Platform-Specific Content: Tumblr Edition

Gif by Sasha Katz

Welcome to the eNewsletter you never subscribed to. 

While it’s easier, cheaper and quicker to repurpose content across all social media platforms, is that really best practice? IMHO, content designed for the specific platform it will live on, not for how many platforms it can live on, is the most creative, compelling and ultimately convincing in terms of brand loyalty.

For example, some brands have been absolutely killing it on Tumblr, where the users are mainly millennials and tend to be quirkier than their counterparts on more mainstream social media platforms. That’s because of the nature of Tumblr itself—it’s only part social network, but also part microblog. Users can post multimedia content to their own short-form personal blogs (AKA a tumblelog), as well as like and repost content from other blogs.

This hybrid setup means Tumblr attracts a lot of creative-types who are interested in posting their own work or want to be inspired by others. That doesn’t mean the platform is all artsy fartsy, though. A lot of users are hilarious pranksters, the first to know about trending memes and gifs, or even the ones who created the content that goes viral in the first place.

Unlike every other major social network, Tumblr allows users to customize their page designs by selecting or submitting a theme. This element of individual freedom, combined with the diary-like feel of Tumblr’s text posts, makes the platform a deeply personal place. Essentially, it’s your teenage self’s bedroom wall, covered with virtual pages torn from magazines or scraps of paper scribbled with poems.

While Tumblr is incredibly intimate, it also fosters a fiercely supportive community. Users post about their true feelings—the things they’re too embarrassed to tell their family or coworkers or even friends. By revealing their insecurities, Tumblr users discover that they’re not alone. An entire online community of fellow introverts and artists and dreamers is there to offer comfort and advice. Obviously I’m generalizing here. Everyone on Tumblr has different reasons for using the platform. This is just what I’ve personally discovered after using the platform for four years.

Regardless, it’s easy to see why the Tumblr community would be wary of brands encroaching on their personal space. Tumblr is the place they go to seek encouragement, find solace or be inspired. It’s the place they go to get away from the mainstream, the man and big corporations. That’s why the best brands on Tumblr are the ones that don’t try to force themselves into this community. They ask to be let in.

Dunkin’ Donuts worked with Tumblr Creatrs, or emerging artists using the platform to promote their work, to create posts that were not only creative, but also resonated with the aesthetic of the Tumblr community:

Similarly, Vans commissioned artists that aligned with their brand’s voice to design several posts for them:

I’ve been fangirling over the Nike Women’s Tumblr account all year and I honestly can’t come up with a shortlist of their best posts because everything they share is so perfect for Tumblr. So go ahead and check out their entire blog.

And while I’m calling out entire Tumblr blogs, check out Netflix. Their entertaining memes and gifs are all reblogworthy.

The theme? All of these brands are creating content specifically for Tumblr as opposed to sharing the same content across all of their social media platforms. They don’t have one singular social media strategy. Instead, they adapt their strategy depending on the platform.

TL;DR: Tumblr is a unique community. That means your content needs to be unique, too.

Stay classy, nerds


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