by Anna McDermott, Marshall Communications Account Executive

Keeping up with social media platforms can be a bit daunting at times – there are new ones created constantly and favorites like Facebook keep changing how we use them – even professional social media users find themselves asking questions like “What the heck is Tumblr?” Since I found myself wondering what the latest buzz was all about – How should I be using Tumblr? How does it help businesses? Why did some 26 year-old just become a millionaire by selling it to Yahoo? – I set out to answer these questions.

And now, I am in love with Tumblr. First of all, Tumblr is basically a very visual way to micro blog. Instead of being copy-heavy (or even copy-dependant), Tumblr blogs are a fun, often messy jumble of photos, video mash-ups (if you scroll around through Tumblr posts, there are many of these little video clips, each showing a few seconds of something, often with text – they look like live-action photo booth strips) and brief, even Twitter-like, copy.

People can generate their own content or, like a retweet, reblog something they like. A good way to start using Tumblr is by following blogs you like. There are blogs on all subjects, and similar to Pinterest, you can search by subject matter – from comedy to technology and sustainability.

I followed a few of the more popular blogs like Humans Of New York, which had me tearing up within a minute of reading the photo descriptions of New Yorkers, and it was then I began to realize that Tumblr has a useful functionality.

  • We are busy people and Tumblr’s unique, concise platform allows for maximum impact with minimum time commitment.
  • Instagram + Twitter + WordPress = Tumblr. You aren’t relegated to just one form of communication – you can write, or post images or video – which makes for a nice change of pace from other social platforms.
  • Businesses that use Tumblr effectively are able to reach people in a more conversational approach, like Facebook, but in a more editable platform. You can choose from many themes or even create your own so your blog can reflect your brand.
  • Your content can be reblogged by others so, unlike the blogs of yesterday, it has a much better chance of being seen by a wider audience.

Just as every company doesn’t need a Twitter handle, Tumblr’s not a good fit for everyone, yet it could certainly be a powerful tool in your social profile. I can easily see a number of businesses having great Tumblr feeds; bakeries showing images of their crusty scones and videos of cooking brioche; B&B’s offering little glimpses of the utter relaxation you would experience should you stay with them; artists of all kinds.

In search of a good business example, I found The Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority in Maine. They post photos of the redevelopment project at the former Brunswick Naval Air Station, articles about economic development and even little videos of coyotes on the airfield. It makes what could be seen as a dull construction site and airport, vibrant and timely.

Tumblr provides a great platform for businesses to enjoy a creative way to strengthen their brand and spread their message and it’s worth investigating it. Even if it’s not well-suited for your company, you’d be hard-pressed not to find something that you love on it.