Does Tumblr Replace Your Website?

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Recently, Nescafe, leading instant coffee retailer announced the death of their website.

From a press release announcing their decision we learn:

Nestlé, one of the giants of the food industry, is trying hard to present a human face to its operations and products, and its latest move has been to convert its Nescafé.com website into a Tumblr blog.

 In announcing the news, Nescafé’s marketing chief Michael Chrisment said that “the dotcom is reflection of us talking to people; this approach is dead. It should be much more inclusive and allow conversations.”

 The new approach from the maker of the world’s most ubiquitous instant coffee will be to move all of its international and local websites to the Tumblr platform, “with the aim of building stronger relationships with younger consumers.”

This is a bold move, especially considering most of us don’t even know what Tumblr is! Just to make sure we are all on the same page, Tumblr is a social platform that combines all of the social media sites into one by allowing for:

  • Blog articles
  • Photos
  • Video
  • Shared links to other articles
  • Quotes
  • Pithy comments
  • Status updates

Additionally you can choose your template from a variety of free options or purchase more complex, website-looking templates. You can customize the look with your colors and personal images so that it feels more like your brand.

One of the reasons Nescafe has switched to Tumblr is because of the two-way communication opportunities. A website talks “at” the audience while a social media platform allows for comments, likes and shares.

So with all that being said, should we, as writers, be moving our brand to Tumblr? There are definite pros and cons to the site.

PRO: It is easy to set up

CON: You are not hosting it, therefore you don’t have control when it goes down (and it does) and it also is limiting in terms of set up and design

PRO: Most posts include photos and therefore, if you post images you may find people sharing your post

CON: As writers – we are more about words than photos

PRO: The audience is younger: 56% of the service’s 25.2 million monthly visitors are under 34, and users skew slightly more male (52%).

CON: If that doesn’t match your ideal reader, it may not be the site for you

If you are not on the web, then the fastest and easiest way to get started is by using Tumblr – you can get set up while you sip your morning coffee.

However, I don’t recommend abandoning your website or your blog if you have one setup.

Let’s check out how a few word-based businesses are using Tumblr to enhance their website, from the Social Media Examiner article offering 26 ways to use Tumblr:

Boston Globe

 The Boston Globe describes their presence on Tumblr this way: “This isn’t about breaking news in Boston (check us on @bostonupdate on Twitter). It’s not about the important capital-J journalism of those daily printed pieces of paper (and soon to be website) called The Boston Globe. But it is about the world we live in, often (but not exclusively) filtered by the reporters, photojournalists, reviewers, web producers at theGlobe and boston.”

Huffington Post

The Huffington Post‘s Tumblr blog has many cool features. For one thing, the tagline tells us upfront that the blog is about “news, culture and op-eds from the Huffpost Newsroom.”

Huffington Post uses a free theme called the Minimalist and users can see what the theme looks like and if they choose, they can also quickly update their blog to use the same theme. Huffington Post also uses the random post function and a link to their Twitter profile.

Lucky Magazine

One of the first things you’ll notice on Lucky Magazine‘s Tumblr blog is photos—BIG photos—ones that can be as high as 1000 pixels and as wide as 800 pixels.

The photos are linked to Instagram with brief captions. Many contain the hashtag #luckymagcloset and some take you to Lucky, another site that describes itself as “more from the magazine about shopping and style.”

The blog welcomes users with the following tagline: “Here you’ll find bits of inspiration from our editors, bloggers and friends. Join us on your lunch hour, a rainy day or whenever you find a few spare moments to yourself. We’re always here.”

There are a few ways these print journals are consistently using Tumblr:

  • Large images
  • Links back to their website
  • Links back to their other social media sites
  • Hashtags that feature their publication’s name
  • Quick updates that grab the reader’s attention

John Green, author of The Fault in Our Stars, is a big Tumblr user. From the article, 10 writers to follow on Tumblr, check this out:

John Green loves Tumblr. When asked by one of his followers whether an assistant is behind his frequently updated blog, he responded with mock horror. If you’re a fan of Green’s young adult novels, chances are you already following him, but even if you’re not, you should still consider it. He posts a wide array of content, from comments about misogyny in literature to musings about his writing — perfect for the aspiring or established literati.

Bottom Line: The more places you and your book are featured on the Internet, the better. So check out Tumblr, search for other authors, get a feel for what the social media platform is like before you decide whether or not to create an account.

Interested in learning more about Tumblr? Check out this article offering 50 Facts About Tumblr.