Blogging and social media hybrid platform Tumblr has been around since 2007, and it’s seen huge adoption and effective use in some sectors. But it has stayed well below the radar for some other brands. The truth is that it’s one of the most widely used social platforms, and there are some tremendous success stories attached to it. What makes it unique, and for which brands is it best suited?
With the acquisition of Tumblr by Yahoo in May of this year, and the associated buzz it created, many individuals and brands are taking a second look at this intriguing social platform in sectors that had not adopted it previously.
We spoke with a number of agencies and brands that are advocates of the platform to get their perspective on how Tumblr can be best used as a marketing platform for brands. If you’re not already using Tumblr, take a look at what these experts have to say about the platform and you’ll be in a better position to decide whether Tumblr is the right platform for you.
What Makes Tumblr Different?
In an article he wrote for his blog, Elite Strategies CEO Patrick Coombe explains how Tumblr is different than most other social platforms — even while it exhibits a lot of similarities. For example, Coombe’s #1 rule of Tumblr is: “do not treat it as a blog.” Even though you can post content on Tumblr that looks like a traditional blog, Coombe advises against it.
“Tumblr is not WordPress,” says Coombe, reiterating that the average Tumblr user is a “kind of a hybrid individual crossbred somewhere between an Instagram user and a freelance blogger.” In other words, the idea of posting relevant and frequent content on Tumblr is similar to that of traditional blogging, but it’s a much more visual, image-based platform than a typical corporate blog might be.
The idea of increasing your chances of success on Tumblr by appealing to its users’ more visually-based demand for content is a sentiment that’s echoed by PR agency executive, Philip Chang. Chang says that some brands are definitely better suited to the platform than other brands, citing fashion, music, and pop-culture as popular “concepts” from which complementary brands can find an audience on Tumblr. “Whatever brand you represent, you’d better have a clear brand identity already established” before your dip your corporate toes into the waters of Tumblr, according to Chang.
“The agency I represent, Plan B, has a clear, client-facing brand developed on our website. But we use Tumblr to show a more personal, lighter side that demonstrates more about who we are rather than what we do. Tumblr is a great way to punctuate that distinction,” explains Chang.
Successful Business Examples on Tumblr
A couple of years ago, Dan Coe was doing a thriving business as CEO of a traditional marketing company that also offered its clients an e-commerce solution on Tumblr. His sales integration on Tumblr was such a hit that his company completely rebranded itself to BlkDot, creating the first native e-commerce platform on Tumblr.
Like Philip Chang, Coe agrees that some brands will naturally be a better fit for Tumblr than others. “If your brand caters to the 18-34 year old demographic, and if you have a compelling brand story, you can do well on Tumblr,” says Coe. “Having a visual story is a must on this platform. For example, if you run a traditional accounting firm, there are probably better platforms for you than Tumblr.”
Coe says that since Tumblr is still under-represented by many well-known brands, smaller brands have a chance to carve out a niche for themselves on the platform. If you embrace the unique environment on Tumblr, says Coe, small, independent brands can do “just as well as the big boys.”
“It’s great that Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams can get comparable engagement on Tumblr as Ben & Jerry’s. Even a small outdoor gear retailer like Poler looks right at home when compared to Patagaonia, and the list goes on and on for savvy brands that realize the emerging opportunities on Tumblr.”
Tumblr Is Practical
Tavis Parker is the co-owner of The Game Crafter — a company he refers to as “the world’s first print on demand board game publisher.” Parker says that The Game Crafter “has over 27,000 gamers and game designers in our online community and we use Tumblr for our main news blog. We post news stories, new product announcements, videos from community members, and a lot more.”
For Tavis, Tumblr is just a very efficient, practical alternative to posting updates to his community. “Tumblr is extremely useful because we can schedule our news posts in advance and when the stories go live, they get posted to our Facebook Page and Twitter feed automatically.”
He says that since using Tumblr as a mechanism to get news and information out about The Game Crafter, the community around his print-on-demand service has taken off. “A large part of our user base on the website accesses the Tumblr blog for news,” says Parker, adding, “we’ve even skinned our Tumblr blog to look like the design of our website.” He adds that Tumblr is indexed very well by the search engines, and “it’s a natural, organic extension of our brand.”
Do you have a presence on Tumblr? Share your experiences in the comments below.