JASON: This is Jason Winder, the co-founder of Make Leaps. Make Leaps is a small business invoicing tool that helps small companies and better invoices in Japan.
I’m here today with Dylan Robertson CEO of Pure Enterprise, this will be an interesting interview since Dylan will give us information about how you can use social media in campaigns, how can you sell more of your services, how to get more costumers in Japan and will give us advices on how to handle challenges and difficulties you might face in social media campaigns particular to Japan region.
So Dylan, would you mind starting this conversation by telling us a little bit about yourself and the Pure Enterprise?
DYLAN: Pure Enterprise specializes in management of online content.
JASON: What do you mean by online content?
DYLAN: Basically there are five steps in the life cycle of online content, first is Basic Sourcing. This is about getting your hands on to the content and it is a case-by-case basis depending on their clients demand, their clients perhaps may get a testimonial or they may have photographs or videos from an event which they held, so that’s giving you the idea on how to handle the content.
JASON: When you talk about generating the content, what are these “content” that they would generate to fit in to this kind of online content management?
DYLAN: Well, if you’re running a business then you’re all busy and expert in something, you have useful information which gives people the interest to give their hands on. The way to actually build or to form online services is to come out with the information which is useful to people in a consistent format and in this manner your credibility as an expert in this area will be accumulated.
JASON: What other benefits of content management will suit to any kind of business? Crisis in the business is always present, that could actually stop and generate bunch of different content that could be quite difficult, unless, there’s some kind of big payoff. What kind of payoffs and what kind of benefits would you get by putting in the time and effort to generate this kind of content?
DYLAN: Well that’s exactly what most businesses don’t do while they have very weak online businesses. Just having a static website is a good first step so the people can find you and they can find out a bit more about your company but to turn your online presence into something which is acting as a sales panel, it’s 24/7 feeding you inquiries from prospective clients you need to go the extra mile. Now if you don’t have the resources to put together this kind of stuffs in house and that is the case with most businesses, then perhaps you need to hire somebody and that is so where I come in with my firm’s services. So, I may perhaps interview somebody from the client’s company, who are perhaps told to one of their clients to get a testimonial. Or I might attend one of their events and take photographs or I might engage a photographer or a video camera man.
JASON: When searching for businesses, the fact is that somebody should be expert on something, and you should be well positioned to create really good content which will be beneficial and useful to people. When you take that responsibility, you will be required to have that background experience. So how do you do that and how do you generate the same level of content with the simple level of value?
DYLAN: The key is approaching it from the everyday person’s point of view; you need to be putting out content in a form which is understandable. So I may talk to the contents as an example about what they do and then there’s a filtering process, so that’s step number two of the five steps within this content life cycle. Step number two is filtering. Filtering may be editing, it maybe a polishing or filling in the gaps and also the process of translation and copy writing so that it’s in a form which you can put out there and it’s going to be attractive. It’s going to be useful and easily digestible.
JASON: How do you go about learning what this particular client might have to teach you and turning that information to something digestible by the average lay person?
DYLAN: Well the key is most people with the old world paradigm think of: “I can’t give away all my knowledge for free because, and then I’m just giving it all away and no-body’s going to pay me anything.” But actually in today’s world it’s a 190 degrees the opposite. You want to tell everybody all of your most valuable information and tips to their businesses or for whatever they’re doing and that would build your credibility. You become somebody who is trusted. They’ve been following you, they’ve been following you’re twits on twitter or perhaps you’re posts on Facebook or perhaps your videos on YouTube. And then over times they get to the point saying I’m looking for somebody who does XYZO, I’ve been seeing this person online. I trust them and I know a bit about them, I’ll give them a try.
JASON: For me that’s going to be a hard thing. If I’m looking around and figure things out I want to increase my businesses persons. I want to give more visibility and credibility on Internet.
How do you balance if somebody comes to me and says “Hi, I can do this for you, I can help you” but all need to do is release the secrets that you spent years building up, I mean, I might hesitate before rushing a hundred percent into doing that. So how do you serve in your style cycle, when you’re talking to the new costumers? How do you balance up the concerns, as you say old world paradigm to try to hold on to what you built up and this new world paradigm sharing to build credibility on the Internet?
DYLAN: So that’s the initial immediate reaction of the people who hear these new concepts but you have to think what are people really paying you for, right now, because It doesn’t matter what your field is. You know there are books out there, stuffs out there on the internet, if people really want to get their hands on certain information they can, but most of the time, when people are looking for a customize solutions, they’re looking to build their relationship with somebody who will take their time to understand them as a person and also their businesses’ needs.
JASON: Right, I guess it comes down to the old out sourcing paradigm. To either hire somebody and try to train them up with skills that you might not have yourself, which cause a lot of money or time. Or maybe you look some kind of services from the company that has done this before. Learn how to generate the content and how to get react there in a way that creates credibility on your services. So, what do you think?
