Social Spotlight: Tumblr
Which is a shame, really, because it is one of the most-exciting, most-engaging and most-promising networks for companies and brands to get involved with.
The site, valued at £500 million, draws in 14 billion monthly page views – more than either Twitter or Wikipedia – and has more than 36 million registered users. There are 5.4 million in the UK alone. These users post a total of 42 million posts per day.
But What is Tumblr?
Tumblr is one part super-simpler blogging platform, one part social network.
With little friction, users can post a variety of different types of content – text, photos, quotes, links, conversations, audio, or films. Tumblr posts tend to be photo-heavy and light on the text. It’s a short-form style with more room than Twitter.
Users can follow other users and read all of their different posts in the newsfeed on their Dashboard. Users can “like”, reply to, or “reblog” their fellow bloggers posts.
Reblogging is the key to Tumblr. It is like a built-in “viral button” – when a user hits the reblog button, that post gets reposted on their own site with a link back to original.
The best posts get reblogged like wildfire, quickly rising to prominence in Tumblr’s master directory. The average is nine reblogs per post – which is an extremely high engagement metric.
What is Tumblr for?
Facebook is for friends, Linkedin is for work, Twitter is for information and communication and Pinterest is for swapping cupcake recipes.
Tumblr is for creativity and self-expression.
Tumblr pages are infinitely and easily customizable, and tastefully so, unlike the heyday of MySpace.
However, the best form of self-expression on Tumblr is posting really great content. Moreso than any other network, content is the king of Tumblr. All of those millions of blogged (and reblogged) posts contain really, really good content. High-quality photos reign supreme – it’s not surprise that the network is especially popular with the publishing, broadcast, fashion and lifestyle sectors.
Top Tips for Brands on Tumblr
Pick an Angle: Many successful branded Tumblr blogs have a great angle that compliments their brand identity. For example, Huggies nappies (from the States) have a Tumblr called Highchair Critics that updates followers on baby news. Clever.
Link and Lead: Brands can use Tumblr as part of their larger stock and flow content strategy by using the network’s short-form style to supplement and link back to long-form content on other blogs or even their homepage. This is a great way to drive page views within Tumblr’s highly-engaged user base.
Give and Take: See out top blogs in your brand’s sector, follow them, “Like” their posts and sometimes give them a reblog. Whenever you like or reblog a post – your brand name will be permanently attached to that post and show up in other followers’ Dashboards.
Ask and Answer: Tumblr has a great “Ask” feature that allows followers to submit questions. This is a great way for brands to interact with their fan base.
Repackage and Repurpose: The short-form nature of Tumblr makes it an ideal platform to get extra mileage out of content that your brand has created for other purposes.
Tag Well and Tag Often: Tumblr tracks the best trending tags that users are using. By making use of the most-popular tags, brands are much more likely to end up featured in the Directory and users’ “Tracked Tags”. Conversely, create a new tag for your brand and encourage followers to use the “Track This Tag” function.
Great Brands on Tumblr:
IBM runs a Tumblr called A Smarter Planet, which compliments the Smarter Planet initiative on their homepage.
The New York Times’ “T” Magazine has a Tumblr that gives the Sunday insert a weekly lifespan.
The impossibly cool Ace Hotel has a Tumblr mood board where they push their brand’s coolness further into the realm of impossibility.
J Crew, the American retail giant, gives readers “a glimpse behind the design: inspiration, style & musings” on 770 Behind The Line.
Alexander McQueen maintains one of the most popular fashion blog’s on the network, McQ. They average 520 likes per post.
Even Twitter has a Tumblr – where they keep users up-to-date when the Fail Whale rears its ugly head.
Social Spotlight is a monthly feature shining the light on social networks worth your time.
Dan Osburn is Brand Manager at Jam. He blogs and tweets.