Who Is Using Tumblr?
With 190 million blogs and 83 billion posts, Tumblr's approximately 47 million monthly users are an active bunch. They're also a young crowd, with approximately 50% of users under the age of 24. It also skews slightly to more female users. If your target audience is young, educated people with disposable income, take notice!
What if that's not your ideal demographic? Companies like IBM are rocking Tumblr with their blog, A Smarter Planet. They use photos (great for Tumblr) but also brief text-only thought provoking updates that get fantastic engagement. The New Yorker, Newsweek and Lexus also have great Tumblr blogs, and they're certainly not of interest to Millenials only. So what are these big names in tech, luxury automobiles, and media getting out of Tumblr?
What are the Potential Benefits of Using Tumblr in Your Marketing?
Tumblr users spend between 12 and 16 minutes (depending on the report you read) on the site per visit, more than any of the other major social sites. They spend their time reading, sharing (reblogging) and clicking through to read more or purchase something. So, if your audience is there and you can make a success of your Tumblr blog, you can expect more traffic to your website, more brand recognition and even increased sales.
Pinning down just how much traffic websites can expect to generate from Tumblr is difficult. The most direct answer we found was "Pinterest and Twitter both drive more visits" than Tumblr.
The benefits in terms of SEO are a little more clear. In the beginning, all links on Tumblr were "dofollow" meaning they passed link credit on to your website. Now, however, judging by the most recent information, you get a backlink that "counts" only when you share your content as a link from the content bar. More backlinks = more traffic.
How to Generate Website Traffic with Tumblr
Since images tend to get better engagement (including click-throughs) than text or links, you'll want to use great pictures. However, we just discussed the fact that the only "dofollow" links are those created when you click on the "link" option in the content bar - and that does pull in an image - albeit a smaller one.
So, you'll need to decide which you want to attempt - building overall SEO traffic with links, or building Tumblr referrals from click-throughs. You might want to try a little of both! Of course, at the beginning, when you don't have many followers, it may be to your advantage to share links. Once you build up your following, start trying for better engagement by posting images.
When you post an image and are counting on more click-throughs for your traffic boost, post something eye-catching (obviously!). Also, try an image that is longer than it is wide because it takes up more room on the feed. To attract more click-throughs put text on your image to tell readers what the attached page has to offer. Make your description thorough, but don't copy in an entire blog post as published on your main blog.
Whatever your strategy, use what Tumblr gives you - namely, plenty of space for a detailed description and hashtags. Just try a Tumblr search to see how important they are to discovery. And remember, almost everyone is sharing their content on the big networks - Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest. You may find an early-adopter advantage on Tumblr!
Always Remember the Tumblr Mindset
Tumblrs are mainly used for discovery and self-expression. Appeal to that, and you'll have plenty of activity on your Tumblr and back at your website. Tumblr itself suggests, "Tell your story through pictures, animation, text, music, video, and more."
You'll notice many of the larger brands use blogs with a very narrow focus, like the "A Smarter Planet" blog from GM, or Ford's "Escape My Life" Tumblr which contributed to a staggering 1.5 million visits for that particular campaign. You might consider having a blog with all your articles and one for just your opinion pieces (since Tumblr is a great place for edgy content) and additional pages on each blog for the most popular posts.
Like so many marketing channels, Tumblr success may be a matter of trial and error for you. Remember that all of social media requires a long-term commitment to consistency. We want to know - do you use Tumblr for your business?