Social Media

How to (Properly) Use Tumblr to Market Your Brand

According to comScore’s State of the U.S. Social Network Market, Tumblr is one of the most consistently growing social networks out there.

In December 2011 it had 15.9 million U.S. visitors, which is up from November 2010. Most of that growth has occurred since April 2011.

But this is not just about sheer number of visitors. The amount of time that visitors spend on Tumblr averages around 2.4 hours a month, making it only second to Facebook in terms of user engagement.

Facebook visitors spend 6.6 hours a month on the site. Pinterest is in third place with users spending an average of 1.5 hours on the site a month.

This means that you need to start considering how to fit Tumblr in to your content marketing strategy. With that in mind, let’s look at what Tumblr is and how you can use it correctly to market your brand.

What is Tumblr

Tumblr is basically a micro-blogging platform with a twist…it’s perfect for posting short bits of content like photos, charts, quotes or videos.

image0012 How to (Properly) Use Tumblr to Market Your Brand

Tumblr allows you to choose your own themes, and you can choose to post content from the typical top-to-bottom format or collage format like Vintage Gals:

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Who Visits Tumblr

The social network tends to draw creative and artistic types, so fashion, design, photography, arts, humor and comics are big topics.

You’ll also find a lot of Tumblr blogs devoted to meme-like topics like ANIMALS TALKING IN ALL CAPS or Awesome People Hanging Out Together.

Then you can find brands like IBM, Laughing Squid, LIFE and Spotify on Tumblr. If your brand can fit within this niche, then you might be able to leverage the audience on Tumblr.

Who Uses Tumblr

Tumblr is ideal for the under 30 crowd…so if that is your audience…or just a segment of your audience…then you can use Tumblr to market your brand.

It’s not easy, though, delivering what this crowd wants. Make sure you spend countless hours researching Tumblr and discovering what is popular.

I suggest you check out a couple of best of Tumblr lists like the following:

As you’ll find out, content is very visual, eye-catching and quick to consume. If your product can fit into that mold, then Tumblr should be your next social media marketing channel to spread content and bring attention to your brand.

How to Post Content on Tumblr

What works really well on Tumblr are small chunks of media that come from original content, reblogs and added opinions on content shared.

When I say “original content” I don’t mean necessarily that you created it…just that you found it on the web and shared it on your Tumblr account.

You can also reblog other Tumblr content with a click of a button.

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That content will then end up on your Tumblr.

This is great for brands that are paying attention to a niche and want to provide relevant content to their audience.

Many brands will use Tumblr in combination with a traditional blog. This is true for Newsweek that is supplementing content from their site with that of other news publishers like The Daily Beast:

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So if you already have a traditional blog, you could create a content strategy that uses Tumblr to build upon your blog posts…providing additional material, images and comments.

3 Tips to Getting Brand Exposure on Tumblr

When it comes to getting exposure in Tumblr, there are three traditional ways to do it…reblogging, liking and commenting.

Reblogging, like I mentioned above, is the process of sharing someone’s Tumblr content on your Tumblr. When you reblog…whether from the original source or from someone else who reblogged the same content…you will appear on the original Tumblr account:

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Liking is the same thing as you would like something on Facebook. You will appear at the bottom of the post, too:

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That’s a great opportunity to lead other targeted users back to your account.

And if you reblog and comment on the content in your own reblog, then you will get more space on the original Tumblr’s post.

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Just like on traditional blogs, a commenting strategy builds relationships on Tumblr as well. And keep in mind…this is not about self-promotion…this is about helping as many people you can.

The more people you can help on Tumblr by providing useful and relevant content…the more people who will follow you, and the more exposure you’ll bring to your brand.

Use This Trick When Posting Original Content

If you want to make sure that your original content will always end up back at your Tumblr no matter how many times it gets reblogged, then link to yourself.

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This serves as a watermark…and drives people back to your site. This “watermark” has several advantages:

  • Drives people back to your Tumblr no matter how many times it gets reblogged and spread across Tumblr. You will always get traffic.
  • Spreads your brand across the Tumblr ecosystem…meaning more people see it.

That simple link back to yourself (if someone clicks on it, yes, they will recycle back to your Tumblr) provides the power of back links and brand promotion. Don’t forget it!

Tag Your Posts

Another great way to get your brand found in Tumblr is to tag your posts.

