What’s New in the Tumblr’hood?

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Awhile back, we rounded up how microblogging platform Tumblr is a quickly emerging force for brands looking to up and/or solidify their digital profiles. But beyond that, it’s grown to become an invaluable tool for connecting with audiences beyond a brand name, and showcasing some personality. I myself can attest just how influential it can be in showcasing said brand personality – one stumble upon the NYC office’s Tumblr during my New York City job search last October, and I basically knew that I must work here (I even mentioned a few posts during my interview, which ultimately led to my future colleagues feeling mutual about our connection – #GotEm).  Despite having already combed through HyperText for a more informative, dialogue-engaging “corporate” consciousness, Tumblr shed light for me on the NYC office’s work culture and character – things that made their employees think, laugh, common interests we shared. It presented me with that cool, personable touch that could only be delivered through the casual, simple format that Tumblr offers.

Text 100 NYC on tumblr

What is it about this rapidly expanding microblogging tool, oft-referenced as the blog counterpart of Twitter? More and more, brands are hopping on this platform to appeal to audiences in a different way. There are other large blog communities, but on Tumblr the instilled follow, like, and reblog create greater opportunities for good content to spread. And interestingly, rather than the standard blog post thriving on Tumblr, the jewels of its operation lie in photos, videos, quotes and questions – text snippets with a bit of edginess or inspiration also prove to be popular.

The strategy appears to be working. Since our last stats check in 2010, Tumblr has grown to see roughly 51 million new posts daily, hosts more than 41 million unique blogs, and grew a staggering 900% (!) over the past year (check out this super interesting Tumblr infographic that Mashable whipped up recently). Not to mention, it operates in eight different languages.  In four short years, Tumblr has grown from relatively “underground” to international microblogging network, mostly due to its informal appeal and brand-building potential.

Here’s an update on how several different organizations have taken to Tumblrhood lately, and maximized their brand presence:

  • Popular soft drink maker Coca Cola launched a Tumblr to share happy content with teenage bloggers, referencing everyday opportunities to recognize life’s simple pleasures—even featuring some older Coke graphics and advertisements. The effort is part of Coke’s goal to connect with teens and other Coke fans on new platforms and through more visual, aesthetic experiences.
  • The Standard Hotel, a popular hotel located in New York, Los Angeles and Miami, launched its Standard Culture Tumblr. It serves as a pop-culture forum, featuring content from guest bloggers, downloadable music, and videos. It also promotes a calendar of pop-culture attractions for each of the hotel’s cities.
  • Fashion brands—seemingly built for Tumblr with their highly visual cultures—cover the site with looks from their collections, even disclosing links to sales. (See Bergdorf Goodman, Kate Spade, and Oscar de la Renta’s PR director).
  • News sources are by far the leading brand category on Tumblr, from Newsweek to Rolling Stone and NPR. Many of them have fun with their posts, whether it be for teasing content, pulling memorable quotes or sharing compelling imagery.
  • Activists and political organizations are increasingly using the platform to share views, political cartoons and videos supporting their beliefs. (See  the Rainforest Activist Network’s recently launched Tumblr dedicated to tracking Bank of America’s criticisms and shortcomings, the Republican National Committee’s blog devoted to examining President Obama’s presidential record over the past three years, and the President’s own campaign Tumblr, in support of his re-election for 2012.)
  • Celebrities have hopped on the platform to share some of their favorite content and near-and-dear causes with fans (see Alicia Keys, Glee’s Dianna Agron, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt – even Lady Gaga played with it for a second). Sometimes, even faux-celebrity Tumblelogs arise, to maximize the fandom of certain well-known Hollywood figures, or poke fun at them (See Suri’s Burn Book, a funny blog positioned as written by Katie Holmes’ and Tom Cruises’ adorably rich and famous toddler, and celebrity-fun-poking webcomic But You’re Like Really Pretty).

For fun, here’s a snapshot of some Tumblr engagement on Text 100 NA’s end, engaging you with the people behind our brand and work culture:

What about the rest of you out there in the Interwebs—are you finding Tumblr as a useful tool? If you used it early on, how has your usage changed? How are you using Tumblr to support your brand, whether personal or professional, or what are some examples of usage you’ve seen that support or question our observations? Let us know in the comments below.