Kevin Bubolz loves his dog – and so does the rest of the world. Ellie, the Minneapolis-based-5-year old Golden Retriever who’s been with Bubolz since she was a puppy, has over 2 million adoring followers across Instagram (@k_bubolz) and TikTok (@goldenretrieverlife).
Ellie is a therapy dog, trained to provide support and comfort to people in homes and hospital settings. When the spread of the COVID-19 virus in the spring of 2020 forced Bubolz to wait out the pandemic indoors, he found himself with a lot of spare time to try something new.
In March 2020, Bubolz decided to start a TikTok account for Ellie, @goldenretrieverlife. Here, you can find the dog-dad duo posting entertaining videos weekly.
Bubolz says the most rewarding part of the experience is seeing how much Ellie resonates with people.
“It’s one thing to get lots of views, it’s another thing to get so many positive comments and hear all of Ellie’s fans and to hear their stories,” said Bubolz.
We caught up with Bubolz to gain some insight into how he has developed Ellie’s following and grown the business of @goldenretrieverlife.
What is the best part of being the social media mogul behind @GoldenRetrieverLife?
“Just connecting with so many people and having that positive impact. From day one, our mission has been to spread positivity, and to put a smile on people’s faces.”
How did you get your start with TikTok?
“It all began back in March 2020, when I started posting random videos of Ellie. My following increased more when I started uploading daily challenge videos.”
What was your first @goldenretrieverlilfe TikTok video with Ellie?
“One day I was checking my TikTok feed page and I came across the “Flip the Switch” challenge. I decided to jump on the trend with Ellie. I closed my phone, woke up the next morning and our video had hit over one million views!”
What makes TikTok a better platform than other social media?
“The unwritten community of collaborators as opposed to competitors within the app. “
How did you know that Ellie had the ability to bring so much joy to people all over the world?
“I always knew people loved to see Ellie, but I didn’t know you could do this at scale with millions of people around the world. That part has been pretty amazing.”
What’s your content strategy with @goldenretrieverlife?
“Don’t overthink your content. Sometimes, I’ll have two days of content planned out. But most of the time, I just kind of get a feel for how things are going on the platform, and then build the content around that.”
Do you have tips for people looking to grow on TikTok?
“My best advice would be to focus on authenticity. Try things out, it doesn’t have to be perfect. People like imperfection!
Also, don’t be afraid to fail. You don’t know what’s going to do well and what’s not.
It’s okay to have content that flops.Try not to only look at the views because it’s very easy to get sucked into that. The vanity metrics are cool, but they’re not the end state.”
Anything exciting moving forward into 2021?
“Recently, my wife and I embarked on the 4x4x48 challenge to honor the memory of Pat Tillman while raising support for Tillman Scholars. The challenge consisted of running 4 miles every 4 hours for 48 hours. We were able to use social media to drive awareness about the fundraiser, and ended up even raising over $2,500.”
Freelance contribution especially written for Find Your Influence by Sophia Parsa.