CategorySocial Media

I Joined Ello. Here are my thoughts.

Over the weekend, I got an invitation to join Ello. I’d heard about it previously after reading about it on my favourite tech blogs, but I always prefer to try something myself rather than simply believe what someone else is saying.

So anyway, I signed up for Ello. I managed to bag the username ‘adamowen’, which I was happy about (I was of course too late to get simply ‘adam’).

As soon as I logged in, I soon realised how basic the interface really is! Even more so than I’d expected. Now, whilst a basic UI backed by awesome features wouldn’t be a problem, it does seem that Ello is lacking in features. They do actually seem to have a features list, which has features in line with those of ‘competitors’ such as Twitter and Facebook.

One of my concerns is that they’ve received VC funding from FreshTracks Capital.

Now, from my basic understanding of how venture capital works, I was under the impression that you had to have an exit strategy formed (i.e. a plan to sell the company for a profit) before you even pitched your idea to a VC.

However, in Ello’s case, I find it hard to see how this will work..

With many asking the same question, the founder of Ello; Paul Butnitz, recently had an interview with Business Insider, where he explained how he plans to keep costs to a minimum. They’ll also be selling Ello-branded merchandise such as t-shirts.

Whatever happens, Ello seems fixated on offering an ad-free social network, which isn’t a bad thing, but I guess we just have to wait and see if it’s goodbye for Ello.

LincUpLive #LUL360

I went to LincUpLive (#LUL360) yesterday. Held at the Doubletree by Hilton on the Brayford Wharf in Lincoln, LincUpLive is an annual ‘tweet-up’ style event which attracts businesses from all over Lincolnshire.

The event was well-structured, with a number of keynotes and ‘breakout’ sessions where you could choose the session you felt would be most of interest and beneficial to you.

Keynote speakers included:

Redg Snodgrass (Co-founder, Stained Glass Labs) – who brought a Google Glass prototype)
Redg spoke about the future of ‘wearables’, and how he thinks they will change the world we know today.

Steve Middleborough (Director of Engineering, Siemens) – Steve mainly spoke about the new Siemens Teal Park development on the outskirts of Lincoln. It was interesting to hear him mention that he plans on providing Siemens’ field engineers with Google Glass within the next few years.

Graham Puntis

Wayne Gibbins (Funding expert, Notion Capital) – It was interesting to hear about alternative ways to raise startup capital. Wayne also spoke about Kickstarter (one of my favourite websites).

Richard Duxbury (Lincolnshire Media) – Richard explained how Lincolnshire Media has shifted to the ‘digital age’, focussing its operations around their online presence rather than print.

Alan Moore

Councillor Colin Davie – Colin gave his view on the technological developments and spoke about how the Lincolnshire County Council will be doing their bit to help promote growth within the county.

Throughout the day, there were also a number of breakout seminars which covered all aspects of online marketing.

As with all good local events, the Onlincolnshire ‘#dreamteam’ were there taking care of the PR/Social side of things, along with a number of students from Lincoln University.

Here are a few of my favourite LUL360 Tweets:

When Social goes wrong – the British Gas #AskBG disaster

Today, British Gas announced they’d be raising prices by 9.2%.

The same day, some bright spark thought it’d be a great idea to hold a Q&A session using the #AskBG hashtag.

It all started with this rather well-meaning tweet from @BritishGas:

But British Gas customers unhappy with the price increase decided to vent their anger through the hashtag, which resulted in a rather entertaining afternoon for Twitter users (probably not so much for their social media team though..!).

Here are a few of my favourite #AskBG tweets of the afternoon:


Just when I was thinking “someone should get the sack for this”, someone kindly pointed out –

Yep – they’re looking for a new Senior Social Media Manager! 🙂

Social CRM 2013 Conference (London) – Live Blog

Here is my event blog for the Social CRM 2013 Conference at the Cavendish Conference Centre in London. CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management, so the main focus of the conference was on how Social can be used to build customer relationships.


