Businesses love Facebook. You can Like everything from Starbucks to Jiffy Lube, and you can get invited to everything from special events at your favorite clothing boutique to small-business cash mobs.
The Twitter bug has also bit businesses. Even Pizza Hut tweets its latest menu additions for real-time feedback. Pinterest is gathering momentum, too. It's no longer viewed solely as a site for wannabe Martha Stewarts.
But enterprises have been slow to warm to another social media juggernaut, either for internal or external use: Tumblr. Even though it boasts more than 95 million blogs and 44 billion posts, precious few companies tread on Tumblr.
In many ways, Tumblr is like Twitter, though it focuses less on following and more on rich media. Perhaps that's part of the reason businesses are hesitant. They're afraid Tumblr won't be social enough. But some companies (mostly in the clothing industry) are starting to warm to the networking site. Of A Kind, Kate Spade, Oscar PR Girl, McQ, Ann Taylor, and Drop Dead Clothing all have fashion-oriented Tumblrs. DMC Hotels and The Standard Hotel have also entered this world. In the technology world, IBM (sponsor of Internet Evolution), has put Tumblr to work.
The DMC Hotels page offers a particularly interesting example of why companies may want to embrace Tumblr. Basically, the page consists of a single post describing the hotel chain and its business successes. Despite that minimalism, the page is highly ranked on Google; search "Tumblr" and "hotels" to see for yourself. At worst, Tumblr's strong status on Google gives companies the chance for free advertising of sorts -- perhaps a corporate vision statement or a blog about the company's history (whatever the company feels is most appropriate).
In theory, companies could turn Tumblr into a far more utilitarian tool. For example, Bitly uses its page to announce software development kit news, statistics, and more. Again, the high Google ranking means free advertising. Better yet, the business is directing visitors to useful information. The nonprofit group Doctors Without Borders leverages Tumblr in a similarly utilitarian fashion.
There's one more way to put Tumblr to use: the internal blog. It's hard to gauge how much traction private Tumblr accounts are getting in the corporate world, because, well, they're private. But Tumblr offers arguably as good a ready-made package as WordPress or other alternatives, with the upside that a private (in other words, password protected) Tumblr URL is hosted for free.
Using a free Tumblr, you can post general-purpose training materials and notes to employees. This isn't an overly secure option, so you shouldn't post anything that would be catastrophic for the general public (or your competitors) to see.
Most businesses are making strong use of Twitter and Facebook. But as Tumblr grows in popular appeal and Google status, you can expect more businesses to start leveraging this social media tool. It is just as comfortable serving as a Swiss Army knife for your business blogging needs as it is serving up memes. For that reason, Tumblr is worth a serious look.
— Jason Mick is senior news editor at the independent news site DailyTech.