Tumblr for Brands: Pros, Cons and What to Consider

Tumblr for Brands: Pros, Cons and What to Consider

By: Shelly Kramer
April 25, 2012

Tumblr for brandsThere’s no denying that Tumblr continues to become an increasingly popular blogging platform. Recent statistics indicate that Tumblr has nearly doubled in size since last fall and now has 50 million blogs (and 20 billion posts). Founded four years ago, Tumblr, microblogging platform, is becoming a more popular option for both personal and business blogging.

Of course, that begs the million-dollar question: is Tumblr right for your brand or business? To make a decision, you’ll need to not only think about your brand’s content strategy, but also familiarize yourself with Tumblr and understand how it would work as an additional tool in your content marketing arsenal. Let’s talk—then you can decide.

The Pros of Tumblr

Simply put, Tumblr is simple. Really, really simple. If you have experience with Blogger or WordPress, you’ll probably find that Tumblr is even easier, which means you can dive in and start using the site with little to no learning curve.

Tumblr is a great option for anyone who wants to blog on the go. You can post to the site from a variety of sources, including a mobile phone, browser or desktop. Tumblr posts, as opposed to those found on other blogging platforms, tend to be visual and include photo or video. Keep in mind, however, that just because your Tumblr posts may be brief or highly visual, you still want to ensure you’re sharing quality content that appeals to your audience and aligns with your brand or business strategy.

Engagement is an important part of any social media presence, and Tumblr makes it relatively easy for brands and companies to connect with their followers. You can opt to open your Tumblr blog to user submissions, which is not only a great way to broaden your content pool, but also engage at a deeper level with your audience.

Tumblr’s structure is inherently social, too. Consider these attributes as outlined by Social Media Examiner: “Users choose to follow other Tumblr blogs that appear in their dashboards much like an RSS feed. They can then ‘reblog’ to their own Tumblr feed. This reblog feature encourages the redistribution of content, which can spread quickly if it’s interesting.”

The Cons of Tumblr

It’s not all sunshine and rainbows, people. As great as Tumblr is, it’s not for everyone. And, by the way, that goes for every social media platform. There’s a common mindset that brands and businesses who are engaging in the social space need to be on every. single. site. And that’s just not true. Some sites, whether it’s their focus, their layout, their audience or other factors, aren’t a good fit for your brand. Recognizing that is an important part of implementing a successful digital strategy—just as important, in fact, as embracing the social sites that do make sense.

A typical Tumblr audience skews younger than that of other social media platforms, so if your brand or business won’t be relevant to this group, you may want to focus your attention elsewhere.

And because Tumblr posts tend to be highly visual, you’ll want to ensure you have an adequate supply of high-quality photos and/or videos before you start posting. Photo apps like Instagram and Hipstamatic are making it easier to take eye-catching, artful photos and post them across a variety of platforms, including Tumblr. Research your options and think about what you’ll want to post before you start so that you can ensure Tumblr is the best fit when it comes to executing your overall digital strategy.

Tumblr may be easy to use, but you’ll have less control when it comes to site customization. If you know HTML (or know someone who does), you can modify existing Tumblr themes by adding widgets and other features, but you won’t have the flexibility and array of themes available on a site like WordPress. And Tumblr blogs can’t be self-hosted, meaning you’re at the mercy of the site—and it’s somewhat frequent outages.

Tumblr Success Stories

What do Kate Spade, Barack Obama, the Los Angeles Times, Huggies and Doctors Without Borders have in common? They all maintain successful Tumblr blogs that share a variety of content in order to spread each brand’s message and engage a wider audience.

When you start to explore Tumblr, the opportunities are virtually endless. Tumblr is an ideal outlet for creative content that can help share a new side of your brand or business, convey a message, encourage the sharing of viral content and more.

And if you’re in the business of selling (aren’t we all?), you may not necessarily need to immediately convert your audience to purchases. Instead, focus on building brand recognition and loyalty so that your brand or business is at the forefront of someone’s mind should they decide to buy from you or engage your services.

The great thing about Tumblr is its versatility. If you’re considering Tumblr for your own brand or business, think about how you’ll incorporate the site—and its features—into your existing content strategy. And just as you would with other blogging platforms, take some time to plan your first few posts to ensure you’re using the platform to its full potential.

Have you decided to use Tumblr for your business? If so, I’d love to hear your experience so far, as well as your content strategy.