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Many small businesses nowadays are using blogs as part and parcel of their web presence. They are a good way to post news, events and various types of media to advertise for your business. Tumblr is a blogging platform that has been gaining popularity recently, but is it a good choice for a small business?
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What is Tumblr?
To answer this question, we first have to understand what Tumblr is all about. Tumblr bills itself as a “microblogging" platform, and the Telegraph UK, quoted on Tumblr's official About page, says that the platform “is to weblogs what text messages are to email." It is designed specifically for ease of use and the ability to quickly and easily post short, direct blog posts and media such as videos or pictures. As such, it is considered to be something of a mix of Social Media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook and a more traditional blog.
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Microblogging vs. Blogging
Thus, the first question you need to ask yourself is what your company is setting out to accomplish. As a form of social media where you can interact with consumers, Tumblr may be a good option. It is simple and extremely easy to update, and thus can be run by almost anyone in a very short amount of time. It also has very slick and easy to use ways to integrate and interact with other social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. This can also be a very attractive option if you don't want to devote the time, resources and manpower needed to run a more full blog.
That having been said, Tumblr is lacking very much in terms of features and the ability to customize your blog. A blogging platform such as Wordpress offers much more in terms of themes, plugins, and the ability to create a more fully featured and customized blog. With other blogging platforms, for instance, you can design your blog so that it has the same design and layout as your entire website, which is very difficult to do with Tumblr.
So if you are looking for a platform where you can create your own blog with your own unique layout and the ability to utilize tons of features and customization, you may want to look elsewhere. If, however, you are looking for a slick and easy way to write short posts, possibly with media such as photos or videos, Tumblr is a good choice.
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Another thing that needs to be considered is what your target audience is and whether or not Tumblr is appropriate for them. Tumblr tends to be used by younger people (56 percent are aged 34 or under, compared to 44 percent for Wordpress.com). Tumblr is also a community where fellow Tumblrs can explore blogs related to their interests, which can be a very useful tool for a small business looking to attract customers. However, it definitely has a less “professional" feel and reputation and is thought of as more of a young and “cool" platform. Indeed, if you look at the top Tags used as of July 2011, you will see words like “LOL," “Fashion," and “Tattoos" all in the top 10.
So if you are a small business in a more technical, formal or professional field, you may feel out of place on the Tumblr platform. Along these same lines, you should ask yourself whether your blog is for informative purposes, or more social purposes. If you need to post long posts, with analysis and important information, the Tumblr community is probably not where you want to be. If you are catering to a younger crowd and you want to connect with them, Tumblr is a very good way to that.
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Another Way to Use Tumblr
Another option to consider is using Tumblr not as a replacement for a blog, but as an addition to it. Even if you need a more fully featured blog, there may still be reason to use Tumblr as a way to expand the social media presence of your business. The Tumblr community is a strong one and the ease of cross-posting using Facebook and Twitter along with Tumblr may be a very effective way of gaining an audience.
However, if you have to choose, Tumblr is still a good option for a small business if your demographic is young and more hip, and you want more of a social tool than a way to convey information. If you have more technical or professional needs and are looking for a full fledged blog, or your demographic is older or more formal, look elsewhere.