It's clear from the popularity of sites like Pinterest and Instagram that visual components of a social media campaign are growing in importance. It's rarely enough to just have good content on a social media site; you need to have the visual aspects taken care of, too.
Tumblr, a social blogging site, combines visual features with the ability to publish written posts. Sharing is quick and easy, and works just like Pinterest. It popular with young adults, popular culture fan bases, and bloggers looking for a more visual approach (Texts with Dog is hosted through Tumblr). The question is, is there a place on the site for small businesses?
That depends on a couple things. Different people have different opinions. There are nearly as many people supporting Tumblr for small business use as there are advising against it. It really depends on your goals for reaching your audience, and whether or not that audience is on Tumblr.
There are certain niches that aren't well represented on Tumblr, and with good reason. To be popular on Tumblr, you need that visual element. As such, you won't find much if you do a search for SEO or marketing. What you will find, however, is local florists, chefs, designers, and other artists sharing their work and work by others.
There is a certain demographic that uses Tumblr. There are a lot of older teens and young adults, and if that's what your market is, Tumblr might be worth a second look. It can be a great way to reach an audience that you aren't already reaching.
There are some benefits to using Tumblr that work well for small businesses. Unlike traditional blogs, there's almost no set-up required to get started. There's also a built-in community, and it doesn't take much effort to build up a following. Also, a good post can spread across hundreds of users within a day or two. That means a lot of exposure for your business.
How you use the site is what determines whether or not you'll be successful. If you run a cupcake business, share a couple of your favorite recipes (along with pictures of the completed cupcake). If you sell art, feature some of your best work. Link back to your own website for people to learn more about a particular print. The best way for a small businesses to use Tumblr is as a way to make connections, gain exposure, and direct traffic back to your site.
Tumblr can be a great tool. The downside is that, like any other area of internet marketing, you can't get on Tumblr and expect to build your business on there alone. It can be great for increasing exposure, but it won't replace a website, actual blog, or other social media activities. It's really just one more avenue to explore while building recognition and support for your business.
If you're already a Tumblr member, do you use it to follow any businesses? Would you consider trying Tumblr for your own business?