Tumblr is the big name in social media news this week. Its acquisition by Yahoo! has been a hot topic and marketers are beginning to take notice. In the shadows of Facebook and Twitter, Tumblr has been able to cultivate a strong community of avid followers. The ever-changing world of social media has begun to drive marketers to find multiple platforms to reach their audience in a more creative way. “Marketers are definitely looking to other social networks beyond Facebook,” said a spokesman for eMarketer to the New York Post, “not because Facebook is ineffective but because the digital audience is more fragmented than ever before.” Tumblr may be a lesser rival to Facebook, but it’s just as powerful a marketing tool.
Tumblr defines itself to be a platform that “let’s you effortlessly share anything.” Users are able to create original content or reblog posts that include text, photos, videos and music. The site may not be fully understood by brands, but its massive community can become a large asset to them. Business 2 Community reports that Tumblr consists of more than 107.5 million blogs and 50.5 billion user-generated posts, including more than 70 million news posts that appear every day. This isn’t surprising since Tumblr users are known for their fandoms. They constantly perpetuate a love for television shows, fashion brands, and other consumer products–a jackpot for brands.
Fashion brands and media outlets have found success on the blogging site. Luxury brands such as Oscar de la Renta have found a home in Tumblr. In fact, 20% of posts on Tumblr are concern with fashion on a daily basis. Mass market brands like J. Crew are also taking advantage of the site. Fashion brands typically post photos of their latest collections, while media outlets often post more accessible content such as cartoons according to AdAge. Tumblr is comprised of strong visuals that entice users to click the re-blog button. The re-blogging of posts creates a certain virality that can be compared to wildfire. If a post is visually strong, it can reach thousands in a matter of minutes. Each re-blog results in an expansion of a brand’s audience and awareness.
Users re-blog things that personify them. The connection with a brand leads to engagement and interaction with a follower, who is effectively saying to peers “I identify with this brand.” According to AdAge, some believe that Tumblr’s core value for a brand is the ability to connect with its audience on a more intimate level. Digital director for All Day Every Day Philip Leif Bjerknes states,”I think you can communicate in a very rich way for your audience — in a way that seems much more in brand and in character than a Twitter or a Facebook. I’d also say the content feels a little less disposable.” Brands can be more “tongue-in-cheek” on Tumblr than other platforms. The ability to have a strong brand personality shine through on a more intimate level fosters stronger connections with consumers and leads to sales.
According to Digiday, a brand that excels at Tumblr is actually financial giant American Express. AmEx has an online community for business owners called OPEN Forum, which is on Tumblr. Posts directly from OPEN Forum share the space with others from around the web that blog curators believe will appeal to followers. The content is organized into categories with searchable tags. Whether scrolling through the main page or the different categories, the information is presented to followers in a flowing format. All content is easily accessible and made relevant for its audience. AmEx also seems to make sure that an image accompanies each post to draw attention and present relevant information. On the left, the dog sitting at the computer creates the initial attraction to a post on steps to start your own business. AmEx may not be the most visually-driven brand, but they’ve managed to become that on Tumblr and procured a spot in Digiday’s top 5 brands on the site.
A wise move for brands to look into Tumblr, Yahoo already has. Buying the site for $1.1 billion this week, Yahoo is seeking to shift its appeal to a younger demographic. So, does Yahoo’s acquisition make Tumblr even more appealing to brands? AdAge speculates that it will. ”What makes Tumblr such an attractive acquisition is it has so much credibility among this audience that Yahoo and others are seeking — this 18-to-24 sweet spot,” said Ming Linsley, MEC‘s senior director of social media.
Tumblr can be a valuable asset to a brand. It has the ability to open new pathways to consumers in an increasingly visual world. Tumblr is out there, waiting for your brand to harness its marketing power.
Today, it is not enough to just have a great product. You have to humanize your brand and create lasting relationships among your consumer base.
Aliza Licht, SVP of Global Communications at Donna Karen, humanizes the brand brilliantly. She is the woman behind DKNY PR GIRL on Twitter and has managed to make the DKNY brand feel like an actual person. I found myself wanting to buy every piece of DKNY clothing, even though she sometimes talks more about ABC’s Scandal than the actual brand. Still, she has cultivated a loyal DKNY online community of close to 500,000 followers. In a recent TEDxTalk, Licht addresses “The Power of Being Real.” She says that the people she interacts with on Twitter are not followers, but friends. These friends embraced her when she revealed her true self on Twitter, despite her fears of being rejected. The fact that she was a real and not just a brand resonated with her followers.
Being real doesn’t just apply to us, it applies to all businesses. The human touch is more powerful and compelling than most ads you will find out there. First off, we know consumers look and listen more to their peers when it comes to making a purchase decision than the brand itself. By humanizing your brand, you become more of a peer among your consumers, thus more influential.
So you’re on Facebok, but every brand belongs on Twitter. Twitter is your new BFF, no matter what industry you’re in. Turn up the romance and start getting cozy with this social network. Once you’ve lit the fires of love, develop a set personality for your brand. After all, every human has one and so should you. Social Media Today poses these questions: Who are you? What are you? Are you serious? Are you funny? Are you a combination of both? What is the tone of your conversations? The tone of your educational material? Social media is not for those who want to remain hidden in the shadows like an over-hyped vampire. It welcomes every person on the social network to come on it and see you at face value. You are exposed to the online world and you cannot hide. A set personality that best reflects your brand is your ultimate asset and weapon.
According to Social Media Today, Jon Iwata, Senior Vice President (Marketing and Communications) at IBM, stated, “We don’t try to manage the IBM brand. We try to manage our character as a business. And we’ve never defined IBM by what we’re selling.” Being human yourself, do you only talk about your business? Probably not. You shouldn’t do this with your brand either. For example, JonO is the epitome of a BzzAgent- chatty, informative and influential.
On Twitter and Facebook, JonO is an actual person but he still represents our brand. He mostly posts quirky and unique tidbits of information, but that’s exactly how we are here! With 90,000 “Likes ” on the BzzAgent Facebook page, JonO has 8,300 people talking about BzzAgent right now. That’s over 9%, and that’s often up around 15%. It’s an amazing level of engagement considering AdAge reports that brands only see about 1.3% engagement on Facebook. Obviously, you will need to talk about your business on social media, but adding those off topic pieces allows you to be more human and connect to your audience in a different way like JonO has.
The relationships that result from humanizing your brand are one of the most important products from this process. Cultivating relationships with your consumer base can lead to long-term loyalty and sales. Social Media Today wants you to remember that real people are behind those Facebook posts and Twitter handles. Engage with your consumers everyday. Respond to tweets inquiring about something or just to thank the person for showing their loyalty. The connections you make with your consumers now will be a valuable asset for the future.
Humanizing your brand is the next step you need to take in social media. Become not only a brand to your consumers, but a friend.