A Guide to Marketing on Tumblr

Have you established a brand presence on the blogging platform Tumblr? If not, you should consider the opportunity of tapping into an exciting platform where there is a chance that people already are talking about you. Tumblr boats 24 billion posts and 59 million blogs, which are numbers that continue to rise every day.

Tumblr’s functionalities

Tumblr’s functionalities can be compared to those of Twitter; follow other users and see their posts in a feed on your so-called Dashboard, get re-blogged by others for a viral spread of your content, send messages to other bloggers and tag your posts for the ability of other people to find your content through a search function. Thanks to these functions, Tumblr has a social structure that allows you to connect with your target group on a level that can be hard to achieve on other blogging platforms.

Set a strategy

As with any other social platform attended for marketing, you should set up a strategy for your brand’s use of a Tumblr blog. Point out whom you are trying to reach and how Tumblr can help you reach them.

Tumblr’s analytics are not providing as good insights as those for blogs such as WordPress. For my Tumblr blog, I use Google Analytics which give me more valuable metrics. You can establish a number of followers and re-blogs you would like to achieve, though Tumblr is a platform where you mainly should focus on creating quality interactions and measure individual success stories. So, set a mix of qualitative and quantitative goals you would like to meet.

Become a valuable asset

Tumblr is not a place for your newsletters to be presented or where you shamelessly promote your products or services. You are promoting a lifestyle.  You are promoting links and visual content such as videos, gifs, audio clips and images that will interest your audience. Share unique content based on a lifestyle branding mentality. Your success will largely rely on your ability to inspire followers to re-blog your content. Try to find out how your target group are talking about you and re-blog content from other Tumblr bloggers who show your brand in the tone-of-voice and surroundings you want to convey. User generated content also works as peer-to-peer recommendations. Your tactics should aim to make your brand become a valuable asset to the Tumblr community you are trying to reach.

Pay for visibility

Tumblr has begun to offer paid advertising. This is offered to a limited number of brands as a start and recently a month-long campaign was sold to Adidas. In time for the 2012 UEFA European Championship, Adidas bought a placement in the Tumblr “Radar” on the user dashboard to promote their Adidas Football blog. The Radar is a continually rotating selection of Tumblr blogs picked by the editorial team, which now can be bought as an ad unit for an entire day as well.  Tumblr also has a “spotlight” page for niche blogs where Adidas is about to promote their blog as well. On the page for sport blogs, the Adidas ad runs in a format three times wider than the teasers for organic picks. Ads are marked with a dollar sign to differentiate it from organic content though.

Radar and spotlight ads can grab you attention on Tumblr, but I recommend not to overdo it. The heart of Tumblr is to “Follow the world’s creators” – meaning that it’s a place to explore creative and inspirational content made from a place of passion. So keep in mind to follow this golden rule and only share unique, relevant and high quality content with your audience.

Create engagement

Tumblr puts particular emphasis on the importance of design. Before Tumblr’s launch of ad units, Adidas was already detected as an active user of the platform with a creative vision and compelling presence with its fashion and design oriented Adidas Originals blog.

The Adidas Originals blog proves great user involvement with their usage of tags. Tumlbr bloggers with a love for expressing themselves are encouraged to tag their creative work with #wsp and #adidasoriginals for the possibility  of getting featured on the Adidas Originals blog. Adidas’ blog is what they call a “White Sheet Project” – a space where creativity by originals will be expressed and shown to the world.

The Adidas Originals’ Tumblr blog is a great example of how to create engagement and involve Tumblr users with a brand based on the users own terms. Furthermore, the brand conveys a personality that users can identify with and are willing to connect with. People re-blog content that they are able to use in their own self-expression. Make them explore your content and let them be a part of your brand.

  • One of the most complete Tumblr guides I ever read! Thanks for sharing this!

  • I’m glad you could find inspiration in my post. Thanks for your comment!

  • Great guide. I wanted to suggest a third-party analytics tool I am working on, called Tumbalyze. It provides info on follower growth, per post statistics, tag statistics, and more. It’s still in Beta at this point, and it’d be amazing to get your feedback. To give ou an example, here’s what the statistics for the Adidas Originals blog looks like: http://www.tumbalyze.com/posts/adidasoriginals

  • Thank you! Glad you liked my post. I have checked out your analytic tool, Tumbalyze. Very nice interface. I like the “Tags on top 100 posts all-time” which allows the user to track and optimize the usage of tags. I would like to have a deeper look into the “Follower growth” which could be a bit more detailed. What I like about Google Analytics is that it alo shows referrals, which is a very interesting point to analyse. I’ll defiantly keep an eye on Tumbalyze to see how it will develop. Thanks for sharing! :)

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