The How’s and Why’s Businesses are Using Tumblr
The decision about which social networking sites to use for your business can feel daunting at times. What works for businesses, even in the same industry, may not work well for another. Every business needs to do an internal analysis (no different than you would for the content direction of your website) to determine the platforms where your customers and prospects spend the most time, the type of content you plan to share, and how much time you can realistically allot to social media community management.
Tumblr may never have factored into your consideration before. Over the years, demographics showed that it was mostly used by a younger population. But due to recent growth and the functionality that Tumblr offers, you might want to give it a tumble!
Tumblr, is best described as a microblogging site. Launched in 2007, Tumblr has experienced tremendous growth over the past several years.
Forbes magazine, recently reported, “In November [Tumblr] shouldered its way into the top ten online destinations, edging out Microsoft’s Bing and drawing nearly 170 million visitors to its galaxy of user-created pages, according to the measurement firm Quantcast. Tumblr’s tens of millions of registered users create 120,000 new blogs every day, for a total of 86 million and counting, which drive some 18 billion page views per month.”
Growth aside, Tumblr may be a perfect solution for you because of its quick and easy interface. “…with the aid of a dashboard, the interface for finding and following other users and keeping track of the feedback their posts receive. Hearts are good; ‘reblogs’ are better, suggesting another user liked your post enough to share it with his or her followers. The tools for creating these multimedia posts are simple: seven buttons that let you add text, photos, hyperlinks, video, music, dialogues or quotes with a click.” (Forbes magazine)
Tumblr has the ease of use of set-up that many businesses will welcome. Novices can be up and running in no time. And, there are many great themes to choose from including many free ones, others priced from $9-$49, and ones you can customize for your specific corporate look and feel.
JD Rucker points out a few of Tumblr’s strengths worth noting:
- A strong built-in community allows for instant visitors to your site through proper tagging.
- Reblogging makes posting content easier than even posting the unique content. Unlike WordPress, Tumblr actually encourages reblogging and tracks it for the source.
- Direct integration with Facebook and Twitter is native to Tumblr; there are WordPress plugins available, but native is always better for integration.
- There is nothing wrong with using a subdomain on Tumblr.com. It’s just as robust as putting it on your own domain, whereas WordPress.com is a symbol of weakness.
How Tumblr Differs from Other Social Networking Sites
GigaOM quoted Tumblr’s founder and CEO, David Karp, as saying, “Tumblr deliberately chose ‘reblogging’ as an alternative to commenting because, at a certain scale, internet forums degenerate into a ‘horrible world of internet anonymousness and awfulness.’”
According to Karp, “…comments are ‘a second class feature’ because a commentator is subsumed to a tiny text stream below the main piece of content. To foster engagement, Tumblr is instead choosing options like ‘Fan mail’ which aspire to create more careful, thoughtful and elegant interactions.”
How Businesses Use Tumblr
Businesses are taking advantage of Tumblr’s multifaceted features and putting them to great use.
The New Yorker
The New Yorker uses a Tumblr theme (one which you can choose to purchase by the way) that looks just like their website. The New Yorker Tumblr shares paragraphs from articles in current issues and then encourages the user to continue reading by clicking through to their website. It’s a really nice way to engage the microblog reader who is sifting through a lot of content to help them determine if they want to read more.
HuffPostTech publishes short updates, many times with a photo and caption, and always a good amount of relevant tags. They also take advantage of the easy way to link to their other social profiles, and the optional “ask” feature which is a great way to have users engage with you.
Target’s Tumblr site, “On the Dot. A Dose of Daily Style” makes good use of the real estate for photos by showcasing styles they’re offering. Other times, they choose to do something instructional that their audience may enjoy, such as “Instant Bangs.”
IBM Global Business Services
There are times when one Tumblr site may not do everything you want. You may be targeting different users, doing a time-limited event, dedicating several months to a particular discussion in your industry. IBM Global Business Services maintains three special purpose Tumblr sites—one which focuses on social business, two others on smarter planet and smarter cities.
Whole Foods Market offers an online magazine on Tumblr entitled Dark Rye different from their other online presences that “brings together pioneers of unconventional ideas to explore the edges of the creative life. It’s leisure storytelling steeped in a vision of a sustainable, decadent, and curious life. “
All in all, Tumblr provides ways to tie-together your online messaging and also as a way to show an alternate more creative side of your business that you haven’t done elsewhere. Tumblr pulls together many of the features that users have come to depend on from Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, YouTube and more.