How to Leverage Tumblr for Your Brand
By Karen Geier
For many, the first they heard of Tumblr was either when they were bought by Yahoo! last year or through one of Tumblr’s many hilarious one-topic blogs like “Texts from Hillary,” “Dog Shaming,” or “Reasons My Son is Crying.” But did you know that the seemingly frivolous platform is host to more than 152 million blogs? There’s a strong possibility that people in your target market are on Tumblr and want to find you.
What Tumblr Is
Tumblr is a turnkey blogging platform that lets you start blogging after a five-minute account set-up. It differs from other blogging platforms by its interconnectedness. As a Tumblr user, you can follow, tag as favorite, and message other users, just like with Twitter. Bloggers whose posts you follow appear in the dashboard. And at the click of a mouse, you can even “re-blog” (the equivalent to a re-tweet) another user’s blog. This builds hyper-connected communities based around fandoms, interests, political movements, and content creators.
Leveraging Tumblr is a long-term content play. You’ll want to put up targeted content and keep it persuasive, but still on the soft-sell side. (Members of Tumblr have revolted several times over perceived commercialization of the site.)
That doesn’t mean that Tumblr is anti-consumption. Some of the most-trafficked blogs are about fashion, cars, and high-end consumables.
Unlike setting up a blog on your own, Tumblr has the ability for you to find other bloggers and see what they are doing on the platform by following them. You also don’t have to create long blog posts, or even create them at all at first. You can reblog your favorite posts. You can easily follow any blog in the network through hashtags, which can help you with content generation, or to get a sense of what kinds of posts get shared and liked the most.
How to Make a Tumblr People Will Love
The best way to get started on Tumblr is to look at the landscape. Sign up for an account and search on Tumblr by topics or hashtags you think are important to your target audience. Make note of the common themes, the jargon of the people using those tags, and the kinds of updates that get the most favorites and shares. You can use this to plan the point of view for your Tumblr.
You can absolutely make a Tumblr that functions as a complete blog solution for your site, but instead you might want to think about leveraging hyper-specific Tumblrs for a campaign or product launch. This allows you to involve your brand with targeted groups in a more intimate way. You are allowed to have multiple Tumblrs under one account.
Tumblr has hundreds of ready-to-go themes (many free) to help lower the barrier of entry to amateurs, but for a professional template you will need to find someone who can edit the existing templates available, or who can build a template from scratch. Often, professional Tumblrs are designed to look like a pared-down version of a website. Consider keeping your layout uncluttered and uncomplicated, so the focus is on your content.
Tagging and Following – Your Key to Getting Noticed
The most important thing about launching and updating your Tumblr is to make sure you’re thoroughly tagging your posts. This means using at least five tags per post that are directly germane to the details of your post. The biggest method of discovery on Tumblr is through posts, and they are actively followed by members. The more tags, the better your chances at being discovered.
When you’re launching your Tumblr, try to create a few posts that hit the most popular themes in the data you’ve gathered. Promote these posts through Tumblr’s advertising tools to help reach the influential bloggers in the targets you’re trying to hit. You will find that your discoverability will help your blog gain traction right out of the gate
Your Tumblr account includes a few metrics, but there are other tools that can help you identify popular Tumblrs and provide more comprehensive measures of your own success. Marketwired’s social analytics platform, powered by Sysomos, now gives you access to the complete ‘firehose’ of Tumblr posts. You will be able to see how well your content is performing against influencers in the existing community.
If your company is not blogging, you could be missing out, but the good news is that you can easily get started with Tumblr with a little bit of research, planning and template development. Once your company is discoverable and posting regularly, you will find many potential customers who are active in your communities who might be interested in your product or service.