By Rohan Ayyar
One of the relatively newer social media platforms (Tumblr was founded in 2007), Tumblr has seen some spectacular growth in the last couple of years. With about 189 million blogs hosted on Tumblr, 93 million new posts every single day, and about 42% of the entire domestic traffic of the United States visiting Tumblr blogs, it is well and truly a force to reckon with.
If Tumblr’s usage statistics are impressive, its user statistics are even more so.
The omnipresent Neil Patel points out on QuickSprout that
- 65% of Tumblr users have a college degree, with 56% having some sort of college education.
- It’s a very young audience with about half of all users under the age of 25.
- Like Pinterest, Tumblr is slightly more attractive to women with 53.5% of its users being female.
- To top all of this, the average revenue per visit from Tumblr is $1.10, second only to Facebook.
No wonder Yahoo shelled out $1.1 billion to buy out Tumblr in May 2013.
What You Get When You Tumble
Tumblr is a mashup of the best features of the most popular social networking and blogging sites.
Image source: QuickSprout
- Like Twitter, Tumblr allows you to discover new content using hashtags.
- Like Facebook, Tumblr encourages sharing by allowing you to like and reblog a post.
- Like Pinterest or Instagram, images are huge on Tumblr. 78% of Tumblr posts are photos or images.
- Like YouTube or Vine, video content is popular on Tumblr, where videos under 1 minute in duration outperform longer ones by about 40%.
- Like WordPress, you can create blog posts and put them up on Tumblr, comment on other’s posts and follow someone whose blog you fancy.
In other words,
Facebook + Twitter + Pinterest + Instagram + YouTube + Vine + WordPress = Tumblr
Content on Tumblr works best when it is short and sweet, and includes some mind-blowing images. So what can you do to step up your content marketing efforts on Tumblr?
1. Focus on a Niche
Tumblr, being a social blogging platform, allows you the advantage of creating and posting any kind of content you want. However, just because you can, does not mean you have to.
Use your content on Tumblr judiciously to grow your brand and to speak to your target audience in their language. If your ideal audience consists of 25-something female shoe enthusiasts, you would not want to waste precious user attention on posts about handbags or watches.
Tumblr lets you go really deep into your chosen subject. Capitalize on that opportunity. You can even have multiple segment specific Tumblr pages like eBay does for different customer niches.
Image source: Ebay Inside Source on Tumblr
Image source: Ebay Electronics on Tumblr
2. Employ Tumblr for Customer Care
Tons of brands worldwide offer customer service via Twitter and Facebook. Many, such as Royal Dutch KLM, have even won awards for outstanding social customer care on Twitter.
However, Tumblr is an oft-overlooked medium for customer care. Don’t waste this chance to make your customers happy. Encourage your followers to send you private messages on Tumblr using the ‘Ask Question’ feature. Delta uses the ‘Ask’ feature on Tumblr very effectively by seeking detailed information on the customer’s problems, their contact details, and getting back to the issues effectively.
To avoid a social media faux pas, ensure that you have a dedicated person monitoring your Tumblr feeds who can respond to messages quickly and effectively.
3. Link Out to Your Other Social Networks
Unlike Facebook, Twitter or Google+, you can share your content from within Tumblr to your other networks. By encouraging users to do that, you increase your social media reach and get the biggest bang for your buck from each post.
Tumblr lets you create bit.ly-like shortened URLs from within your Tumblr page for each post. Use this feature to keep your content shares brief on platforms like Twitter.
4. Do Unto Others…
Social networks are all about creating a sense of community between yourself and your users. When you give back the love that your fans give you, you are investing in making your user relationships stronger. Make your fans feel extra special by promoting fan art on your brand’s Tumblr page.
Don’t miss an opportunity to invite users to post content to your Tumblr page and increase their bond with your brand. The tourism board of Iceland does this beautifully with its charming first person blog on Tumblr (and other social networks) called Iceland Wants to Be Your Friend. It invites users to a one-on-one dialogue on Tumblr, asks for their videos and pictures and puts a whole load of personality into those frozen polar landscapes.
