Is Tumblr Right for My Business?

by Brenda Barron on January 17, 2014
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Tumblr gets a bad rap. The micro-blogging platform tends to be thought of as the most unprofessional of social networks, so it often gets the side-eye glance from corporate types.

Yet, although it’s true that Tumblr is where we go for spoilers of latest Sherlock episode or to enjoy an array of animated gifs, it can also provide an effective digital marketing tool for small businesses.

Not every business can make use of Tumblr, of course, but many can. Here’s how to tell whether it’s a good fit for your company.

Is Your Small Business Visual?

Tumblr is intrinsically image-based, much like Pinterest. This makes it the perfect avenue for small businesses in industries with a visual focus. But there’s a greater level of interaction on Tumblr: Replies and reblogs appear directly on user’s dashboards (rather than in a pinboard array). This presents more opportunities for engagement, which increases the likelihood that your social efforts will lead to conversions.

Three Kings Tattoo is a small business that uses Tumblr effectively. The Brooklyn-based shop posts images of the tattoos its artists complete, which creates daily opportunities to share new photos. This keeps the company’s Tumblr site active and promotes the brand. Because these images appear on the dashboard, users can scroll through posts from all of the blogs they follow, and this promotional content — even the occasional direct sell — hardly ever looks spammy.

Are There Visual Components Related to Your Business?

Just because you don’t offer a visual product doesn’t mean you should avoid Tumblr. Your use of the site just might not be as intuitive at first.

In lieu of posting product photos, consider posting photos related to your products. For instance, eyeglass maker Warby Parker doesn’t merely offer photos of its high-end frames. The company uses Tumblr to “post about things we’re reading, writing, seeing, making and doing.”

Warby Parker’s Tumblr blog has features like: Literary Rx, which offers quick book reviews; To Meet, which is a collection of interviews; and We Spy, which promotes its wares. The company promotes a lifestyle — what people who wear its glasses do — and sells indirectly by posting compelling content that goes beyond its products.

Could You Offer Frequent Updates?

If you can feasibly provide new information about (or related to) your company on a daily basis, you can most likely make use of Tumblr.

Although it isn’t a small business, Instagram offers a fine example of how frequent updates help to keep a brand in the public eye. The company posts photos its users have shared on the site, along with tips and tricks. Other companies may find they can provide even more frequent updates. For instance, restaurants have a prime opportunity to share yummy images. Solorzano Bros. Pizza often posts images of pizza and pizza-related things multiple times a day.

No, you don’t want to overextend yourself on social media. But if you find yourself nodding “yes” to the questions above, Tumblr will likely work for your business.

Brenda Barron is a writer from Southern California. She specializes in discussing how technology and social media are used in business practices.

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