Tumblr may not be the most high profile social network doing the rounds, but its blogging platform offers unique opportunities to engage with new audiences that are too good to be ignored.
It hosts just over 77m blogs and 33bn blog posts, which is a very healthy community of people creating, viewing and sharing content.
So how should brands be using Tumblr, and which brands’ blogs are worth checking out?
The benefits of Tumblr
Unlike more traditional blogging platforms, Tumblr’s social focus means that short form content tends to gain the most interactions.
This means you can get creative with photos, images, memes and anything else that contains a striking visual.
For brands that create a lot of content it’s a great way of highlighting their most eye-catching or attractive images, but even if original content isn’t your forte Tumblr can still be used to share things that help to build your brand’s identity.
Brands can also use it to tease new products, highlight a sale or promotion, give a behind-the-scenes look at events or simply tell their story to an engaged and predominantly young audience.
And what’s more, brands can choose from more than 1,300 themes or create a totally customised look for their blog, which makes it far more attractive and on-brand than even the most painstakingly organised Facebook timeline.
Brands using Tumblr
LOCOG used Tumblr to give fans a closer look at the opening and closing ceremonies at both the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
More than half a million people visited the blog, which featured images, information and links to videos.
Tumblr touts Whole Foods as one of the brands making best use of its platform, so it would be churlish not to include it in this list.
The food retailer uses Tumblr to republish its monthly online magazine, Dark Rye, which includes video content, cool and unusual images, and spoof interviews with dandelions and bumblebees.
Whole Foods also shares content from other blogs to ensure it has a steady stream of daily updates. Overall it’s a really attractive Tumblr and one that helps to develop the brand image.
Anyone with a Pinterest account should recognise the design of Adidas’ Tumblr. The sports brand uses the platform mainly to share lifestyle content such as images of graffiti and fashion designers.
But it’s all liberally interspersed with Adidas products and the brand logo, complete with links back to online stores so users can buy the products on show.
Current affairs publication The Economist has embraced the digital age by using Tumblr to promote and tease upcoming editions.
All the content it publishes is short-form and shareable, such as charts, videos, cartoons, covers and quotes, which makes for a very entertaining Tumblr.
Retro, indie fashion site ModCloth uses Tumblr to share new looks and styles from around the web.
As with Adidas’ Tumblr, it uses a similar layout to Pinterest to display content that fit its brand image and give inspiration for new looks with the aim that viewers will ultimately buy from ModCloth.com
It’s a great example of how smaller businesses can make use of social networks to drive traffic to their sites.
Another publisher using Tumblr to promote its digital content, GQ mainly posts images but also includes other short-form content.
All the posts link back to GQ’s homepage, which is a great way of expanding the brand’s audience and driving traffic to the main site.
Though the most recent updates are mainly cartoons, The New Yorker also posts frequent images, quotes and videos.
The New Yorker uses Tumblr as a way of attracting traffic to its website, so all the posts contain links back to articles.
The fashion retailer has a minimalist Tumblr that features endless pictures of fashion shoots and models in their underwear.
The aim of this blog seems to be to share iconic Calvin Klein images and build the brand identity rather than to directly sell the products as the images don’t appear to link to an e-commerce site.
Even so, it’s a good-looking Tumblr and one that no doubt appeals to Tumblr’s young, fashion conscious users.
Vans has a very cool Tumblr that features images and videos from its snowboarding and skating events.
It’s very much a branding exercise as there don’t appear to be any product images and the posts mainly link back to the Vans Facebook and Instagram accounts.
Glamour is another publisher using Tumblr to show off some of its best imagery, presumably with the aim of growing its audience and driving traffic back to its main website.
It has different sections for ‘Fashion Week’, ‘Street Style’, ‘Inspiration’ and ‘In The Magazine’, with a vast majority of the posts linking back to articles on Glamour.com, however some link directly to third-party e-commerce sites where users can buy the products.