2012 has seen the unbridled growth of the visual social network platform. Pinterest and Tumblr are two of the most popular at the moment and their continual advancement is enticing more and more businesses include it in their social media marketing mix.
Tumblr: A visual blog
Tumblr is similar to traditional blogging platforms, but its simplicity, conciseness and its preference for image-laden posts have given it a distinctiveness all its own. In just four years the platform has gone from small startup to an international network – a growth of 900% and a couple of million posts from users all over the world has cemented Tumblr’s place in the micro blogosphere.
However, despite all its charms and its phenomenal growth, Tumblr is still a very unique online space – one that companies and brands often find challenging to crack and navigate. So how do you know whether Tumblr is the right outlet for your brand’s social networking? What kind of audience will you be able to reach and what are the benefits and drawbacks?
Things to consider
There are many things for brands to consider before jumping on the Tumblr bandwagon – like all social networking platforms there are significant pros and cons. Its most infamous snag is the fact that it does not allow you to host it yourself. So, when the Tumblr servers crash – as they reportedly often do – you could be left in the lurch.
There are also limitations in terms of customization – something that was probably sacrificed in order to maintain the straightforwardness of the platform. Tumblr is known for its streamlined simplicity – setting up is quick and easy and so is posting on it once it’s done.
According to Quantcast, an overwhelmingly young user base inhabits Tumblr. Part of the reason probably lies in its mobile integration – it allows users to email or text posts directly from their mobile phones and also boasts a spiffy iphone app that allows you to publish any kind of media instantly. Which translates into serious cool-factor for the young folks.
Determining the suitability of Tumblr for your brand really comes down to the kind of brand or product that you are marketing. Sufficed to say that if you are a hip and happening youth orientated brand – Tumblr could just be the right platform for you.
In order to determine whether your brand will thrive on Tumblr – it’s necessary to note that some forms of content perform better than others. Although users are able to post all manner of media including video and text – the most popular aspect of Tumblr remains its visual element. Thus it goes without saying that brands that offer beautiful, lifestyle-orientated products perform best here. It is however important to remember that Tumblr is not merely a catalogue display for the products associated with your brand. The kinds of blogs that succeed on Tumblr are the ones that encapsulate the spirit or the lifestyle of a particular brand. Images of often random things come together in the Tumblr space to create a cohesive visual ‘bulletin-board’ that communicates a general ‘feel’ rather than a definite message.
This is why many companies often use Tumblr to compliment their website and blog – rather than solely relying on it for online presence. Traditional blogs are much more text based and therefore still resonate as the “voice” of the brand. A brand’s Tumblr on the other hand has license to be far more free-flowing and social – which is one of the most favourable aspects the platform offers.
One of the things that make Tumblr especially appealing to brands is its combination of blogging and social networking. Blog posts that are viewed in the network are easily and instantly re-blogged by other users – with a link that points to its original source. In other words – your blog posts or pictures can and will go viral. The social aspect is then further aided by Tumblr’s integration with Facebook and Twitter.
To many companies, Tumblr remains unconquered territory. Its preference for image rich posts with hipster flair simply does not cater to all brands and products. However, if your brand does fit the mould there you will be given the opportunity to cultivate your brand in an online space that is home to a dedicated and engaged community.