What businesses can learn from Ello
Ello launched in beta on August 7th. By the last week in September the invite-only social network was receiving more than 50,000 invite requests per hour.
What sets Ello apart from other social networks? Ello is ad-free and doesn’t sell user data to third parties. On October 23rd Ello became a Public Benefit Corporation; therefore, making it virtually impossible for Ello to ever sell ads or user data.
The company’s manifesto points to the frustrations which were the impetus for founding Ello, and to the company’s strategic direction:
“Your social network is owned by advertisers.
Every post you share, every friend you make, and every link you follow is tracked, recorded, and converted into data. Advertisers buy your data so they can show you more ads. You are the product that’s bought and sold.
We believe there is a better way. We believe in audacity. We believe in beauty, simplicity, and transparency. We believe that the people who make things and the people who use them should be in partnership.
We believe a social network can be a tool for empowerment. Not a tool to deceive, coerce, and manipulate — but a place to connect, create, and celebrate life.
You are not a product.”
Ello’s mindset resonates. Not only are people clamoring to join the social network, investors are pounding on the door. CEO and Co-Founder Paul Budnitz told BusinessWeek:“I have every investor in the world in my inbox. Someone today offered to fly us out in a private jet to talk, and we said we’re just too busy.” Ello is only open to additional financing from backers with similar values.
What can businesses learn from Ello’s rapid rise to stardom? No one wants to be thought of as a product. If your company recognizes this and your social media strategy reflects this – you are more likely to be successful and rise to stardom (or at the very least increase your revenue).
Your company should use social media to:
- Build trust and relationships with prospects and customers;
- Engage with customers;
- Learn from your customers.
As Alexandra Samuel, Vice-President of Social Media at Vision Critical, recently wrote in an article for the HBR Blog Network: “Instead of relying on algorithms and ad targeting to get dollars out of their customers’ wallets, companies need to think about the value they can offer to their customers’ online lives.”