Image source: Iceland on Tumblr
Follow Tumblr pages of users who regularly post interesting content related to your niche. Reblog posts from other Tumblr pages on your Tumblr page to increase your social connectivity quotient as well as to get some fresh (and free) content for your feed.
Tumblr also allows you to reblog content from your Tumblr page to a blog hosted elsewhere. So the next time you create a great meme or article for Tumblr, consider reposting it on your corporate blog too, for increased eyeballs.
5. Sell on Tumblr
Many brands have used innovative tactics to not just engage users, but to actually sell products on Facebook. Dedicated stores on Facebook with full ecommerce functionality are now common. On Tumblr, you can use the same concept with shopping cart widgets from Shopify, Ecwid or Snipcart.
Image source: Shopify ecommerce widget for Tumblr
If you’re not quite ready, simply add prices and product details to images and descriptions on Tumblr with links back to your site product pages where users can buy them. If you are a publishing brand, you can ask your users to subscribe to your magazine – online or offline – via the subscription option on Tumblr.
6. Offer Tumblr-Only Deals
Experiment by giving out Tumblr-specific coupon codes and holding contests exclusive to Tumblr. This is a tactic that is popular on other social networks, but is rarely, if ever, seen on Tumblr. For this very reason, you must start using it right away – you’ll win brownie points for being unique!
Also, with little or no brands offering such freebies as coupons and deals on Tumblr the clutter is lower than that on other social networks. It will help you stand out better and keep customers coming back for more goodies in future.
Cross-social promotion from Tumblr will work wonders too! Yoplait, the cool new yogurt brand is taking their competitor Chobani (the leading Greek yogurt brand in the US) head on by:
- leveraging Twitter by encouraging users to tweet their preferred brand of yogurt
- using the hashtag #TasteOff for a cross-platform social faceoff
- posting YouTube videos of tastings shot in-store
Image source: Yoplait on Tumblr
As an extension of this strategy, try offering some extra-special content for your Tumblr followers as an incentive to sign up to your newsletter or mails. On Tumblr, you don’t need to go through all the pain of implementing elaborate conversion tactics to get newsletter subscribers, unlike your website. Once you have a repertoire of great posts and engagement “notes,” you have already established baseline credibility. Use this opportunity to grow your mailing list.
7. Reveal Tantalizing Bits of Content Leading to Your Site
Being a tease works not just with the opposite sex. It does really well on Tumblr too.
Post tantalizing tidbits of content on Tumblr and entice visitors to ‘read more’ on your website. A great way to create curiosity, build CTRs and drive traffic to site! Here’s how MTV does it:
Image Source: MTV UK on Tumblr
So Should You Go Tumbling After?
As the social network with the largest share of the ‘youth demographic’ and the one with the second-highest revenue per user, Tumblr has come a long way from being the stepchild of social networks.
Image source: The Realtime Report
While the logic of “Be everywhere” is compelling from a marketing perspective, taking your brand on a social network is a big responsibility. You need to consistently engage with your audience, be responsive to customer inputs and build your brand credibility from scratch on any new platform, and Tumblr is no exception.
There’s a lot of social networks out there. Dig deep to understand which social network your brand will do well on. Tumblr works beautifully for brands that lend themselves easily to a combination of text and image-driven content. However, there are successful Tumblr brands that are not naturals at dissipating information, but they take real effort to create engaging content that is relevant to the brand, yet does well on a visual medium like Tumblr.
Make your choice after weighing all your options. And if you need that one last push, head over to the White House Tumblr site to see how the President of the United States rolls on social media!
About Rohan Ayyar
Rohan Ayyar works for E2M, a startup-focused digital marketing agency. He specializes in getting businesses in front of a targeted audience with content marketing, social media and advanced link building. Rohan is @searchrook on Twitter, and Rohan Ayyar on LinkedIn. Feel free to hit him up on for a chat on any of these areas.