Marketing on Tumblr

by PMA


Marketing on Tumblr

Whether it was peer pressure, the desire to fit in or plain, primal curiosity, I joined Tumblr because everyone else was. This was 2010 – the year Spain won the FIFA World cup, Julian Assange entered the Ecuadorian embassy and Old Spice successfully re-vitalised its brand. Fast-forward 6 years and Tumblr is still a huge aspect of my daily life; bigger, perhaps, than Facebook or Instagram. But while the popularity of Tumblr has catapulted in recent years, marketers and businesses have been noticeably absent. In fact, paid advertising is almost non-existent on the site.

But don’t let this discourage you as a business owner. If you are a daring and adventurous entrepreneur (with a hint of tech savvy) Tumblr can easily provide you with a first mover advantage over your competitors.

Marketing on Tumblr: Understanding the Tumblr User

Tumblr is part social-media site and part micro-blogging platform. Users are able to effortlessly upload their own, personally crafted content or share images, videos, GIFs, audio or text from other bloggers. Like Facebook or Instagram, you can ‘like’ things that spark your interest, or even reblog it to your site for your followers to see. Put simply, Tumblr is all about showcasing content that is interesting to you – whether it’s fashion, TV shows, writing or a certain lifestyle. Some Tumblr account-holders use the platform as an online diary, others use it as a digital inspiration board. How you do it is up to you, and your imagination.

With a fast-paced style of communication and heavy use of pop-culture references, Tumblr is unsurprisingly popular among young millennials. The 16 – 24 age bracket is the most prominent on the site.


Marketing on Tumblr Successfully

The first thing to understand about marketing on Tumblr is that it’s more suited to raising brand awareness than creating an immediate call-to-action. But in an age where consumers seek the perceived image a brand gives them over the cheapest price, Tumblr can be invaluable.

Jason Keath, CEO of Social Fresh, wrote that not every brand works on Tumblr; and he’s right. Tumblr is entirely youth-focused and, as outlined in their 2016 marketing strategies, they intend to stay that way. So if you are attempting to reach baby boomers, you might be in the wrong place. However, if you want to reach the alternative and individualistic millennial market, you are in luck. Our top tips for flourishing on the site are listed below.

1. Forget What You Know About Blogging

Don’t treat Tumblr like a regular blog; users just wont engage with long, laborious posts. To score a reblog or like, you need to keep content short and sweet. Tumblr’s Brand Strategist, Alexis Kaplan, revealed that single photos are the most popular type of content on the site – followed by GIFs, text and video. A captivating image with a simple caption will go further on the site than a half-heartedly written article.

2. Dress to Impress

Tumblr is great for customisation. There’s an abundance of free or paid blog themes on the site to choose from – from the slightly whacky to the professionally sleek. Choose one that goes hand-in-hand with your brand image.

3. Engage Your Fans

One handy feature of Tumblr is that your followers can’t see who you are following. On Twitter or Instagram, it may seem suspicious when follower and following numbers are neck-and-neck. Viewers might start to question the brands credibility, or wonder if the company’s number of followers is indeed ‘organic’. Under Tumblr’s default settings, follower/following numbers aren’t displayed to the public – which means your brand can (and should) follow back all fans without the risk of negative public perceptions. Following your fans is also a great way to engage in some under-cover marketing research; figuring out what is important to your consumers, and what interests them.

4. Post regularly and be consistent

While fans often complain if brands post more than once a day on Facebook, that is not the case for Tumblr. Provide your followers with a steady stream of content; aim to create or reblog posts three to five times a day, everyday. It may seem like a lot, but Tumblr has made posting extremely straightforward and speedy. Like a Facebook page, posts can also be scheduled through an in-built tool called Queue.

5. Create content that incites an emotional response
The beautiful thing about working with a visually stimulating platform like Tumblr is that it is often easier to incite an emotional response with photography over words. Some ideas for your businesses picture posts could include stills of your product in use, candid images of your services in action, or pictures of company employees having fun. Get creative! High quality visual content is stimulating, and has high potential to spread virally

Notable Examples of Businesses on Tumblr:

Teen Vogue

Big images, brief captions – Teen Vogue has nailed the Tumblr game. However, their brand was pretty much perfect for the site from the get-go (Tumblr and Teen Vogue share the same target demographics, after all).

Teen Vogue On Tumblr

Curtin University

How do you market to an audience that doesn’t want to be outright advertised to? Curtin University circumnavigated this issue remarkably well by steering away from a blog that was anywhere near market-y. Drawing inspiration from the pop-culture phenomenon Humans of New York, Curtin has started Humans of Curtin; subtlety promoting the university through the collection of adorably eclectic campus personalities.

PMA MARKETING Tumblr Post (Curtin 1)

Last Words: Don’t Wait

If you are still hesitant about using Tumblr, consider the evolution of Facebook. In 2006, it was a new and foreign landscape; untested by marketers. Now, almost every business from the local greengrocer to the Apple corporation use it to sell their wares and services. Personalised social media channels like Tumblr are only increasing in popularity, so it’s time to ask yourself a question. Is it better to be the risk-taking first mover in the Tumblr movement, or the last person to jump on the bandwagon?