Should You Tumblr?

Image via Marissa Mayer’s Tumblr!

I just spent the last weekend grilling my friend’s fourteen-year-old niece about her cohorts’ use of digital media.

Did you know that teenagers don’t use email?

They love Snapchat and something called Kick?

And Facebook — never, ever Facebook!

Everything changes so fast. Even my opinions about Tumblr. You may have heard a thing or two in the news about the blogging platform/social network Tumblr since it’s recent acquisition by Yahoo. For like more than a billion dollars. Obviously someone was impressed by the 100 million strong blog network.

I, on the other hand, was initially very put off by the service’s poor reliability and its incredibly bad performance in search.

Now I’m starting to explore what it can do for brands and I’m starting to like it a lot more.

Why? Because while it is a lot like a blogging platform, it’s also as fast-moving and mobile friendly as Instagram, and relationship-driven like Twitter.

Marco Arment (who basically cofounded Tumblr with David Karp) wrote an insightful blog post over the weekend:

MySpace was where you went in the past, WordPress and Movable Type were where people went if they had the patience and writing output to maintain a traditional blog, Facebook was where you went to define yourself by schools and checkboxes, and Tumblr was where you went to make your own identity and express your creativity.

So that’s how I came to appreciate Tumblr, because it’s a little bit like platforms I like for marketing, and yet a little bit different. I am trying it for a restaurant client after perusing how many restaurants are using Tumblr successfully. Here’s a good list.

So, do you Tumblr for your business?

Here’s a few reasons you might consider it:

You’re in a Tumblr sweet spot

Obvious categories include food, retail, fashion, books, creative fields. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Your product is highly visual

You either have or can produce a number of visual assets (see Cirque de Soleil). Or, like Sharpie, you have a product used and beloved by many.

You use Tumblr for a clever campaign

Maaco is a great example of a business that is not particularly interesting or visual on its face. Yet they are doing a very clever and interactive campaign called “Maacover” on Tumblr right now, prompting fans to submit their own photos of junker cars that need new life. Which just goes to show a little creativity goes a long way.

Getting started on Tumblr

1. Pick a good name. Your business name is a great place to start.

2. Find and follow blogs in your niche

3. Pay attention to what’s on your Dashboard — that will be other blogs’ posts relevant to your business category.

4. Participate in the community. Be sure to reblog and look at other blogs.

5. Tag your posts with relevant keywords so people can find you!

6. Publish great content regularly — especially pictures!

Amazing Women That You (and @GaryVee) Should Be Following on Twitter!

Gary V…does not know how much women are shaping social?

 

So. Gary Vaynerchuk, the digital media guru who launched a thousand brands into the social media sphere, just released a two-part list of “19 Essential Twitter Follows.”

And…amazingly, it’s almost all male. Just 2 women in 19.

Before you say I’m jumping the gun on his little list — hold up. This is Twitter we’re talking about. I mean, not only do women dominate the major sites like Facebook and Twitter as users, but to borrow a favorite Gary V. phrase, they “crush it” as practitioners and thought leaders in the space.

Yep, in every niche and corner of social, women have been leading the way since day one, and innovating all the time since. So where is the love, Gary?

I think Gary needs more women on his radar, so I made a little list of my own. Women who have influenced my social game. Women who consistently bring a lot of value to the table. Women Gary (and you) ought to know about.

I left out some of the ladies who influenced me a ton but who are extremely well known (@kanter, @swissmiss and @pistachio are good examples) to follow Gary’s model of calling out people who really deserve more attention that they are getting. I’m 100% sure I have inadvertently omitted amazing gals, so I will be adding to this list, on the blog and on Twitter.

But for a start, here goes…follow them!

Aina Abiodun - Aina is at the forefront of a new way of telling stories using technology in innovative ways.

Paloma Baytelman - She Tweets frequently in words I cannot understand (Spanish), however I know this Fullbright scholar is one smart lady. And I know she’s “Twitter famous” but because she came to a taco party I threw I consider her a neighbor.

Emily Best – Emily is reinventing the idea of filmmaking and community through her startup Seed and Spark. 

Ope Bukola -  Ope does a terrific job of pulling together resources around tech, education and entrepreneurship.

Emily Cavalier – Emily is an incredible connector of passionate people — and a trove of insight on business, digital and food!

Lauren Cerand is a glamorous woman-about-town who helps authors and publisher build their profiles. Her Twitter stream is eclectic but always thoughtful. 

Kristina Drury – I took a wicked awesome Skillshare from Kristina about doing demographic research, and ever since she’s been a must-follow in my world. 

Cheryl Furjanic - My old and good friend Cheryl really understands what it means to cultivate an audience in the age of Kickstarter and she’s shaped my game so much through her intelligent writing and teaching. 

Roxane Gay – I discovered Roxane through her epic Tweets about Elizabeth Wurtzel’s New York mag piece, and I was like “where have you been all my life?” Hilarious and intelligent commentator.

Susan Halligan – Marketing presenter extraordinaire and a big influence on the incredible NYC Digital Culturals Group (which hosted digital folks from just about every museum and cultural you can think of), Susan has definitely shaped my game in social. 

Julia Kaganskiy – she wrote the Twitter book on the intersection of art and technology in this crazy city.  

