When people talk about social media marketing, Tumblr isn’t always mentioned. But that doesn’t mean this social network and multimedia blogging platform doesn’t have value. Before you dive in and try Tumblr for yourself, read this guide to learn what exactly it is, how to use it and how your business can reach Tumblr’s valuable audience.
Tumblr was launched in 2007 and purchased by Yahoo in 2013. After that, Verizon bought Yahoo in 2017 and thus became Tumblr’s owner. In 2019, Verizon sold Tumblr to Automattic, the company behind WordPress, and Automattic remains Tumblr’s owner today.
Since its inception, Tumblr has grown to host more than 549.5 million blogs, according to the company, and Statista reports it had more than 312 million monthly visits at the start of 2022. What’s the attraction? Compared to some rivals, Tumblr is more than just a place to share life updates, GIFs and pop culture memes. Here, you can write personal or business blog posts and share photos and videos.
Once you sign up for a Tumblr account, you’re prompted to create a blog, as that’s the platform’s main function. All users must have a primary blog, but they can also create secondary blogs. A user might have a personal blog as their primary one while having secondary blogs dedicated to promoting their photography business, for example. The reverse is a great option too.
It’s easy to get acclimated to Tumblr’s dashboard. To the right of the search bar is a row of buttons. The “Explore” button, which looks like a compass, takes you to trending posts. The “Inbox” icon to the right is for private messages. Next are the “Messages” tab for instant chat, the “Activity” tab for notifications, and your account settings. All the way to the right is the “New Post” button for creating a text, photo, quote, link, chat, audio or video post.
There are seven types of blog posts on Tumblr that function similarly to templates.
Once you create a post, you can publish it right away, post it to your queue, schedule it for later, save it as a draft or post it privately so only you have access. The Tumblr queue is similar to scheduling your posts for later, except Tumblr decides when to post them. The queue is a great way to keep an active blog even when you don’t have time to post every day. You can set it so Tumblr automatically publishes a certain number of queued posts in a specific time frame.
Looking to easily share an in-progress Tumblr post with your team before going public? Post it privately and let employees with access to the account take a peek. This way, you can get their feedback before publishing it for the masses.
Below is some common Tumblr jargon you’ll likely encounter as you start navigating the platform.
Tumblr can be a powerful tool for marketing your business and connecting with customers and potential clients, but it has drawbacks too. Below are some of Tumblr’s pros and cons.
Squarespace can help you build a website without obviously revealing that you used some sort of website builder. It may be a better option than Tumblr if you want your website to look professional.
You can use Tumblr to aid your business in the following ways.
Unlike on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, there are many options to customize your blog on Tumblr. There are paid and free themes, or you can create your own. The only limit to what you can do with your page is what you know about web design. Because it’s so easy to customize, some business owners use Tumblr as their company’s website. You can purchase desired URLs that fit your company and redirect them to your Tumblr blog.
“To launch quickly and not invest a whole lot of time and effort into developing a full site, I decided to use Tumblr to build my beta website,” said Jen Refat, founder of Craftic. “It’s incredibly easy to customize. Not only was it easy to develop and launch within a week’s time, [but] the built-in social media functionality has proved really helpful in sharing my content.”
Refat added that Tumblr has a vibrant DIY and craft community, so her posts function as both blog tutorials and promotional posts for fellow crafting enthusiasts.
Taylor Swift is one of Tumblr’s most famous users, with social marketing skills many business owners would envy – and can learn from.
Tumblr offers several options for businesses interested in partnering with the platform for advertising. Among the options are native ad experiences and custom opportunities designed to meet your company’s unique needs. The vendor also has what it refers to as the “Tumblr Creatr Network,” a collective of artists and designers with whom businesses can collaborate on ads.
Like most online platforms, Tumblr has an advertising policy that governs what can and can’t be featured in ads, in accordance with the company’s own “guiding principles” and legal regulations. Among its principles, Tumblr recommends advertisers “be honest to a fault” and creative because “Tumblr users appreciate that.” To get the process started, business owners need only fill out a quick form on Tumblr’s advertising page.
As on other social media platforms, Tumblr’s trending topics page (within the “Explore” section) is full of news and conversation pieces. It showcases the most popular posts, blogs and topics. Take note of what’s doing well on the platform, and find ways to make a posting about those subjects work for your business. Just make sure the topics are relevant to your brand; otherwise, you’ll seem inauthentic and be targeting the wrong audience.
Although Tumblr can’t itself run analytics on your page, it integrates seamlessly with Google Analytics. You can link the two to determine your number of blog visitors and how frequently they’re visiting. Other available analytics include the search terms that pull up your page and the location of your audience. See our beginner’s guide to Google Analytics for more details.
Social media sites like Tumblr and Instagram often get a bad rap for their effects on teens, but these platforms can open surprising doors for companies. For example, check out the unexpected ways Facebook is good for your business.
Tumblr users are very community-oriented. To market to this base, you need to do more than just share relevant posts and use the correct hashtags; you also need to respect the community and become part of it in a way that makes sense for your business. So, before your posts fall into a Tumblr void, here’s what you need to know about the Tumblr family:
To ensure your success as a business on Tumblr, take the time to understand the overall community and find your niche where your brand best fits.
One last tip: Don’t act like a brand. Adopt a personality, making sure it’s relatable and, most importantly, genuine so the Tumblr community respects you. Consumers and brands can maintain humanlike relationships, and Tumblr is one way your business can achieve that.
Max Freedman and Brittney Morgan contributed to the writing and reporting in this article. Source interviews were conducted for a previous version of this article.