Direct response marketers might be skeptical about the benefits of Tumblr—the platform responsible for the virality of “Beyonce vs. Zombies,” “NYC Crying Guide” and the much discussed blue-black/white-gold dress. To some analysts, the platform is simply “too artsy for marketers to make inroads,” according to the Washington Post. However, there are major benefits that emerge from a Tumblr presence, including the solid SEO boost from search engines indexing the platform, and that it’s yet another mobile touchpoint on which to engage potential customers. (Most of Tumblr’s traffic comes from mobile devices.)
Here are a few simple ways marketers can find success on Tumblr:
1. Properly construct your blog.Creative, image-driven content thrives on Tumblr, so marketers should cater to that when setting up their blogs. Choosing an image-focused layout, like this one from Denny’s, makes it easier for fans to consume visual content.
It’s also important to create a background that reflects your brand. MTV’s, for example, extracts images posted on the blog and floats them around in an animated fashion. It stays true to the pop culture medium that is MTV, and fits in well with Tumblr’s quirky community.
2. Use GIFs!Marketers should absolutely take part in the platform’s culture. GIFs thrive on Tumblr, and many brands tap into that. Refinery 29 does it well—using GIFs to catch the user’s attention, and then drive that person back to the Refinery 29 website.
3. Benefit from reblogs.Another interesting aspect of Tumblr is that it’s heavily reliant on the sharing of content. Many blogs on the platform simply exist on the basis of reblogs from other users. It’s great to see brands pay homage to their biggest fans by reblogging their content like Urban Outfitters so frequently does. In this case, the reblog doesn’t feature any UO products, but because the image is consistent with the spirit of the brand, it works well.
Reblogs are a great way to incorporate user-generated content into a brand’s Tumblr strategy—showing potential customers how fans are already using and loving certain products. Tumblr allows users to add their own comments onto a post when reblogging, which is a fantastic opportunity to include a link back to an e-commerce page.
4. Extend the life of your content.A major difference between Tumblr and most other social platforms is that Tumblr’s content tends to live on for a lot longer. In fact, Lee Brown, global head of brand partnerships at Tumblr, reports that one-third of engagement on a Tumblr post is received one month after the content is originally posted. That said, the platform should not be used for real-time marketing.
GE does a great job of acknowledging timely events, all while creating evergreen content. On Pi Day (March 14), GE shared a whimsical GIF that any math lover would enjoy any day of the year. While GE didn’t include a link with the GIF, the brand could have used the opportunity to direct fans to their GE Reports article about Pi Day.
Ultimately, marketers should not be intimidated by the artsy nature of Tumblr—they should embrace it. This is an effective platform for engaging fans and directing them back to brand sites. It’s likely that unbeknownst to a marketer, hundreds of their brand’s images are already living and thriving on Tumblr—ready to direct traffic and revenue back to the brand site. The key is to identify who's promoting the brand on the platform, and who is likely to do so in the future.
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Stephanie Wharton handles content strategy at Curalate.