Small Business Lessons From Tumblr

Posted on Jun 19, 2013 · 3 min read

Today’s guest post was written by Chelsea Rodriguez, a business consultant who specializes in marketing strategies for small business. Thanks for your insights into Tumblr, Chelsea!


The most recent tech acquisition that has everyone talking is Yahoo’s $1.1 billion dollar deal to purchase Tumblr, according to CNN Money. Tumblr is a microblog that has a strong 18- to 34-year-old user base. Yahoo needed a way to increase its relevancy with the younger Internet demographic, and Tumblr’s user base serves that need well. Your small business might not get bought out by Yahoo, but there’s several lessons about Tumblr’s development, growth and buyout that are applicable to any business.

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Find Your Niche

When Tumblr was created in 2007, Facebook and WordPress already established dominance in the social networking and blogging sectors. Tumblr didn’t have the resources to take them head on. What it did have, however, was an idea that merged social networking and blogging features together to create its own niche service. No one knew they needed it until Tumblr brought it to the field. Today, there’s 300 million unique visitors to the site a month and 120,000 signups daily, according to Dazeinfo. Take a look at things you can innovate on in your own small business, even if it seems like a small change.

People Long For Community

Look around any major website. Chances are you see a plethora of social media icons to facilitate sharing content. Social media recommendations are a major part of any marketing plan today, but when Tumblr first started out, it was a prescient move to make it easy to share content and collaborate with other users. Tumblr’s reblogging feature creates an environment that’s very receptive to getting content to go viral. In addition, the content sharing fosters an online community culture that makes Tumblr very different from other blogging services. While some sites offer following features, none of them are quite as robust at Tumblr’s. Ensure that your business website flaunts social media connection.

Existing Businesses Can Help

Tumblr doesn’t see Facebook, WordPress and similar sites as competitors. Instead, the site was designed to easily integrate with these sites. Tumblr posts can be synced between your Twitter and Facebook accounts to auto-post whenever you make an update on the site. While you might not have exactly the same opportunity to collaborate with perceived competitors, finding some way to make mutually beneficial features or agreements help foster your business strategy.

Strike While the Iron’s Hot

A statement by David Karp, the CEO of Tumblr, promises users that nothing is changing with the team or their overall business strategy, Dazeinfo reported. They might have been acquired by Yahoo, but the founders aren’t going into a hands-off position. They received a massive all-cash payout, and they don’t have to sit on the sidelines and watch someone else run the business they put their blood and sweat into. Now that’s truly the American dream. But sometimes, a credit card is the only funding you need to launch a business. The Plum Card, one of the AMEX business credit cards, offers incentives and rewards for aspiring entrepreneurs to sustain their small business.

Keep Innovating

It’s hard to determine which tech trends are going to pan out in the long run, but when you see an opportunity to get in on the ground floor of an upward curve, take it. Tumblr already has a Google Glass app available, even though Google Glass itself is not released yet, according to ABC News. The Tumblr application allows users to take pictures, check messages and look at notifications through Google Glass.

Angela Modzelewski by Angela Modzelewski