If social media platforms were the teen comedy of the ’80s, Tumblr would be the weirdo-but-cool-kid. You know one. Seemingly unapproachable but actually very nice. They feed on niche interests and the jokes they make. Plus, he has impeccable taste in music and clothes (just not the kind of music and clothes you think you can get away with). From 2007 to the end of 2010, Tumblr had a corner on the alternative social media market. They lost their way for a while, but it’s clear that Tumblr is back with an understanding of what its audience wants and a willingness to execute on.
Welcome back 🙂https://t.co/ixbAwSlMkB pic.twitter.com/9sNyCMlsX4
— tumblr dot com website and app (@tumblr) November 14, 2022
the tumbler returns
Tumblr still feels like a relic of a different time. The platform’s interface hasn’t essentially changed since 2010. But that’s exactly what people like. The reverse chronological feed is the anti-algorithm—you only see what you’ve followed and basically nothing else. Tumblr feels free.
In a world where platforms are more and more defined by the type of content you use and create—Twitter is for text, TikTok and YouTube are for video, Instagram is for everything—Tumblr’s environment The post invites diversity. You can see GIF next to text post next to a picture. And users—especially younger users—are responding to that freedom. Of the 135 million monthly users who visit the microblog site, 48% are Gen Z. This number could be even bigger now, as there was a 96% increase in Tumblr adoption between October 27, 2022, and November 17, 2022.
Tumblr is one of the last bastions of the wilderness on the internet, and I spend actual hours here making stuff and talking to people and looking at what other people have made.
The enthusiasm for Tumblr is spilling over to other platforms. According to Sprout Social’s listening tool, between October 4, 2022 and November 17, 2022, there were over one million tweets about Tumblr.
With all that renewed interest in Tumblr, marketers may want to consider the platform for their social strategy. But before brands can decide whether Tumblr is right for them, they need to understand the specifics of the platform.
Tumblr’s impact on culture
If other platforms are defined by their content type, Tumblr is defined by its culture. Social media platforms are inherently cultural experiences but Tumblr feels different. Twitter is known for spicy quote tweet response while Instagram is known for aesthetically pleasing grids. But Tumblr is known for being weird, with very few rules about content type or subject matter.
Facilities like reblogging let viral inside jokes that make no sense out of context—and sometimes make little sense with the context. The result is a strange, but enjoyable, fever-dream-esque experience. Tumblr as a brand has completely pivoted to where its audience has taken the stage.
providing information to the uninvited
Tumblr loves to poke fun at itself. The site’s users have affectionately nicknamed Tumblr the “Hell Site” due to its chaotic nature. Instead of making changes to the platform to prevent chaos, Tumblr recognized that its users wanted more of it and were willing to deliver. The platform is so devoted to its culture that it created a blog called “Hellsight High” for new users to learn how to assimilate and contribute to the culture. The Tip blog covers everything from best practices to keyboard shortcuts to avoid burnout. It’s just the type of tongue-in-cheek content that has made Tumblr a cult favorite.
Tumblr: Your Favorite Liminal Space https://t.co/WzAvUweEF3
— tumblr dot com website and app (@tumblr) November 13, 2022
absurdity on sale now
It’s hard to imagine retailing products for most social media platforms. But Tumblr is not most platforms. Users of Tumblr not only love the content that the site provides, but they also love the site itself. Tumblr is monetizing the devotion of its users with an online store.
Some products lean into inside jokes, like a pair of shoelaces with an extraterrestrial reference — a staple fandom on the platform. Others, like physical verification pins, mock common social features that don’t exist on Tumblr. There are also products that comment on the status of Tumblr, such as a bandana sold that says “I grew up on Tumblr” or a branded notebook that reads “Welcome Back to Wear” on the back. These products are absurd, but so is the platform. It works somehow.
— Stardust & Melancholy (@MelancholyPhoto) November 14, 2022
A Guide to Tumblr Marketing
If you’re a marketer, you’re probably wondering how you can take advantage of Tumblr’s returns. The answer is a bit complicated. Tumblr can be an excellent opportunity for the right brand but it has to be meaningful to you. Here are some tips for marketing on Tumblr.
Evaluate Whether Tumblr Marketing Is Right for Your Business
Tumblr has never been known for its moderation. Their method relies on user tags for posts that may offend, such as nudity or sensitive topics. That being said, brands need to seriously re-evaluate their risk tolerance with Tumblr. Even if your posts are clean, the reverse chronological algorithm means they may appear in your viewers’ feeds as something more obvious. Tumblr is best for flamboyant brands with a more relaxed consideration of brand safety, who won’t be negatively affected by such engagement.
Brands should also evaluate whether their audience is on Tumblr as well. Tumblr’s audience is younger and more alternative. Fandom content, cult favorite products, clothing lines, and specific interests will work best on Tumblr. If you’re selling luxury jewelry or baby products, your social strategy may work better elsewhere.
Organic Posts Are The Secret To Tumblr Marketing
Tumblr has never been good at ads. They’re clumsy and because not all brands fit the Tumblr aesthetic, they’ve never been a big driver of revenue for the company. The platform also launched a premium ad-free subscription in early 2022, which means power users won’t even see your ads. Which means your organic post should be perfect.
Tumblr’s unique approach to the algorithm means that your followers will see more of your posts than on other platforms, making it the perfect place for organic posts. When you add in the post type freedom that Tumblr is known for, it’s a winning marketing combination.
But be careful. Tumblr users are some of the most discerning social media users — and consumers rank authenticity as the second most important factor to them on social. They spend a lot of time online and see a lot of advertisements. If the content is not authentic and interesting, they will be able to view it properly. Spend time on your Tumblr social strategy to make sure it resonates.
Enjoy Your Tumblr Marketing
Tumblr is weird. And that makes it fun. Tumblr is not the place for button-up ads or HD product visuals. Tumblr is the place to have fun with your marketing. get weird. Reblog slightly unrelated posts that your audience might enjoy. This is an opportunity to put your brand personality first and your product line second. Who knows, you might just become the next viral inside joke.
Emerging (and re-emerging) platforms
Social media is unpredictable. Most people would have said that Tumblr has the potential for a Napster comeback, but things keep changing. As marketers, we need to be aware of those changes and be ready to change strategy at once – when it makes sense. Evaluating whether an emerging platform is right for you is difficult, but it is an important aspect of your social media strategy.
Want to learn more about the new platform? Check out this article about BeReal.
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