Should You Be on Tumblr? Seven Business Case Examples
Are you looking for an effortless blogging platform for your business? Tumblr has 30 million+ blogs and is business-friendly.
It easily supports text, images and videos from your mobile phone, browser or desktop.
Read how seven businesses created interesting blogs using Tumblr.
How Tumblr Works
With more than 10 billion posts and 30 million blogs, Tumblr is quickly becoming a force in the world of social media. It combines the social sharing of Twitter and Facebook with a clean, easy-to-use blogging platform.
Users choose to “follow” other Tumblr blogs that appear in their dashboard 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.
Tumblr users can also open their blogs to submissions from readers, which has led to some very creative Tumblr sites (Dear Photograph, Unhappy Hipsters and Clients from Hell are some of my personal favorites).
Tumblr is not for everyone. The audience tends to be younger, so short, highly visual blog posts tend to do much better than text-intensive posts. If you have trouble obtaining quality photographs and video, Tumblr may not be for you.
However, the quick setup and simplicity of Tumblr may make it a good choice for those who want to get a blog up and running right now. There is very little learning curve and although it doesn’t have the power of WordPress, it’s also much easier to use.
The fashion industry was one of the first to embrace Tumblr from a business perspective. Brands like Oscar De La Renta and Ann Taylor capitalized on the visual nature of Tumblr by publishing photos of the latest fashions, insider pictures and quick bits from the fashion world.
For those considering Tumblr as a publishing platform, it’s important to spend some time exploring Tumblr to get a feel for the tone and nature of the Tumblr audience.
To get you started, here are seven businesses that have created interesting Tumblr blogs.
#1: Highchair Critics: Spit up, Bits and Pieces From the Baby News Network
Everyone loves cute baby pictures and who better to provide them than a diaper company? Huggies takes full advantage of the cuteness factor with their Tumblr site, Highchair Critics, where they share all things baby.
On a typical visit, you’ll find everything from “I just can’t help but share” baby videos to quick thoughts and tips for new parents to pregnant celebrity photos. Highchair Critics has it all. Interspersed throughout are contests that you can enter by “reblogging” posts from the site. If ever there was a site teeming with viral content, this is it.
#2: Adventures in Ice Cream
Milkmade Ice Cream, which specializes in gourmet ice cream delivery in the New York City area, uses their Tumblr site, Adventures in Ice Cream, to publish daily photos of ice cream that would make anyone drool.
The simplicity of it is appealing—mainly high-quality images of delicious-looking ice cream mixed in with an occasional update about company activity. Naturally, they make and sell each ice cream flavor pictured. Follow it long enough and you’ll be requesting delivery to your area.
#3: Somebody’s Mother’s
I’m a big advocate of self-hosted blogs directly incorporated into a company’s website. Not only can they provide a big boost in the search engine rankings, they can also be used to direct readers to other parts of a company website.
Somebody’s Mother’s, a company specializing in chocolate and caramel dessert sauces, has found a way to take advantage of the social sharing elements of Tumblr while directly incorporating Tumblr into their website.
Using a custom Tumblr design, Somebody’s Mother’s, creates a seamless transition between their website and Tumblr blog. Tumblr readers can easily move from the Tumblr blog to the website and back (and vice versa) and never notice that they left Tumblr.
Like Adventures in Ice Cream, Somebody’s Mother’s uses plenty of easy-to-share content and high-quality photos of delicious-looking desserts.
#4: A Smarter Planet
IBM’s A Smarter Planet looks more like a traditional blog, but instead of long, in-depth articles, it’s filled with short posts, photos and videos all based around science and technology. The shorter posts on A Smarter Planet are optimized for the Tumblr dashboard and provide enough “oh wow” factor to encourage sharing.
#5: The Museum of Useful Things
The Museum of Useful Things sells “well made utilitarian items” that range from aluminum pushpins to clamping camera tripods. Their blog features a variety of art, design and other interesting items that make you say, “Yeah, I could use something like that.”
Recent items featured on the blog include a paper clip/USB drive, a photography exhibit and a magnetic nail holder designed to prevent swollen thumbs.
Interspersed are posts about products they sell. They publish enough related content that their own products seem to fit right into the mix.
#6: Doctors Without Borders
Doctors Without Borders uses a combination of photos and quotes to convey their humanitarian message. Using a two-column format, the majority of posts are split between photos with short captions and quotes from longer field reports from trouble spots such as Somalia and Pakistan.
Most posts link to larger reports or slide shows on their main site but the combination of the quotes and pictures can be quite effective.
Yes, they’re a big media company, but Newsweek has found a way to create a unique and creative voice that speaks to the Tumblr audience.
Informal, humorous and sometimes poignant, the success of Newsweek on Tumblr demonstrates the importance of understanding your audience.
Tumblr isn’t for everyone. The audience tends to be a bit edgy and it can be difficult for those without the means to produce visual content. Regardless, for the right organization, Tumblr’s ease of use, viral nature and active users can provide a powerful publishing platform.
What do you think? Do you use Tumblr for business or know of another business that is making Tumblr work for them? Tell us about it in the comments box below.
Jim Lodico is a copywriter and marketing consultant specializing in creating powerful content and teaching businesses how to use blogs. You can follow him on Twitter @jlcommunication. Other posts by Jim Lodico »