How to decide if Tumblr is right for your brand

Tumblr is easy to use, but doesn’t have the flexibility of WordPress or Blogger. Use this pro/con list to see if it’s the right blog platform for you.

You can’t deny that Tumblr is an increasingly popular blogging platform. Recent statistics indicate Tumblr has nearly doubled in size since last fall, and now has 50 million blogs and 20 billion posts. Founded four years ago, the microblogging platform is becoming a popular option for both personal and business blogging.

Of course, that begs the million-dollar question: Is Tumblr right for your brand or business?

To decide, you need to not only think about your brand’s content strategy, but also familiarize yourself with Tumblr. Understand how it would work as an additional tool in your content-marketing arsenal.

The pros

The good news? Tumblr is simple. Really, really simple. If you have experience with Blogger or WordPress, you’ll probably find Tumblr is even easier. This means you can dive in and start using the site with little to no learning curve.

Tumblr is a great option for anyone who wants to blog on the go. You can post to the site from a variety of sources, including a mobile phone, browser or desktop.

Tumblr posts, as opposed to those on other blogging platforms, tend to be visual and include photos or videos. Keep in mind, however, that even though your Tumblr posts are brief or highly visual, you still want to share high-quality content that appeals to your audience and aligns with your brand or business strategy.

Engagement is an important part of any social media presence, and Tumblr makes it relatively easy for companies to connect with their followers. You can opt to open your Tumblr blog to user submissions, which is not only a great way to broaden your content pool, but engages with your audience on a deeper level.

Tumblr’s structure is inherently social, too. Consider these attributes as outlined by Social Media Examiner: “Users choose to follow other Tumblr blogs that appear in their dashboards 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.”

The cons

It’s not all sunshine and rainbows, people. As great as Tumblr is, it’s not for everyone. And that goes for every social media platform.

There’s a common mindset that brands and businesses that engage in the social space need to be on every site. That’s not true. Some sites, whether it’s their focus, layout, audience or something else, aren’t a good fit for your brand. That’s important to recognize. In fact, it’s just as important as embracing the social sites that do make sense.

A typical Tumblr audience skews younger than that of other social media platforms, so if your business won’t be relevant to this group, you may want to focus your attention elsewhere.

Because Tumblr posts tend to be highly visual, ensure you have an adequate supply of high-quality photos and/or videos before you start to post. Photo apps like Instagram and Hipstamatic make it easier to take eye-catching photos and post them across a variety of platforms, including Tumblr.

Tumblr may be easy to use, but it offers less control over site customization. If you know HTML—or someone who does—you can modify existing Tumblr themes by adding widgets and other features, but you won’t have the flexibility and array of themes that a site like WordPress has. Tumblr blogs can’t be self-hosted, so you’re at the mercy of the site—and its somewhat frequent outages.

Success stories

What do Kate Spade, Barack Obama, the Los Angeles Times, Huggies and Doctors Without Borders have in common? They all maintain successful Tumblr blogs that share a variety of content to spread each brand’s message and engage a wider audience.

When you start to explore Tumblr, the opportunities are endless. Tumblr is an ideal outlet to share a new side of your business, convey a message, encourage viral content, and more.

If you’re in the business of selling—aren’t we all?—you may not necessarily need to immediately convert your audience to purchases. Instead, build brand recognition and loyalty so your brand is at the forefront of someone’s mind when he or she needs your products or services.

The great thing about Tumblr is its versatility. If you’re considering Tumblr for your business, think about how you will incorporate the site and its features into your existing content strategy. Just as you would with other blogging platforms, take some time to plan your first few posts to ensure you’re using the platform to its full potential.

Does your business use Tumblr? If so, I’d love to hear about your experience.

Shelly Kramer is the CEO of V3 Integrated Marketing. A version of this article originally appeared on the V3 Integrated Marketing blog.

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