(i’m at the bottom, forum-style :D)
Hmmm. “For business” is a bit broad. The post makes a good case that Tumblr is a great way to reach consumers — especially those of particular demographics.
The B2B example of AMEX’s open forum, though, seems a little thin. The site looks great…but I couldn’t find a single post that cracked double digits with likes. Are they really achieving reach and engagement that warrants the investment?
I’m a contributor to a B2B-focused blog, and I’m farrrrrr from convinced that Tumblr is truly the best core channel for that content.
Myth #1: Tumblr isn’t for businesses
When you hear the word Tumblr, what do you think of? GIFs, or maybe a site for teens? Those things might be part of Tumblr, but Tumblr is so much more than these and other myths that surround it. Tumblr is rapidly becoming a great social platform for brands and businesses. In 2012, Tumblr broke into the top 10 sites in the U.S., and has a worldwide audience of 170 million people; it’s not just a virtual version of the mall where teens hang out to exchange moving pictures. It’s a place where your customers - or potential customers - spend a lot of their time interacting with other Tumblr users. You should be part of that conversation.
One thing is for sure, you can’t put anything past Tim. He makes some good points so let me clarify…
We started off the debunking series with this post to make it very clear that there is value for the right kind of business to be using Tumblr. If you’re a business that’s trying to reach consumers between the ages of 18 and 34 and you’re not either listening on Tumblr or actively engaging, then I’d say you’re being negligent.
Now, about B2B… I’d agree that from a social network perspective, Tumblr’s not ready for prime time as a B2B marketing platform. It hasn’t reached total market penetration like FB or captured the mass-media zeitgeist like Twitter. One of the things that makes Tumblr unique, though, is that it combines a great blogging platform with a large and active social network. Even if the (current) demographic makeup of the social network part of Tumblr doesn’t lend itself to B2B focus, this combo means that you can use it as a publishing tool for B2B efforts and still reap the benefit of some social amplification as a bonus. You really don’t have to chose. But you also might just be surprised at what communities you find among its 80MM users.
Word. Even for b2b, you have nothing to lose, and everything to gain.
But let’s dig into some stuff. :D
Is it really less engagement?
Tumblr gets judged more skeptically than other social platforms. I went over and looked at Amex Open Forum’s twitter account. With nearly 200,000 followers, none of the recent tweets “cracked double digits” (criteria used above) even in sum(!) of RT/faves/@’s per tweet.
That doesn’t seem like underperformance, coz we’ve internalized it: Twitter is a no-brainer business decision. We just do it.
(This is no way a criticism of Twitter. I love Twitter, just trying to keep it apple:apples.)
Now what I’m about to say is something I’m always careful about talking about publicly, for fear of abuse by spammers, but what the heck:
In terms of SEO, Tumblr blows all other major social platforms out of the water. Links inside Tumblr posts are dofollow. You can’t say that about Twitter or G+. And without spelling it out, there are other parts of Tumblr, which create very awesome backlink/social gravity situations. (sorry spammers, not gonna draw a diagram)
Also, it’s just easier to get a Tumblr follower (subscriber) than it is to get an RSS subscriber, even accounting for the “suits-aren’t-on-Tumblr” factor. (suits aren’t big on RSS, either.) Plus you don’t give up the option of RSS subscribers. You can still use it. You can even use Feedburner.
I guess the thing about Tumblr is that you’re giving up very little in terms of control (you can do a custom theme, custom widgets, custom DNS, custom comment systems), and you gain a buncha innate social gestures (same as any other social platform).
When we discuss whether Tumblr is good for b2b, it seems irrelevent: For somebody not on Tumblr, The fact that a public-facing blog happens to be a Tumblr, is invisible. (unlike other social platforms which are hard to navigate, even in logged-out/read-only mode, something Tumblr is wonderful at.)
Anything Tumblr does is gravy. Anything Tumblr doesn’t do, is what your self-hosted, self-managed blog likely doesn’t do, either.
If everybody else agrees with you, the awesome window of advantage is over already.
While I love Tumblr, and use it on projects all the time, I completely understand if folks don’t wanna use it. Plus, frankly, that just extends the window of time when it remains easier for the rest of us.
Let’s think of Twitter a few years ago. When every new follow wasn’t scrutinized for being porn bot, when folks were less skeptical, less numb, more likely to follow back. Remember a time before spammers forced Twitter to go hard with the rate limits, catching innocent folks up in “Twitter Jail” dragnets. :D
That window has closed. Twitter is still great, but certain things are harder now. Especially the assumption of goodwill.
Differential Value. Extract it.
There’s an econ concept called, “Differential Value.” That’s what you get from doing something in the window of time before something is just taken for granted as a common business process. (It’s also a risk. Because maybe it’s not a common business practice because it’s stupid. :D)
This is where we are with Tumblr. In the window of Differential Value.
It could be a total waste of time. Or it could be the most optimal time ever to jump in before it gets gnarly. :D