Tumblr was founded in 2007, just a year after Twitter and 3 years after Facebook. But for some reason, it took the micro blogging platform a bit longer to gain traction with users. Some studies show that the site has now eclipsed Facebook in popularity, and in 2013 it was the second fastest growing global social network. Now, I’m not here to theorize why Tumblr took so long to become popular among users and brands, however, I am here to tell you that some brands use the platform brilliantly.
Tumblr is still more millennial-centric, whereas Twitter and Facebook have eclipsed any age-specific demographic and are being used by all age groups. The micro blogging website is perfect for disseminating bite-sized bits of information, which is key since people now have a lower average attention span than goldfish. I really wish I were joking about the last part of that sentence.
A Customizable Platform
In a way, and in my opinion, Tumblr combines the best parts of Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube into one comprehensive and completely customizable platform. It pulls from the quick information stream and combines this with the shareable popularity of gifs, images and video clips.
Brands that seek to provide a truly on-brand experience for users will be pleased with Tumblr. There are templates to choose from on the website, or you can find thousands of free ones elsewhere online. If you’re super savvy, you can even build your own HTML-based template incorporating your own brand colors, logos, etc. This gives Tumblr a huge advantage over Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, whose platforms are historically limiting with regard to presenting a unique brand look and feel.
Sharing the Love
Tumblr is designed, as all social platforms are, to share content. But where on Facebook you might post the results to your latest BuzzFeed quiz and a few people comment on it, no one is going to re-share that information. This is, again, where Tumblr does exceedingly well. Tumblr users are much more likely to share content, and keep it relevant for longer, which means that branded content is going to reach a larger, albeit specific audience.
This is where the notion of “content is king” comes in: users will share content that is relevant, useful and/or interesting to them, without even thinking that they are indirectly promoting a particular brand or product. So make sure your content is up to snuff before you venture into the Tumblr world.
Jumping Into Tumblr
How will I know if Tumblr is right for my brand? If you answered yes to any or all of the following questions:
- Is your target market (or one of them) Gen Z and/or Millennials? Over half of the sites users belong to these generations.
- Do you have strong content that is relevant and would compel people to share and engage with it? Make sure your content is aesthetically pleasing and provides added value to users.
- Do you willingly and actively engage with your customers and potential future customers? In a world that is increasingly reliant on a social sphere, it is important to keep the conversation going and avoid being one-sided on the part of the consumer.
Tumblr is an emerging platform that can help build brand loyalty if used in the following ways:
- Make sure your Tumblr is on-brand. This may seem like a no-brainer but if there is disconnect it will make your brand appear less trustworthy.
- Keep your posts short and sweet. Make sure your content is easily digestible or a user will quickly move on.
- Post lots of images/gifs/videos. But only if they are relevant to your brand. Not all brands belong on Tumblr, but the ones that do should share more visual content that stands alone or links to additional information.
Strutting Their Stuff on the Tumblr Catwalk
Some brands use Tumblr extremely well. They just “get it.” In order to offer up a nice comparison and in the spirit of Fall Fashion Weeks around the world, we’ll take a look at all fashion-related blogs: Target, Ann Taylor, Kate Spade, OscarPRGirl and Alexander McQueen.
The Target style blog features looks showcasing one particular item and different ways to wear it, tips for dressing for a themed party and gift ideas – all keeping with the upcoming holidays and season changes. They also highlight style bloggers’ outfits that use Target clothing, shoes and accessories. Through this, Target shows their relevance in fashion and provide added value by giving their readers tips and tricks on how to achieve coveted looks and overall style.
The Ann Taylor Tumblr is sleek, clean and modern with retro elegant touches, which perfectly sums up the brand and their clothing. Designed for a more mature style palette, the blog still offers up advice on 3 Ways to Wear a Crepe Moto Jacket, Ann Taylor blogger stories and fashion advice from some of the top costume designers. Coupled with impactful images and short but detailed captions, this blog does fashion, and their brand, extremely well.
When you think Kate Spade you usually think bright colors, vibrant patterns and a classy overall style that is iconic. The Kate Spade Tumblr features a row of 4 images with corresponding captions, which are then staggered down throughout the rest of the blog. The captions often ask questions to encourage user engagement and the brand does a good job of incorporating appropriate hashtags to help spread their content across not only Tumblr but also other platforms that use hashtags, like Twitter and Facebook.
The very first thing that drew me in to the OscarPRGirl blog (Oscar de la Renta) was how sleek and chic it was in appearance. Combining behind-the-scenes snapshots of Fashion Week with sketches and inspiration and a few slight sales/marketing pushes, OscarPRGirl uses very short captions that still get the point across. There’s a saying that goes something like “fashion fades but style is forever” and the style inspiration shown on this blog is exceptional and nicely complements the classic fashion house.
Alexander McQueen takes an entirely different approach to their Tumblr page by masking it as an e-commerce site. The haute couture label is targeting a younger audience with its McQ line, and appropriately using Tumblr as the platform. Featuring more affordable pieces for a younger audience, the blog takes a clean, no-fuss user-friendly approach to market and contrast nicely to their lines of bold, statement-making clothing, bags, shoes, accessories and jewelry.
Don’t Forget the Do Nots
Now that you know what some of the most successful fashion Tumblr blogs do well, let’s take a look at what you should avoid doing on Tumblr (whether you are a fashion brand or not):
- Don’t be afraid of posting too much. Use your best judgment, but there is a high posting frequency, similar to Twitter, so users are less likely to be annoyed. One caveat: if there is an event of some sorts (like any of the Fashion Weeks, for example) and you are a brand in that industry, I would encourage you to post more during that time, and shortly after, to build your brand loyalty and keep your name out there as relevant and trustworthy.
- Don’t forget that fans/users/customers/whatever you choose to classify them as – are people. Keep the human interaction element top of mind with everything you do. Ask yourself if what you are posting will bring added value to someone viewing it. This will ensure a very real connection on their behalf to your brand and that brand attachment is worth its weight in gold.
- Have fun. People like to escape life by using social media, so keep your posts upbeat and offer users a glimpse into an alternate and interesting brand world. Make their experience fully immersive and you might find yourself with a lifelong brand advocate.
Do You Tumblr?
What do you like about Tumblr? If you’re a fan of this mirco blogging platform, we’d love to hear what brands you follow and what content gets you engaged.