I came upon an interesting article today on Mashable about how brands could gain more awareness on Tumblr. My first thought was brands use Tumblr? Not really, I know that they do. I also know that there was some controversy about this earlier this month because Tumblr was charging exorbitant advertising fees to fashion companies during fashion week. Tumblr has been the go to social media site for the fashion industry with good cause as the format suits editorial and runway photography. Seeing Mashable’s guide today made me wonder if Tumblr is a very valuable tool for social media marketing?
If you are looking to major brands for advice on how to conduct social media marketing efforts you won’t find a lot of answers on the Tumblr front. Most larger brands (use Coca-Cola as an example) have two social media buttons on their webpages: Facebook and Twitter. Sometimes there will be an additional button which will lead you to their blog or allow you to subscribe to their RSS feed (Coca-Cola still has a button to their MySpace page). It is not hard to see why these two sites are two of the most visited sites on the web so it just makes sense for brands to be there and many brands are expected to be there.
Tumblr, however, is reserved for the artsier more fashion-forward crowd. According to Quantcast their primary traffic comes from users who are young (13 to 34) with no college experience who make very little money. Since there is no demographic information for “Some college” experience I will infer that the majority of Tumblr users are college students who have yet to graduate or are at their first jobs. This means that brands using Tumblr are probably serving an aspirational or artistic need in users as opposed to an intent to purchase. In short, Tumblr is so popular in the fashion industry (and works so well there) because these young people are likely to spread around media and set trends but don’t actually have the buying power to provide conversions for these companies. I can’t afford any of the clothes in Vogue but I buy it anyway and paste the pictures all over my walls and the people on Tumblr use the site in a very similar fashion. So, any brand hoping to generate leads through social media should probably put their time elsewhere like on one of the higher traffic sites.