A social media storm has whipped up over the past few days with many high profile Instagram users declaring that they have created profiles over on a ‘new’ app called Vero. While Vero isn’t actually new (it’s been around since 2015), it has suddenly shot to the top of the App Store’s download charts (it’s currently at number two). So, what is Vero and should you be using it?
What is Vero?
Vero (or ‘Vero, True Social’ to give the app its full name) is a new social network aimed at everyone who wants to see their feed in chronological order with no adverts. It allows you to share various forms of content (from photos and links to movie and book recommendations) while giving you the option of sharing different content with different people.
Sounds good so far? It’s worth noting that it is currently full of glitches and bugs due to the recent surge in users, making it incredibly difficult to get a true feel for it at the moment. The interface isn’t as visually appealing as Instagram and there’s a lot of confusion about how you’re supposed to actually use it, but it definitely seems to have potential as a contender to the social apps currently dominating our phones.
Why is it suddenly so popular?
If Vero has been around for two years, why the sudden surge in downloads? There doesn’t seem to be a key trigger as to why Vero leapt up the App Store ranks in just a couple of days, other than a rise in influential Instagrammers making the leap over to the platform. Sara Tasker (who has 193,000 followers on her Instagram profile @me_ and _orla) signed up to Vero over the weekend, announcing her decision on her Instagram stories and prompting thousands of others to do the same. We asked Sara what made her download Vero.
“Like a lot of people, I miss the real-time social interaction that algorithms disrupt, and have been waiting for something to fill that gap. I want to know that if a post does well its’ because it resonated with people, and not simply because a clickbait algorithm promoted it. I want to share morning coffee snaps with my digital friends and all see one another. I want to hear people’s Friday night plans on Friday night, and not some time on Saturday morning. Most of all, I want to get to decide what content I consume and not have anyone else make those decisions for me.”
Should I be using it?
If you are looking for an alternative social channel that doesn’t use an algorithm and favours chronological content then yes, you’ll probably enjoy Vero. So if you're an influencer battling with the Instagram algorithm, this promises to be a solution to that. It’s especially great for anyone who loves using Instagram Stories as the more varied content more closer mimics Stories than the main Instagram grid.
If you’re looking for book, music and movie recommendations from people whose opinions that you trust, then this is also the app for you. This could essentially help e-commerce brands who are seeking authentic endorsements from influencers. Brands can pay a fee to add a 'Buy Now' button, so that users can make in app purchases, which could make online sales far more seamless than they currently are.
Whether you're a brand or an influencer, it’s worth bearing in mind that this is a completely different social channel and is more likely to be something that you use alongside Instagram rather than instead of. Consider whether you have the time to invest in a new app and be wary of neglecting your existing channels in favour of something new.
If you’re not sure whether Vero is for you, it’s worth downloading the app now and making your mind up at a later date. The first one million users will get Vero free for life but anyone signing up a later date will have to pay an annual charge. If you don’t manage to sign up before they start charging, don’t be dismayed. The reason that Vero will eventually be charging its users is so that it can stay ad free, meaning that quality content and engagement will become increasingly important to influencer marketing.
How do I use it?
This is the tricky part. Vero doesn’t seem to be quite as intuitive as Instagram and the current glitches are making it hard for anyone to get used to it. There’s a lot of confusion over the best way to connect with people and if the app is working at all for you, then chances are that it is running slow. Bear with it and don’t panic; most people are experiencing the same thing.
Whether you're a brand or an influencer, start your Vero experience by seeking out the people that you follow on other social channels and either following or connecting with them. Keep your eye on Instagram Stories for people sharing their Vero cards (a screenshot showing their profile name) and search for them using the tab at the top of the screen. You will then have the option to either follow them or to request to connect as either an acquaintance, friend or close friend (known as ‘loops’).
Follows are similar to Instagram in that you can follow anyone whose content you would like to see on your dashboard, such as brands, creatives and public figures. Connections seem to be preferential for people that you actually know, such as real life friends or digital acquaintances that you regularly speak to online. When sharing content, you have the option of sharing with your followers or one of the three levels of your connections.
Users can choose to share photos (similar to Instagram), links (perhaps to a blog post or interesting article), music, books, movies and TV shows, and locations. One of the best features of Vero is that you can choose the ‘level’ of your contacts that you wish to share a piece of content with and see exactly who will see that content before you post. For a brand, this could be a good way of filtering your clients too, saving exclusive information and content for your best customers.
If you’d prefer to view content that has been shared by category, then your ‘Collections’ does that for you, allowing you to search through books, movies and links chronologically. You also have the option to select which type of content you would like to see from each individual friend.
Is it worth investing your time in?
Ultimately, it will always payoff to be an early adapter of a new social channel no matter if you're a brand or a creator. Even if you don’t take it seriously to begin with, it’s definitely worth signing up while it’s free and having a play around while keeping an open mind. If you decide that it isn’t for you, it is a little tricky to delete your profile (the option to delete involves sending a message explaining why you have chosen to leave) but there doesn’t seem to be anything sinister behind this.
Allow the app a little breathing time to cope with the influx of new users and explore it at your own pace, connecting with people and posting different types of content. Whether or not Vero takes off will depend on the people who join and the quality of the content that they post. Remember what Instagram was like at the beginning (when most people used it to add a vintage effect to their photos) and you’ll begin to understand the scope for exciting things with Vero.
Written by Emma Lavelle