For a platform that positions itself as “anti-advertisement,” Ello, the hip, new social media platform that’s all the rage, is starting to attract quite the number of brands.
This, of course, comes as no surprise to even novice online socialites. Brands have been integrating themselves into all facets of online social communities since there have been online social communities. These days it’s getting harder to figure out if there is anything a business won’t do to reach a potential consumer. Does Taco Bell really need a Snapchat account? Does “The Mindy Project” really need a Tinder profile?
As in life, just because you can do something doesn’t necessarily mean you should. All of this begs the question:
Should your brand jump on the Ello bandwagon?
The tentative answer is “yes.” Brands are going to infiltrate Ello regardless of your personal opinion toward social media marketing. Because users will only see the content of the brands they choose to follow, there is little chance of backlash for simply existing on the platform.
Add to the fact that co-founder Paul Budnitz created a page for his own bicycle company, and there is a precedent for this type of relationship. Besides, if Ello does become an effective platform for reaching your audience, you’ll have an early jump on the competition. But how should a brand successfully position itself within the “anti-ad” community that is Ello? To better understand this, we need to look at the brands already using Ello.
What Brands are doing with Ello
Aside from Budnitz’s Bicycles, there are plenty of other brands testing the waters of Ello. Sonos, The Atlantic, The Guardian, and The Wall Street Journal are all companies taking the plunge into this unexplored territory. Despite the arrival of various news outlets and headphones companies, though, there doesn’t appear to be a unified approach to posting on Ello.
For instance, The Wall Street Journal posts large pictures, infographics, and relatively large blocks of text (mostly summaries of articles that sometimes exceeded 215 words). The Guardian, on the other hand, uses no pictures on its Ello page. Each post only includes a small one or two sentence tease followed by a link to an article. If you squint your eyes you might think you are looking at the Guardian’s Twitter page.
Regardless of their different approach to Ello, both The Guardian and The Wall Street Journal have only acquired a paltry number of followers (1002 and 449 respectively). Compare that to the 3 million + followers on Facebook for each of these news outlets and you might be wondering what they are doing wrong.
Practice makes perfect
It’s wise to remember, then, that Ello is still in its infancy. It’s too early to know exactly the best ways for brands to position themselves on Ello, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you should wait and watch from afar. Brian Marr, Chief Strategy Officer at digital marketing firm Smashing Ideas, echoes this thought. “There are no best practices yet, so just like with any new marketing channel it’s important to experiment and learn what works best for your company,” Marr said in an interview.
The contrast in style exemplified by The Wall Street Journal and the Guardian showcases this guess-and-check approach by many of the early adopting brands already on Ello. Regardless of the various methods of distribution, content quality will remain a chief concern. “Brands will need to focus primarily on creating valuable content and engagement with their ‘fans’ rather than treating Ello like another advertising channel,” Marr said.
Only time will tell what approach gives brands the largest ROI. But on a platform where there are no shortcuts to earning “fans,” content, as ever, remains king.