Social Media Spotlight is designed to introduce you to the benefits of social media for your business, with specific examples tailored to the graphic arts industry. This month we’re exploring Tumblr.
Why join for business?
Tumblr can be described as a ‘visually-oriented hybrid between a micro-blogging platform and social networking site’. That might sound like a lot of technobabble, but in a nutshell, Tumblr is a place where users go to see something new and connect with topics and people of interest. Tumblr’s tagline is “follow the world’s creators”.
However, Tumblr is not a blogging site for traditionally long blog posts. Instead, it’s for posting small pieces of content, otherwise known as microblogging. Tumblr allows users to post any of seven different types of content: videos, audio, photos, text, quotes, links or chat. Tumblr makes it incredibly simple to post content, whether through a web browser, app or even by email or phone (call 1-866-584-6757 to leave an audio post on your blog).
If you are managing more than one brand or service, Tumblr also makes it easy to manage multiple accounts under one main account. To stay consistent across all of your social media channels, it’s recommended that you use the same avatar (photo/logo/marker) to identify your brand across all channels so your loyal followers knows it’s you. Tumblr also allows users to create a highly customized page for themselves with a variety of themes (free and paid). This is an opportunity to align to your brand’s current look and feel with your Tumblr page. You don’t need to hire someone who is well-versed in programming languages to customize this for you – it’s a very user-friendly interface with drag and drop functionality.
Dan Coe, CEO of e-commerce platform BlkDot, provides some fine-tuned advice for those thinking about creating a Tumblr account for their business: “If your brand caters to the 18-34 year old demographic, and if you have a compelling brand story, you can do well on Tumblr.” On Tumblr, make it visual to make it count.
Here are a few important Tumblr stats (as of October 2013):
- 142.5 million blogs on Tumblr
- Approximately 101 million posts per day
- 64.6 billion total Tumblr posts
- Yahoo purchased Tumblr in May 2013
- Tumblr is among the top 15 websites in the United States
Tips for Engaging Prospects & Customers
Just like other social networking sites, success on Tumblr is a two-way street. Broadcasting new content into the world isn’t enough to garner a loyal following. (If you build it, they might come, but they won’t stay for long and there’s no guarantee they’ll come back.) Following others’ blogs and interacting with others’ content is a much better strategy to organically build your online brand presence. Doing so consistently will bring even more success.
“Reblogging” (similar to re-tweeting on Twitter) is a way to share content you find on Tumblr with your own following. Upon creating a new account, Tumblr asks you to start following a minimum of five blogs relating to on your areas of interest. As these blogs are updated and fed with new information, users can share the content with their own following by clicking the “reblog” button. Commenting and liking (similar to most other social media platforms) are other ways to build community and gain followers on Tumblr.
The Tumblr platform also makes it easy for others to interact with you. By simply placing a question mark (?) at the end of a text post, you will have the option to check off the “Let people answer this” box to respond to your post.
Tagging is another great way to get found on Tumblr. Each tag (keyword) you assign to your post will increase the likelihood that someone with similar interests will find you. Tags appear below your post and include a hashtag in front of each one. Inc.com suggests that between seven and twelve tags is the optimum number to cast “a net wide enough to catch a lot of searches” without appearing too “spammy”. Once the user begins typing, related tags will auto complete, making it quick and easy to add a number of tags to each post.
Tumblr is available in 13 languages and many users are non-Americans, so brands looking to increase global reach have even greater chances of success via Tumblr than other, text-based social networking platforms. Bridging the language gap by posting something visual is a way that bloggers can engage followers from other nations who speak different languages.
Finally, by adding a “Follow on Tumblr” badge (button) on your website, it allows users to quickly and easily find you on Tumblr, as well as interact and share content.
These tips for engaging customers all funnel back to the notion that businesses should want to increase the number of views and followers they receive on any social media platform. This will help increase brand awareness on the web, including driving the company’s page rank higher on Google. The more you are on the web and the more that people are genuinely interested in your content, the better the chances you will be found by future, paying customers. Content is king in today’s online business world.
A Company Who’s Got It Right
The Game Crafter, the world’s first web-to-print board game publisher, uses Tumblr as their main news blog to communicate to the 27,000+ members of their custom gaming community (news.thegamecrafter.com). Co-owner Tavis Parker is an avid user because Tumblr makes it so easy to schedule posts, as well as automatically pushing posts to Facebook and Twitter. Everything is integrated and automated through their Tumblr feed. The type of content The Game Crafter posts includes:
- Product announcements
- Videos from community members
- News stories
- Tips and tricks for custom game creation (ie: colour control techniques)
- Links to board game templates
Additionally, Steady Print Shop Co. in Minnesota has done a great job promoting their design, illustration and screen printing services via Tumblr (steadyprintshop.tumblr.com). With a note on their storefront window that playfully tells customers that they’re “open when [they] feel like it”, it’s reassuring to know that their Tumblr page is open 24/7!
Microblog: A type of blog where users share small pieces of information, such as images, video clips and short lines of text – sometimes called microposts.
Reblog: Re-posting or sharing another user’s content with your followers on Tumblr. Reblogs include a marker that shows other users where the reblogged content originated.
Links to Further Resources
A Quick Guide to Using Tumblr for Business by Amy Gahran for Entrepreneur http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/224084
How to Use Tumblr for Your Business by Jayson DeMers for Social Media Examiner