Not Using Tumblr to Market Your Conference or Event? Here’s How

Tumblr For Conferences and Events
Photo: Scott Beale

OK, have you heard of Tumblr? If not, let me introduce you an online platform that has been around for awhile, is finally catching fire like the Oakland Hills and has all the hallmarks of something that is going to be around for a long time.

What is Tumblr?

Tumblr is a micro-blogging platform that allows users to post text, images, videos, links, quotes and audio to their tumblelog. Basically, Tumblr is a cross between a standard blog and Twitter… That is the best way to describe it…

Or, I could describe it like this…somewhere between the land of Twitterzeria and the country of Blogistan lies the Democratic Republic of Tumblr.

Like Twitter, users can follow other users, but unlike Twitter, Tumblr allows for customization and personality much like a standard blog. You can install themes, add Facebook like buttons, change your header…

Tumblr has some pretty high profile users that see the value in short form blogging including Lady Gaga, Newsweek, NPR, Rolling Stone, The Atlantic Magazine and More. PlannerWire has an outpost on Tumblr here and this site almost went all Tumblr at one time.

None of these outlets use Tumblr as their main social media tool; Tumblr is an enhancement to current strategies.

For meetings and events, Tumblr offers the opportunity to add another outpost to the marketing mix in order to further interact with attendees and fans in a meaningful way.  Tumblr can be useful, if even just to feed your blog RSS into it to get it started.

What is it that makes Tumblr so special?

Tumblr is special because of the way you interact. It is almost a state of not caring… by that I mean, not caring about what you post….

You care about the message of course, but the message can be a picture, a video, a sound clip, a link, a testimonial… all seemingly random. Unlike a blog, you will not have a four part series, you will not post an entire photo gallery or a long form post.

Tumblr is structured un-structure and people (including me) like the fast and loose nature of this interaction.

So, what should your meeting or event post on Tumblr:

That is actually easy. First, you want to connect Tumblr to Twitter and possibly Facebook (which will be done when you set up the account) and also talk about the Tumblr Account on your blog so that non-Tumblr users know you are there. I say possibly for Facebook because if you are going to post 800 things a day to Tumblr, that is bombarding your Facebook Fans and that is not cool. Use Facebook connections wisely.

After that, the content can just flow, although pre-planning is nice, it is not entirely necessary like a traditional blog.

  • Post single pictures from past events
  • Have your blog RSS feed autopost
  • Take video snips from past conferences and post them (Testimonials!)
  • Use written attendee testimonials
  • Post fun outtakes from previous years
  • Links to speaker bios
  • YouTube videos of speakers
  • Sponsor videos and images (you could thank a sponsor a day!)
  • Whatever you can think of, post it as long as it is fast and easy..

You may find that you enjoy Tumblr more than your other social media outposts because you can actually have fun working with it (for now), you may find yourself getting sucked into the Tumblr world and that is OK, because everyone is on a mission of Tumblr Discovery.

To be successful, you need to unthink your thinking and unthink your strategy and kinda go with the flow and experiment with Tumblr because you just never know what will catch fire. You can post a picture one hour and a quote the next, wait a day and then post a link, then another quote. It can be random, crazy and seemingly disorganized and that is actually how Tumblr rolls.

A word of warning, Tumblr is not a build it and they will come affair, you need to follow others, build up your content and work it. Just because you throw some shit up there and declare that you are on Tumblr, people are not going to fall all over themselves to come and find you.

Tumblr is NOT a replacement for conference or event blog, website, Twitter account or Facebook page.

If you imagine your website and blog is a mansion, Twitter is a townhome, and Facebook is a condo, Tumblr would be a tree house.

Tree houses are really fun, but you would not want to live there.

Photo: Scott Beale / Laughing Squid

Keith Johnston

Keith Johnston

Keith is the Managing Partner of i3 Events but is most widely known as the outspoken publisher of the event industry blog PlannerWire. In addition to co-hosting the Bullet List and Event Tech Pull Up Podcasts, he has been featured in Plan Your Meetings, Associations Now, Convene, Event Solutions, and has appeared on the cover of Midwest Meetings Magazine.

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