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Alex Blakelock, Account Director

The author

Alex Blakelock

Account Director

Purchased by Yahoo! last year for an eye-watering $1.2 billion, Tumblr features over 150 million blogs and is arguably the world’s biggest micro-blogging platform. So why are so few brands benefitting from its social media potential and capacity to reach such a targeted 16-30 age group?

For those not in the know, Tumblr has seen a sharp rise in popularity since its inception - allowing users and brands to post text snippets, photos, videos and other striking and snappy content to engage audiences. In some ways it’s a channel which draws on all the best bits from Pinterest, Twitter and Wordpress to make it a really visual, fun and interactive platform.

Offering virtually the same functionality as any other Social Media platform, the name of the game from a brand perspective is to build a following whilst encouraging likes, comments, shares (re-blogs) and other wonderful interactions.

As a micro-blogging platform, targeting such a relatively young demographic, Tumblr is extremely effective for cool, product-led brands that work well visually.

So, which brands are making strides and harnessing Tumblr's potential? TopShop, with its customised Tumblr page and stylish functionality, is a great example of what it was built for. The fashion brand's page is awash with the latest ‘snaps’ and ‘style crushes’ that it encourages users to re-blog. In terms of interaction, it also uniquely allows users to submit pictures of themselves wearing their favourite TopShop pieces. Like any good social media community – it puts consumers at the heart of the story.

At the other end of the scale you have ‘B&Q Social Media’ – an unimaginative title that presumably signposts the user to the fact that they are actually on - Social Media. Credit to B&Q for embracing Tumblr, however the main criticisms would be that the page has a very basic design layout and its 'tumbles' are certainly not micro-blogs in any shape or form…that is unless you consider a 700-word blog to be micro.

The more cynical viewer may say that B&Q is betraying the principles and purpose of Tumblr in the way it presents lengthy content, which doesn’t catch the eye. You could get the impression that the brand is simply regurgitating blog copy or Facebook posts to maintain a steady stream of content. However, you only have to look at its latest tumble about the firm’s graduate scheme to see that the brand has Tumblr’s target market front of mind.