connect more with you, to subscribe to your newsletter, your podcast, etc.? How can they get in contact with you, Owen Bolwell, from Bubblerr?
OWEN: The best spot probably is on Bubblerr.com. That’s “Bubble” with a double “R”, dot com. That’s my home base. I’m also on Twitter @owenbolwell. Come and hit me up. I’m on LinkedIn, Facebook. I’ve actually been playing around with Snapchat. [laughs]
SCOTT: We don’t need to know about that, mate. Well, what about the podcast? When is it coming out?
OWEN: The podcast, I actually forgot to tell you, I think you’re scheduled down for two weeks’ time, mate. But we’ll talk about that.
SCOTT: Wonderful. [laughs] We’ll talk about – hopefully not social media marketing; I’ll be talking about tax, no doubt. That’s fantastic. I fully encourage our Small Business Heroes audience to look up this man. He knows a lot, and he’s very willing to give of that. I’ll put all his details down below here on this video. That’s exactly right. Call now, call this number now.
I’m Scott Trevethan. You’re listening to the Small Business Heroes show. If you’d like to find out more great interviews with similar people to Owen here, head off to our Facebook group, which is the Small Business Heroes Facebook group. You can also look us up and maybe like us at the Scott Partners Facebook page. You can also look us up on www.ScottPartners.com.au.
I’m Scott Trevethan. You’re listening to the Small Business Heroes show. Thank you very much for watching.