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Ello, Gov’nor! You may have heard of Ello, the new, hip social network that’s suddenly erupted onto the scene. Ello has gone zero to hundred real quick in September, and is reportedly gaining 30,000 new visitors an hour, which definitely qualifies it as “the hot new thing on these streets.”
But if you haven’t heard of them, don’t feel too bad. I texted my 18-year-old sister–a freshman in college– and she had no idea what Ello is. But it is growing fast and its mission statement is raising some eyebrows among the social media marketing world.
That’s right there on their homepage. Ello intends to keep your data private and never allow advertisements on their site. Which–hold on. Let me laugh uproariously for a second. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Sure. Let’s see if you’re saying that in a year.
Ok, now that that’s out of the way, Ello is clearly trying to position themselves as a Facebook killer—riding the wave of privacy in an attempt to undermine more popular social media tools that make a majority of their money from advertisements. The idea is interesting enough to make people ask–is Ello a wakeup call for the social media marketing world?
Is Ello A Wakeup Call for Social Media Marketers?
Yes and no. Aside from the “no advertisers” mantra, Ello is basically just like any other social media site. It’s asymmetrical—meaning that, like Twitter, you don’t have to confirm a follower for them to see your posts. Furthermore, anybody with a link to your page can see what you posts, which means at the moment, you can’t make what you post on Ello private.
It’s clear that Ello is attempting to take a very democratic approach to social media—much in the way Twitter was when it first came out. Everything you post is out there for the world, but you’re allowed to construct exactly what you want to see on your timeline—which goes back to the “no advertisements or promoted posts” thing. This, plus the added privacy, makes it an intriguing destination for potential new users. However, there are a few things standing in Ello’s way of truly becoming a thing for people interested in marketing on it:
- It’s going through growing pains. Young sites often go through the issue of basically getting attacked by internet jerks, which takes them down for a period of time. Ello survived their first major one recently, but the more popular they get, the more this will happen until they can get their security and structure sound enough to avoid these downtimes. So if you’re an early Ello-ite, your service might be spotty.
- It’s still invite only. This is a common tactic for a new social media site—create an invite-only entrance system to generate an increased, artificial demand for what’s essentially infinite resource. Part of this is probably actually necessary—newer sites can’t handle the server load of millions of people joining each day—but it does put a limit initially on who you might find on the service. Don’t expect it to be Twitter or Facebook immediately. Or even close. That means, if you’re trying to use Ello as an organic social media marketing tool, your reach may be extremely limited early on—to the point where it might not be worth the investment.
- Everything is uncertain. What will Ello look like in six months? Nobody knows—not even Ello. The founder, Paul Budnitz, has said that he’s listening to ideas from everyone, and that outside of the core “no advertisments, always free” mantra, Ello might just implement measures to make sure it stays even more anti-advertising and anti-brand. So investing in Ello early could be a homerun, or it could be a total waste of money.
So What Should You Do With Ello?
Right now, it looks like the best idea is to sit and wait. The difference between starting your Ello account now and starting it later in a few months, when it’s not invite-only, will probably be negligible. But that’s not to say Ello is irrelevant—it’s definitely something to keep an eye on. In my opinion, the most interesting thing about Ello is its commitment to transparency and democracy. Everybody is essentially put on a level playing field, which means that a really strong marketing campaign could make serious waves and end up being a very strong investment.
Unlike Facebook, where large brands can simply buy their way to engagement, Ello opens the playing field. Users have to choose whether they want to interact with you, which means that that your company can out-maneuver larger competitors on this platform. This matters—revisit Eat24’s breakup letter with Facebook from earlier this year. The type of mobility Facebook restricts for smaller brands is very much possible on Ello, which definitely makes it a fascinating tool for social media marketing.
In the meantime, if you want to talk about what your company should do with Ello or any of your other social media accounts, give Blue Corona a call.
About The Author:
Blue Corona is a data-driven online marketing company with offices in Gaithersburg, MD and Charlotte, N.C.
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