Marketers’ Guide to Tumblr

by Adrienne Erin February 25th, 2014 

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When looking at new approaches to online marketing, its important not to blindly chase an unknown demographic on an unknown platform. This is especially important as it relates to social networks. Each network has its own features and strengths that reach specific target audiences and can provide an advantage to marketers looking to get ahead.

Tumblr is no different. As a microblogging platform and social network, Tumblr allows users to post content ranging from text to photos to videos as short-form public or private blog posts. Network users can follow the blogs of others, much like following brands on more traditional sites like Twitter or Facebook.

Why Use Tumblr for Marketing in the First Place?

Tumblr, for those with no experience, is like a cross between Twitter and Pinterest. To understand Tumblr and how it differs from Pinterest or other social media sites, it's important to see how it works.

Tumblr, Pinterest, and Twitter play very different roles. Twitter has a focus on text " in under 140 characters " though pictures are a part of the platform. Twitter allows for retweets, or a quote from another account. Pinterest, on the other hand, is entirely image (and video) focused, linking to outside content (presumably the source of the image). Pinterest allows for repins, where one Pinterest user can grab anothers pin and add it to one of their own image collections; amazingly, 80% of the pins on the site are actually repins. Tumblr works in more of a narrative format than Pinterest, and tends towards a mix of text and imagery, whatever the length. Reblogging something copies it to your own Tumblr blog, but also encourages commentary. In particular, animated gifs thrive on Tumblr.

The statistics are also impressive. 14 minutes is the average users time spent on Tumblr, which tops the average time spent on Twitter or Facebook in a single visit. Tumblr users are generally educated and employed; 65% have a college education and 35% are earning $50,000 or more each year. Two-thirds of users are 35 or younger. To top it off, the network is growing. In 2013 it saw a 74% increase in users compared to 40% for Twitter and LinkedIn. Tumblr has risen to the fifth most visited site in the country.

Put simply, the network is growing, and comprised of a young and educated audience with a little disposable income. Tumblr is a hot spot that marketers should be paying attention to and using on a regular basis for best results. It is not a network to ignore.

Getting Started on Tumblr

Branding is important across all online channels, and this is true of Tumblr as well. Tumblr blogs can be customized to match specific color schemes and to include logos. Take advantage of these features after signing up for a free account.

Once youve gotten your layout to where it should be, consider your messaging. Like any marketing initiative, your Tumblr messaging should match the messages on other social media accounts, your website and your hard-copy collaterals. Consistency is critical for success.

After setting up an account, take the time to explore the network. Scope out and maybe even follow the blogs of your competitors, those related to your industry and potential customers. Make an effort to learn about the available features and think about how you would put them to work to market your product or service.

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Compose a Content Strategy

Whether you're marketing a retail product, a cleaning service or even an intangible tool like a VPN, you need a content strategy to make the most of your Tumblr account.

If you have a current promotion or ongoing campaign running, find ways to interlink your Tumblr posts with it. Coca-Cola is an excellent example of a brand using Tumblr to supplement an ongoing campaign. In conjunction with their Open Happiness Campaign, Coke uses their Tumblr account to share product images and animations that vividly demonstrate the connection between their product and overall happiness.

Think about what you're trying to promote and what members of your target audience are likely to respond to and reblog. Will they prefer still images, videos, gifs or even a combination? Make a point to create a body of posts around a particular theme that circles back to your product or service.

Interact!

Social networks are designed with interaction in mind. Consumers want to understand and connect with the brands they do business with. They want to know more than whats available on a standard website and they want to communicate openly. Tumblr allows for a level of personalized connectivity that leads to engagement and loyalty; this should be a top priority for any marketer.

One way to accomplish increased interaction is to install Disqus, a powerful commenting system that allows users to interact in real time while integrating with Facebook and Twitter. Respond to comments, answer questions and re-blog posts that may be of interest to your community (increasing your recognition across the network in the meantime).

Make interacting on Tumblr an everyday task to increase overall engagement. The more connected your followers feel, the more likely users are to visit your site and ultimately convert.

When and What to Post

Knowing when to post is the first step for successful Tumblr marketing. To understand this, its best to look at the research. Recently, Union Metrics analyzed 40 billion posts, reblogs and likes to come up with the answer. The results are as follows.

  • Weekends are the busiest time for activity on Tumblr.
  • Regardless of the day of the week, evenings are most active, from 4pm EST to 10pm EST.
  • Of the weekdays, Wednesdays are most popular.

Once you know when to post, its important to consider what to post.

Think about the information your followers care about. Consider posting tips related to your product or service, customer testimonials, workday photos and tutorial videos. Keep it light, fun and brief; that's what Tumblr is all about. Tumblr should be a priority for any marketers looking to step up their social strategy and target a young and educated demographic.

Adrienne Erin

Adrienne Erin is a freelance writer and blogger who specializes in social media marketing.

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