Ello.co was on everybody’s mouth in 2014. Someone even ‘dared’ to say the newborn social network would replace Facebook in the long run.
Ello was born from the dream of a group of artists and designers who wanted a minimalist, essential social network that respects user privacy and doesn’t sell ads — a dream for many Web users, right?
This is what encouraged people to request an invitation when Ello first came out, but along with personal users, marketers and businesses were interested in ways to use the new social network to attract users to their business.
How to do that on a platform that offers nothing like other popular networks a la Facebook and Twitter?
The Hard Truth: Ello Is Not A Business-Friendly Platform (Unless…)
I asked TGHM Writers president David Leonhardt if he thinks Ello may be a good social platform for businesses.
He says no and here’s why:
I did a comparative review of Ello, along with two other social media upstarts, a few months ago. My conclusion was that Ello is not a friendly platform for marketing one’s business. Here is what I wrote:
As for Ello, I really cannot see the value unless you are trying to reach the very niche communities that populate Ello, those being “artists and musicians”, as Mark Mars explains. The culture is anti-marketing and it is so sparse and stripped down that it is hardly even useful. And of course there is no paid marketing feature on a platform that promises to remain ad-free.
I recommend you read David’s and Mark Mars’ posts. David’s position is realistic and spot-on: Ello is free to use for either personal or business purposes, but it’s not a marketing-friendly platform. You can’t pay for ads (Ello is ad-free by principle) and there are no extended functions like groups or blogs or even advanced (user) search.
Unless your target audience is already there and somehow potentially receptive of your business initiatives, Ello is not a good platform for business.
Try Ello If Your Business Is In The Art & Music Niche (3 Ideas)
If your business approach is to consider customers and partners as “collaborators” and not as “products” (Ello’s mantra is “You are not a product” and they stick to it), you can give Ello a try.
I will give you an example.
In addition to being a freelance blogger, I’m also an artist who seldom draws robot art for clients and I do that even a bit more often for fun.
What do I get if I search Ello for ‘robots’?
Suppose I wanted to reach out to each of these artists and writers to start a collaboration, sell my sets of bookmarks or gadgets based on my robot artwork, or find partners who will help me promote my work.
This is how it would work on Ello:
1. Follow and engage with users before sending out proposals
I would follow these artists and writers right away and just be quiet for a few days, studying their posting patterns, their work, the personality that shines through from their work.
Then I would start to write comments on their work.
In other words, get myself known as a fan before I send out an interested proposal.
2. Get in touch with users, one by one
Once I got to spend a week following them, I would get in touch with each of the individual artists and writers, first by writing an interested comment on the work they posted on Ello, then by asking for a contact email to talk collaboration details.
My plan would be to get in touch at least once per week to keep a genuine communication channel open.
Ah — personalized messages, of course. No standard templates. It’s why I spent a few days to know the artist or writer better before I even wrote a comment.
3. Find users’ websites
Find artists’ and writers’ websites and get in touch from there. I would let them know I found them on Ello and what sparked my interest in their work.
I may do this in alternative to getting in touch on Ello only.
This is how I would approach my prospective audience on Ello. If you were me, what would you do?
How To Get the Best Out of Ello – 5 Tips
1. Don’t stop to your personal profile: register an account for your business
If you only have a personal profile on Ello, also register a business profile, like Marketing Land at https://ello.co/marketingland
2. Start with your followers (friends) to promote your business
Invite followers and friends from your personal Ello profile to follow and engage with your new business profile, as well as to invite their own friends to join the discussion.
Networking starts small.
3. Post interesting content that can spark discussion
Your friends, followers and new fans will not stick around if you don’t provide interesting food for discussion.
Keep good content coming.
4. Take advantage of the header and image feature
Like with Twitter, take advantage of your Ello header to send a message to followers and visitors — what’s your USP? How do you help your customers? Where can people get in touch?
This is a good area to display your logo or brand character/mascot, too.
Also, use the image feature to share infographics whenever you can.
5. Stay up to date with Ello features and use them
Ello regularly asks users to provide feedback on new functions they want to see implemented, so make sure to give your feedback and use as many new features as you can to your advantage.
As David Leonhardt wrote in his post, Ello is ‘sparse’, but you can still get creative.
Are you an Ello user? Have you thought about using it for business?
Share your experience and views in the comments below.