If you have already heard and know a little of Ello, you are not alone in that. Its unprecedented surge in popularity has commanded column inches in recent months and drawn much attention to the nascent social network. But what exactly can Ello offer to businesses and more importantly, what could it offer (if anything) to your business?
In this article, we explore Ello’s functionality and consider who may seek to benefit from signing up to this somewhat exclusive network.
What Is Ello But A Colloquial Greeting?
Ello is a social networking site which describes itself as
Simple, beautiful and ad-free.
Sounds delightful doesn’t it? Conceived by a group of artists and designers in the US, Ello was initially intended to be a private network for like-minded souls. However, recent mass interest sparked by a group of Californian drag queens, peeved about being unable to use their stage names on Facebook, catapulted the previously niche site into the mainstream.
Ello, which was then only in its Beta testing stage during the media frenzy, had the task of managing a surge in subscriptions which rose to nearly 35,000 people signing up every hour at one point.
Ello’s ad-free backdrop means that as a business, you can forget any ideas of mass promotional activity you had for the site. After all, that kind of carry-on is against everything Ello stands for. Its firm mantra of
You are not a product
is reminiscent of the ethical beginnings of some of the social media giants we know and love and yet have come to be increasingly sceptical of.
But for now, at least, people aren’t products to Ello. But what is Ello’s product and does it have anything, if not advertising space, to offer the modern business?
Features Of Ello
Ello has aimed to create a more intrinsic, privacy respecting environment and membership is still by invitation only due in part to this. Upon signup, Ello won’t ask your name, gender or sexual orientation. It won’t geo-locate you. It simply doesn’t care for your vital statistics as it has pledged not to disclose them to third parties as per its manifesto.
Despite lack of advertising income, the majority of Ello’s features remain free to users and are built around creating a unique user experience between accounts. Some standard features familiar to social media users include simple commenting, follow and unfollow functions and @mentions.
The features that new users may not be so familiar with are novel “friends”and “noise” news streams and the functionality to drag users between them. The people you care most about should go in your detailed “friends stream” and everything else in “noise” which has a fluid grid layout allowing quick and easy browsing of lots of text and images.
Ello’s business model relies on upselling special features to create the customised user experience
akin to purchasing additional features from an app store. This means the standard user experience is likely to lack in brilliance, though it can be built upon for a price.
Their team are currently working on private messaging and video integration from other platforms such a Youtube, Instagram and Vine amongst other tools to further expand their feature portfolio. It must be noted that Ello is still relatively embryonic and thus we can expect a fairly simple offering to grow in complexity. Keep your eyes peeled!
Should Your Business Use Ello?
Ello far from forbids businesses to sign up for the service despite its seemingly anti-commercial stance. In fact, Ello’s co-founder Paul Budnitz has set up an account for his own bicycle service on the network.
With an image accommodating interface not entirely dissimilar to the likes of Tumblr, businesses wishing to focus on the visuals of their offering could well be at home here. Artists and musicians have formed some of the popular user groups as a result of its functionality and interface.
Amongst the early adopter businesses are the likes of Penguin Books who are making the most of a visual heavy layout by showcasing its book covers on the network and inviting book chatter from connections.
There has been criticism that the Ello platform is not the most intuitive. In fairness, without billions of dollars being pumped into the platform, it is unlikely to boast the same standards as its proclaimed antithesis, Facebook. So before requesting an invitation Ello, a business must ask itself whether it has relevant capacity to trial out such nascent social networks before embarking on a commitment.
Is your audience early adopters?
Are they likely to have a presence on this site? If so, it may be worth dipping your toes in to later ‘up the ante’ if all goes well.
Early adopters of some of the social network giants such as Facebook, even smaller businesses, reaped the benefits of an early presence once these sites took off. With successful social networks, it is irrefutably best to be there from the beginning for the best chance of success. Inevitably, there is always a risk that the network won’t skyrocket.
In the case of Ello, apparently the site has made it particularly easy to delete an account (which they have invited you to do!) should they ever deviate from their anti-advertising promise. So at least you always have a clean break opt out if it’s really not for you!
Is Your Business On Ello?
If you have your business on Ello already, we’d love to hear from you. Is it working for you? Please let us know in the comments below; and feel free to put in your URL as well.
[Editor’s tip: Here’s a few nifty little Infographic from Sam Steiner on how to use Ello.]
PS. If you need an invite to Ello, let us know in the comments or shoot us an email.
PS2. Social Media Revolver has just joined up as well (literally 3 minutes ago). Let’s hook up here > https://ello.co/socialmediarevolver