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Now That’s How A Brand Should Use Jelly

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Brands are already (unsurprisingly) looking for ways to take advantage of Jelly, the new mobile Q&A app from Twitter co-founder Biz Stone. Last week, after the app’s launch, we discussed how it might be useful for businesses out of pure speculation. Now we’re getting a glance at how brands are actually trying to engage. At least one appears to be getting it right.

Do you think there’s a worthwhile way to use Jelly for business? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Lowe’s may be the first to get it right (no surprise considering its earlier use of Vine). It’s at least the first we’ve seen, and it even got the attention of Jelly itself.


Others have tried spammier approaches. Even if not entirely spammy, pushing too hard at a service like Jelly is simply going to annoy users.

What Lowe’s did makes a lot of sense. It answered a question in a helpful way, which is the entire point of Jelly – to be helpful to people with real questions.

It’s obviously way too early in Jelly’s life to truly know how businesses will be able to use it to their benefit. But Lowe’s illustrates a pretty solid example. Just be helpful. That speaks volumes about a brand.

Earlier this week, Mashable looked at some brands that were kicking the tires on Jelly. They’re mostly using it to ask questions. With all due respect to the brands experimenting (and I suppose you’ve got to experiment), that’s annoying. People don’t want to be bombarded with questions because you want to engage with them. They want to ask questions and get meaningful answers.

Giga Om’s David Meyer writes that he uninstalled Jelly because of the marketers. After listing some other annoying things about Jelly itself (some of which we also griped about here), he says, “No, the real deal-breaker is the marketing. The thing launched like three seconds ago and already I’m getting notifications for ‘questions’ from mobile phone companies, soft drink firms and so on.”

He writes later, “When the notification is for a poorly-disguised marketing message, I get stabby. As a rough guess, going on how it currently feels to use Jelly, I would say that 1 in 7 ‘questions’ are tentatively trying to big up a brand or drive traffic to a site or post (around the same number are good questions, and the rest are just people messing around).”

As a Jelly user (if you count having it installed as making one a “user”), I completely concur that the notifications are annoying. You can turn them off, but then, like Meyer says, you forget you even have it installed. It’s not that fun to just go to Jelly and look at questions. It wouldn’t be so annoying if Jelly would be able to pinpoint the relevancy of questions and your ability to answer and/or the likelihood of your interest in answering. As it stands now, users are just notified of seemingly random, mundane questions.

This is one big reason that some remain skeptical that Jelly can generate a truly significant user base. The company had a pretty decent launch week. It shared some early numbers, but acknowledged that much of the use just comes from that initial curiosity period, and they expect the real growth to come slowly. Even in that peak curiosity period, only a fourth of questions were actually getting answered, according to some third-party data.

But assuming Jelly can grow to cater to a significant user base, and it becomes something brands need to consider, Lowe’s would be a good example to follow, at least with the app’s current feature set. Jelly said it has a lot more features in the pipeline, though it didn’t give much in the way of hints about what these will be. Hopefully profiles (including web profiles) are in the cards. I’d also like to see embeddable “jellies,” which would make for a helpful replacement for screenshots like the one above. All of these could potentially help brands.

One good thing about Jelly for brands is that it leverages networks that brands are already using and followers they’ve already established. You don’t have to accumulate followers on Jelly. You find your Facebook and Twitter followers via Jelly. That’s one of the reasons the Lowe’s approach could be powerful.

Lowe’s didn’t jump in with a link to buy stuff on its website, though in some cases that might actually be appropriate if it’s accompanied by a helpful answer. The company didn’t try to directly sell products to the person in need of help, though it could potentially make a sale if the person takes Lowe’s up on its advice. There’s no guarantee that she’s going to purchase the items Lowe’s suggested she needs, and even if she does, there’s no guarantee she’s going to purchase them from Lowe’s. However, she will remember that Lowe’s was the one that helped her, and that could be enough to influence her purchasing decision.

More significant yet is the fact that she’s very possibly already a Lowe’s customer given that Lowe’s even saw her question to begin with.

It’s obviously very early days for Jelly. Right now, there’s a lot of noise. Some of this comes from the app’s lack of any real organization. Some comes from a bunch of people just trying out a new service and asking dumb or otherwise meaningless questions. This will likely get better in time once the newness wears off.

Do you expect Jelly to become an important or at least helpful social media tool for business? Let us know what you think in the comments.

Image via Jelly

Now That’s How A Brand Should Use Jelly
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  • http://www.chicoparty.com Linda

    The question on how to hang art on exposed brick has bugged me too.
    I just assumed it was not something I could do.
    I love that Lowes answered without trying to sell. Makes me a fan of both Jelly and Lowes.

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