According to Mashable, “Tumblr” surpassed “blog” in December as one of the most searched terms on Google, thus confirming the slow fall of the search for “blog” that started in 2009. Also, with over 88 million blogs and over 20 billion page views per month, Tumblr ranks as one of the top 10 most visited sites in the world.
Although Tumblr’s popularity does not necessarily affect your college’s blog, it certainly positions Tumblr as a force to be reckoned with in social media. This has caused many colleges and universities to question whether or not they should be jumping on the Tumblr bandwagon.
How Tumblr works?
Tumblr is a micro-blogging site where one can share videos, photos, text, quotes, links, and chat. It is the missing link between Twitter and WordPress since, just like on WordPress, Tumblr is free to start and allows you to:
- customize your Tumblr site by creating your own custom theme.
- be followed by other users.
- tag your posts to make it easy for followers to see all your previous related posts.
- easily add analytics tracking code to better understand your performance on the site.
- allow users to comment (feature only available through Disqus).
Just like Twitter, Tumblr works as a social media platform that allows you to:
- update your status without being in your account, which means you can post from any other site or profile.
- text your blog updates from any mobile phone.
- use cross-blog tagging to curate content by tags, which is a great help in content discovery.
- use a bookmarklet to share anything you come across while browsing the web.
Examples of colleges on Tumblr
Tumblr makes it very easy to share content. Many colleges have already leveraged the combination of photos and quotes to push their brand. Here are 3 examples of how colleges are using Tumblr:
- Florida International University has one of the most complete Tumblr sites, which includes a search bar on the homepage, a featured Twitter feed, campus snapshots, and helpful Q&A between students and the university’s administrators.
- The department of Admissions at University of Chicago uses Tumblr to reply to questions about admissions or about the school in general.
- Bennington College’s Tumblr account also features a search bar on their homepage and student-faculty Q&A, while also featuring students’ campus experiences.
Should your college be on Tumblr?
Still according to Mashable, a 2008 survey by Technorati found that “only 7.4 million out of the 133 million blogs the company tracks had been updated in the past 120 days.” From our experience, it is fair to say that this also applies to college and university blogs. Many colleges launch blogs that they are later not able to maintain. Could Tumblr be the solution for your time-starved Marketing/Communications team trying to make their content more visible and easier to share? Maybe.
But the real question is not whether Tumblr can be useful for higher education marketing. As is the case with all social media platforms, Tumblr is only a tool. What really matters is the type of content you share, be it on Tumblr or Wordpress, or any other social media platform. If you plan on sharing a lot of visual or video content, then Tumblr may be the way to go. Longer posts about the school, programs, registration, tips for students to apply etc. may prefer Wordpress or be built directly within your website. In any case, remember that content is key.
Be sure that your blog is adding something to the audience’s experience of your college or university. Opting to host a Tumblr comes with committing to submit engaging posts regularly and to focus on developing your community. If you do not have a blog, invest time and resources in creating and updating that blog. A blog will also add pages to your web ecosystem, which will enhance the strength of your SEO efforts.
What has your blogging experience, with Tumblr or otherwise, been like?