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September 20th, 2012

Tumblr’s Continued Growth Makes It a Search Factor

Has Tumblr become a part of your corporate publishing strategy? At one point, as Twitter and Facebook took off, it seemed that this “blog-network” platform (my term for something that isn’t as full-featured as WordPress or other software but definitely more feature-filled than a true social network) was going to be overshadowed by those ascendant networks. But in the last year or so Tumblr has staged a remarkable comeback, despite – maybe even because of – a handful of direct competitors that sought to fill the “just let me post something quickly to my friends” space.

comScore recently released a study showing total unique visitors to Tumblr.com have grown significantly in the last year while the growth on mobile, which is a big way people consume and interact with those they follow, has grown even more sharply. And the number of clicks to Tumblr sites that are happening through search is even greater.

The comScore post mentions one solid reason why brand should be paying attention to Tumblr: Search. That goes not just for evaluating their own publishing programs but also for monitoring since the footprint that Tumblr posts now occupy in search results is increasingly significant. And that’s true – Just as we all kept saying in 2003, if you’re not paying attention to the front page of search results for your brand/product name(s) and seeing where it is that people are talking about you you’re not doing your job.

The flipside of that coin is, of course, what are the brands themselves doing to impact (in an absolutely legitimate way and without resorting to any black-hat tactics) the kinds of results on that front page? As always the best way to do that is a combination of good customer service based on that listening program and a proactive publishing program that gives people something to talk about. So how does Tumblr fit into that?

Just as with every other publishing platform, regardless of size, there are four questions to ask:

What’s the story we’re trying to tell?

Who are we telling it to?

How are we tailoring our story to effectively reach them?

What conversations are they already having that we can be (respectfully) part of?

There are always a ton of good corporate reasons to add a new platform to an existing publishing program. Those only get you so far, though, and often don’t add up to a sustainable or successful addition. Instead it’s important to know the answers to the above questions – and there are more that need to be answered that get into specific tactics, of course – before deciding that something has to be done because hey everyone is talking about it and wow, the kids are there. If it doesn’t serve a purpose, isn’t measurable (or won’t have a measurable impact) and doesn’t appear to fit within an existing community then what might be a great idea needs to be stripped back down and rebuilt so it can become an executable idea.

About the Author
Chris Thilk works on the Client Services team, part of Voce Connect, developing and executing social media strategy. You can follow him at @christhilk on Twitter.

Filed in Blogging, Microblogging, Publishing Programs

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