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For instance, say you post on a picture of a social media conference, tag it with words like “social media,” “conference,” “Facebook,” and “event.”

Avoid stuffing your tags, however, with irrelevant words. Always make sure you are using words that are tightly focused on what you are posting. If you don’t, you can easily clue followers into the fact that you are trying to game the system…

…and just like anywhere else in social media, spam will force people to unfollow you.

Drive Traffic To Your Other Social Media Platforms

Tumblr is perfect for curating some of your best content from your other social media sites, especially blog.

If you’re like me and create advanced and detailed posts, then you could post on Tumblr the best quotes from that bog post…driving traffic back to your original domain.

But don’t forget about your Twitter, Facebook and Google+ and other social media accounts. Here are some tips on how to repost content from these sites:

  • Twitter or Facebook – Repost on Tumblr some of the best replies you are getting for a question that you asked on these two social sites. This holds true for anything you share on Google+.
  • Instagram – If you use Instagram, you could post some of your better photos…driving people to join you on Instagram…spreading your brand even further.
  • Pinterest – Because Tumblr is a picture-based blogging platform, the collage shot of one of your boards on Pinterest would work really well as a repost on Tumblr.

Focus on a Very-Tight Niche

Tightly-focused blogs on humor seem to thrive on Tumblr. Cats That Look Like Ron Swanson and Accidental Chinese Hipsters are great examples.

Some brands are using Tumblr to show their entertaining side…like The Today Show. But you don’t have to be a comedian to leverage Tumblr’s meme-worthy platform.

You can use Tumblr to help you drill down a narrow area of your field. For example…

  • If you’re an SEO, you can share images of relevant graphs or charts on organic traffic you create or come across during your research.
  • If you’re in technology, you can share content around a specific piece of electronic equipment.
  • If you’re in web design, you can share the best CSS designs that you find as you work for clients.

Really, the way you use Tumblr is limited only by your imagination…and really ends up being a great way to extend the reach of your brand.

Conclusion

While Facebook is the obvious leader in the social marketing scene, Tumblr is emerging to be a leader in its own special way…providing you with yet another means to growing your brand.

But Tumblr is not for everyone. You have to know your audience…or a segment of your targeted audience…would use Tumblr…otherwise you’ll be wasting your time.

Have you found Tumblr to be effective in your marketing strategy?

 How to (Properly) Use Tumblr to Market Your Brand
Neil Patel is the co-founder of KISSmetrics, an analytics provider that helps companies make better business decisions. Neil also blogs about marketing and entrepreneurship at Quick Sprout.

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6 thoughts on “How to (Properly) Use Tumblr to Market Your Brand

  1. A very useful and complete article about Tumblr! We chose Tumblr as a platform to host our blog and we are very happy with this choice. We definitely recommend it to anyone who wants to start a new blog, specially one that involves photos.

  2. Great post Neil, Tumblr is an unbelievable source of engagement and is way under utilized by most brands and marketers. Tumblr is great for graphic and video related posts which extends well to resharing on Pinterest and other social networks. I think one of the problems is that it’s slightly harder obviously to post and to follow and connect with other people there compared to places like Twitter. This can be a good thing for keeping noise levels down but not for building a viral community. Also if you post mostly original content vs. a ton of reblogging you’re more likely to be followed.

  3. Great post!.

    I use tumblr as an addition to my blog, posting mostly photos and quotes I come across while travelling. I do reblog quite a bit, but only ever because I genuinely like something.
    If i’m not logged in, it does make reblogging a bit more difficult. like Daniel mention twitter is so much easier in this respect.

    thanks for sharing

  4. Great post. IMHO, Tumblr is the sleeping giant of the Web world. Far more versatile than Twitter (It’s a full featured blogging platform) and with far more sophisticated viral technologies than Twitter, whose “re-tweets” are more of a user-hack than a feature.

    There are some excellent 3rd party tools to maximize followers and gain exposure. TumbleRocket is one of them — definitely worth checking out:

  5. Hi Neil,

    Great article related to Tumblr. I haven’t use Tumblr till now but after reading this post I just amazed to see its benefits and it will going to play a very important role in online marketing. So its high time to be active on Tumblr to attract more and more visitors to the blogs and websites. Thanks for sharing a great post, it is simply superb.