The day was kick-started with welcome drinks and networking and a brief introduction by Luke Brynley-Jones, CEO of Our Social Times.


The second speaker of the day was Ben Kay (@Benjamin_Kay) – Digital Strategist & Digital Media at Everything, Everywhere.


Ben spoke about “Bringing Social to the Heart of the Business”, and how EE combined social and mobile to create the ultimate mobile network.

After Ben spoke about how EE became a ‘Social business’, we were then shown a short video of EE’s ‘Social Hub’. Rather than placing staff in a typical office or call centre environment, EE chose to design a purpose-built room called the ‘Social Hub’ as a central HQ for their Social operations. The video can be found here.


It was then the turn of Jacqui Taylor (@jacquitaylorfb) – Managing Director at FlyingBinary, to speak about ‘Looking beyond Social Data to Social Business’. As a data scientist, Jacqui showed how mentions through social channels can be categorised by sentiment then analysed.




Lunch break! We were all given an hour’s lunch break which also facilitated networking and discussions with sponsors and exhibitors.



Nico Henderijckx (@tweety2b) – European Forum & Community Manager at Sony Europe spoke about “Managing relationships with Brand Fans and Superfans”.

It was interesting to hear about how Sony uses “superfans” to moderate the online community and engage with fans and forum members on Sony’s behalf. Whilst these “superfans” are not paid a salary as such, they are provided with a support package which includes regular training, bi-annual conferences and week long team-building trips where Sony flies them out to a location in Europe along with a number of top-level executives to allow them to bond together. Sony’s “superfans” are also given confidential information and access to new products before everyone else.

At the end of the presentation, a representative from Spotify had asked about how they could make the most of their “superfans”, so it was good to see that they had set an example for other companies to follow.


Bian Salins (@b1an) – Head of Social at NOW TV.

Even though NOW TV was part of Sky, it was reassuring to hear that they had still faced the typical barriers that many start-ups face relating to getting their initial brand message out. Bian spoke about how they had run a number of Twitter campaigns with free tickets to exclusive cinema screenings.

Bian was very engaging throughout, and I’m sure she helped inspire the attendees.


Next up, it was Tom Ollerton (@mrtomollerton) – Marketing Director at We Are Social.

Tom spoke about how We Are Social had created a unique marketing plan for Marmite (Unilever), where they created a “secret society” group called the “Marmarati”!

A detailed case study can be found here:

This actually turned out to be the most memorable presentation and talk of the day, as it was a rather unique marketing strategy.


Next it was a panel discussion with:

  • Guy Stephens, Managing Consultant – Social Business IBM (Host)
  • Naomi Trickey, EMEA Sales Director, Brandwatch
  • Thomas Messett, Head of Digital Marketing & Advocacy, Nokia
  • Matthew Brazil, COO, Conversocial

The topic of discussion was “Breaking down the ‘Social Façade’ between Internal and External Media”. Whilst members of the panel seemed to agree that internal social tools such as Yammer and Socialcast (although sometimes beneficial) actually wasted time, the opinion of the majority of attendees was actually the opposite.

One comment I found funny was that employees were getting emails from their CEO to say “I have just posted something to Yammer” – professional or what!


The day ended with Ronan Gillen (@AskeBay) – EU Complaints, Community & Social CS Manager at eBay, speaking about “Improving the Customer Experience with each social interaction”.

This was a good talk as I was interested to hear how eBay deals with what must be a large amount of enquiries coming in through Social channels.


eBay realised that social media could be used as a Customer Service channel and whilst they still have traditional call centre support are now focusing their efforts on providing support through social media (Twitter and Facebook).





Overall, it was a great event with interesting speakers, from which I learnt a lot about what companies are doing to utilize social media. It is clear that CRM through Social growing and is an area to watch out for.
The live ‘Tweet wall’ throughout the day was a great idea too! Thanks to Our Social Times for organising the event!

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