It’s Tumblr Time! 10 Tips For Using Tumblr To Market Your Small Business

Yesterday was a big day in Yahoo‘s quest to remain relevant. They purchased Tumblr for $1.1 billion and significantly revamped Flickr. And in buying Tumblr, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer promised its millions of users that they wouldn’t “screw it up.”

Tumblr users are full of fear over the acquisition, but Forbes has a number of reasons why Yahoo + Tumblr will be good for users.

So, what is Tumblr and what made it worth that hefty chunk of change? Tumblr is a microblogging platform, but it’s not like Twitter. You can write long posts, short posts, or just post pictures, audio or video, and if someone else likes what you’ve posted, they will “reblog” the post to their own blog. Their followers will see the post and if they like it, they’ll also reblog it, and so on.

When a Tumblr user follows you, all of your posts appear on their Dashboard. They scroll through, look at all their followers’ posts and reblog what they really like.

There are no comments by default on Tumblr posts (though some Tumblr themes offer Disqus integration). If users want to say something about a post, they can reblog it and add their own text to the end of the post. The bottom of a Tumblr post will frequently have a discussion unfolding:

So as you can see, Tumblr has built-in engagement and built-in viral potential. It’s very, very easy for something to go viral as it’s just two clicks for a reader to share your post with their followers. But is Tumblr worth $1.1 Billion dollars? Well, Tumblr just may be worth the money because of how active and engaged their community of users is. And then add in the fact that the users love Tumblr. It’s not like Facebook, where a lot of users don’t really care for the way things are run at the top and are constantly annoyed by privacy changes. Tumblr users love Tumblr.

When it comes to marketing, if you’ve done any marketing on Pinterest, you have a leg up. The same sorts of things that work well on Pinterest work well on Tumblr. Let’s get into it:

  1. Be visual. Animated GIFs, and funny or interesting pictures are a great way to get out there. If you have a visually interesting product, a well-designed, beautiful product, or a way to integrate your product into something that makes it topical or humourous (preferably both), that’s the way to go. Tumblr loves cats, Benedict Cumberbatch, Game of Thrones, Harry Potter, etc. To recap: Be beautiful, animated, or funny, or all three.
  2. Use Tags. This is key to getting found. If you’re using something topical, tag it. If you’re posting a well-designed product, tag it ‘design,’ or ‘art.’ If you’re posting about your ad firm, tag it ‘advertising.’ If you’re posting about Benedict Cumberbatch, tag your post ‘Benedict Cumberbatch.’ But remember: only the first five tags count. If your sixth tag is ‘chicken,’ anyone searching for ‘chicken’ will not find your post. Tags just stop working for those purposes after the fifth, so choose five tags very wisely.
  3. Reblog others. Engage with others on Tumblr by liking and responding to their posts. It’s quite difficult for Tumblr blogs to gain any traction without reblogging as much as they blog.
  4. Be new and fascinating. The major business successes on Tumblr are actually news organizations or magazines like the New York Times Style Magazine and Rolling Stone. Publications that are posting pictures, news and article excerpts. In addition to the frivolous content I mentioned in the first tip, people on Tumblr also like to share the news, and interesting trivia.
  5. Focus on a niche. You don’t necessarily have to, but it helps! You could blog about specific kinds of software, electronics, or tips related to your service business.
  6. Post smart. Tumblr’s using skew young, so the best times to post are before 7 AM (before school/work), around noon, and before suppertime.
  7. If you want analytics, you’ll have to find them elsewhere. If you want to know who is visiting your Tumblr, you’ll have to install Google Analytics or something similar, because Tumblr doesn’t have any analytics features or hit counters.
  8. Keep it short and sweet. A blog post like the one you’re reading is rare on Tumblr. Short posts are the most rebloggable. Pictures and GIFs are even better.
  9. Connect. There is an option to automatically tweet a link to your Tumblr post upon publication. Connect your Twitter and your Facebook and anything else to your Tumblr. You want your potential customers to be able to see your content everywhere.
  10. Don’t be a dashboard-to-dashboard salesperson. As I said in this article about social media marketing, you must be tactful in your foray into social media. You don’t want potential customers thinking you’re invading their social space with unwanted and unsolicited advertisement. Wrapping your message in a palatable wrapper is difficult, but it pays off big. Look at K-Mart’s Ship My Pants campaign. The ad’s been seen over 17 million times, and it’s because they used humor to educate their audience on their business’s newest features. It was all over Tumblr.

Are you on Tumblr? I am! Post a link to your Tumblr in the comments! And let us know what you think about Yahoo’s latest acquisition!

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Vincenzo Ravina is a writer, journalist and giraffe enthusiast from Halifax, Nova Scotia. You can learn more at his website,, or follow him on Twitter at @RavinaSBT.

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