DYLAN: Exactly. We’re entering into a long term relationships with that clients, so we’re not, this is not something that you can just do once and forget about it. It’s not like ten years ago, when you hired somebody to build a website and then we have a website now and it’s finished, and you’re not going to touch it for five years, so it’s about you could employ somebody full time but you probably wouldn’t be able to afford a team without capabilities for the same price level.
JASON: So the very proposition is, instead of hiring team of people to do a skill with you, they can get a similar level of value or price level by hiring someone skilled and back-rounded to that area?
DYLAN: Yeah. The other thing is flexibility. If in some point in time, your business starts to go down for some reason or you have financial issues, you have to get rid of the excess costs, then obviously having a relationship with the next tunnel service provider you can serve with that on a flexible basis.
JASON: I guess that’s the main changer value when you go for outsourcing: flexibility and the way you use the services. On that note actually, there’s exactly like what you’re saying books out there, and the information is out there. One company has been pretty successful in doing this reason; I feel this company is called Solid Japan which does a counting for such small, medium, size firm businesses in Tokyo. They send out this brilliant news letter every month. We’d like practical tips and advice like: “hey, did you know you that Japanese Government just introduced new tax law or tax regulation,” you know there are the details, I’m really glad I know about that but I’ve got somebody else /things to do. I can’t get into it, I can’t you know call up the tax office and say “hey, I would like to do this, to change this…,” but by sending that information, is establishing itself as a credible company that can do that, so, that’s one example of how you can share information for free, it builds credibility, and people who are busy who possibly have the money and the resources to pay for that kind of service will look at that and say “well, that was good, let’s keep this kind of cool.” So as far as I look at it, it’s pretty good, real life example where I’ve seen that happens successfully in my experience on the last two months.
DYLAN: Exactly, It doesn’t matter whether or not you read that article in depth, exactly studying it for 3 hours, and then went into all the advice that they gave you. What matter is that it’s somewhere it’s stocked in the back of your mind, that “hey, this guy knows what he’s talking about.” And if I have an issue with this particular thing then I can go and talk to them, this disregard the call, where as when you received just a brochure saying what a great accounting firm they were, you probably, just you know throw it away.
JASON: OK, let’s look at a real life business example, let’s say Make Leaps, we make software that makes businesses produce better invoices in Japanese and in English. What kind of basic strategy might you come up with to help us get our messages out there, obviously one is to make YouTube interview, and what other useful ideas that will be beneficial for us to get all of them?
DYLAN: Alright, this is a great thing you’re doing, this “YouTube interview series”, this is giving useful information. You’re showing a variety of businesses that use your product and it’s providing social proof, real people doing real things on the ground here in Japan. You’re not just providing on brochure online but you’re using real people and you’re providing content which is of value which people will go to research. Over time if you’re consistent on putting out similar content on similar schedule and frequency, people will get used to that flow and when they don’t watch the whole video, when you think they’re caught, let’s say in the first 20 seconds, and say: “oh, this sounds pretty good, maybe I have to check back on that later,” then they will be get wronged to it, that’s ok, because they will remember you as the guy. All this different businesses are using you’re software and the following are achieved: Sourcing, Filtering and Distribution.
JASON: As a strategy you’re getting out the message on the social environment.
DYLAN: Distribution has these channels, first will be the website and/or a Blog. A blog is an easy to updates part of your website perhaps and the other is the social media channel. So if you want to make all of your content available on Twitter, also on Facebook, so now this two social media platforms are often taught to us being quite casual, this is something you would use to your business life, but you have to go where the people are, so the people are on Facebook, they’re on twitter and then YouTube is one of the best known video sharing platforms, so I would say those are the top three.
JASON: You’re saying, YouTube as one of the top three form of social media content?
DYLAN: Yes and the other one maybe for the business would link in. Until recently, Facebook is not really being seen so attractive for marketing tool to the Japan business community, But Facebook has exploded in Japan during this year 2011, which we had a Hollywood movie, come out.
JASON: That’s true.
DYLAN: And we had experienced earthquake and subsequent disasters. A whole huge number of people were haven’t really using Facebook before, but they’re kind of used to and knew their friends when using it, when online they wanted to stay in touch and communicate, and so people who are Japanese who don’t speak the word of English, who don’t travel much. A year ago if I haven’t know something about on Facebook, they have to look at me blankly, and not at now, they’re getting into it, Facebook is now compatible to Japanese keitai and is fully localize into Japanese now.
JASON: Keitai being Japanese mobile phones, right?
DYLAN: Yes, keitai’s being the local Japanese mobile phones, which don’t work outside Japan, it is based on a smart phone, which is a global thing. And yes the Japanese are really taking it up. Of course there are the domestic social networking services such as Mixi…