Kristin McCracken – Kristin built the vibrant social presence around Tribeca Film Festival, and her secret sauce around Facebook engagement, particularly, is worth emulating. Bonus — her tips about pop culture are never wrong! 

Emily Meitner - We “met” on Twitter originally. All I know is that Emily is a gal to watch as she build her New York Creative Interns empire. She’s a connector and a prolific Tweeter. Follow her!

Jennette Mullaney gives awesome and social insights into museum world. She was at the Met Museum, and now is at the High Line, how cool is that? 

Mira Ptacin – discovered her through a moving essay in Guenica, and have stuck around for her incisive updates on the writing life.

Nichelle Stephens – Cupcake guru, food-tech conference organizer and entrepreneurship writer — Nichelle does a little bit of everything! 

Felicia Sullivan – A frequent and witty Tweeter with a distinctive voice, Felicia knows how to mix intelligent commentary about the business of social and digital with Tweets about her passion for food and design.

Frances Uku - Wherever creative folks converge, you’ll find Miss Uku reporting on it in clever 140 character bursts.

Who else? Tell me who you’d add and let’s help Gary expand his horizons a little bit!

BBQ and Email Marketing

…are not something you typically see in the same headline. Unless, I guess, you are in Austin for SXSW (I sat the past one this one out this year).

Daniel Delaney of Briskettown at work.

Daniel Delaney of Briskettown at work.

But email marketing has great things to offer BBQ, says Pitmaster Daniel Delaney of Briskettown. I saw him speak on a Social Media Week panel at Whole Foods Bowery on social media and the food business.

He said something surprising but nonetheless essential: email is a major tool for his operation, helping him to turn a quixotic dream of toting a BBQ smoker to NYC into an actual revenue-generating business.

Why should you care? Because in addition to thinking about paid marketing, social and PR, you really owe it to yourself to give this tactic a second look.

Here are some resources for building an email list:

The Big Idea: Using RSS Feeds for Fun and Profit

Building Email Engagement and Click-Thrus the Groupon Way

2 cool free email tricks that you should try right now

Don’t you wish getting your brand out on the web could be easy?

Everywhere I go I get the same sort of questions and comments from creative people, authors, filmmakers and small businesses.

know I need a website to showcase my (business/portfolio/startup) but where do I start?

My cousin set me up with a WordPress site but I don’t like the template and I feel like my hands are tied in terms of customizing it.

My website feels out of date but I don’t know how to approach a redesign.

“Learning to code” is super trendy right now but I have my hands full running my business!

The good news is there’s a brand-new free WordPress theme, Twentytwelve, you can make a completely unique, branded website, without using Photoshop, hiring a designer, or spending hours of sweat and toil on your site.

Part of my blog’s raison d’etre is to empower you to understand and fully harness the low cost technological tools that can help you take your brand to the next level. That’s why I’m thrilled to announce that I’ve developed an online course that will take you from idea stage to completely custom, branded website in no time at all. 

brandyourself

This course is for the entrepreneur, small business owner or creative who wants to know *just enough* about WordPress to create a killer website all their own.

Because it’s completely up to date on all the features of WordPress 3+, and the brand-new default theme Twentytwelve, it’s a great course for those who have some familiarity with WordPress but want to take their skills to the next level.

By focusing not only on building you a great site but also on branding, it will further help you launch a site well positioned stand out and get surfaced in search.

In the course, you’ll follow along a set of short online lectures while building your own website.

What you’ll have at the end of the course:

A cool-looking, mobile-responsive website that has custom web fonts and a strong, branded positioning without a lot of muss or fuss.

What you won’t get:

  • A cookie-cutter site based on a theme that looks like everyone else’s
  • A better understanding of Adobe products like Photoshop and Illustrator (though they are helpful, you don’t need them and they aren’t covered)
  • A course in “how to code” (because truthfully, that is extremely time-consuming and probably better left to the experts)
  • A deep look at theme functions in PHP (because all the customizations we’re doing can be done in CSS)

The course launches on Friday, March 1st, but as a reader of my blog, I’d like to invite you to enjoy a special discount off the full price of $79. Sign up here, and you’ll get advanced access to the course and the best discount possible.

I can’t wait to see what you’ll create!

Now back to our regular/irregular programming

Returning from a little break in posting. I took advantage of January and February and a time to get a little reflecting done. And also a lot of work!

The truth is, I’ve been fairly swamped with new client work and percolating projects. I have a bunch of new clients who I absolutely love. I mean, people doing stuff with all their heart and soul who have enlisted me to help spread the word about their businesses or help them establish a home on the web. It’s an honor to be entrusted with so much, and client work like this teaches me new things all the time about marketing, communications and the web. I’m hoping to be able to share some of those lessons in the coming weeks.

A large chunk of my life is also consumed with writing. I am the Entrepreneurship guide at About.com, and I’ve planned a whole year of resources around launching the business of your dreams in 2013. Beyond About, I’m always looking to experiment with new ways of telling stories, so look for more news on that front in the coming months.

I’ve also developed a brand new online class for all you creative folks out there who finally want to launch your own website. It launches on March 1st, but if you join this list, you’re going to get extra goodies (as well as a discount).

“The Big Idea” will continue, but you’ll see me making a few tweaks that will hopefully make it even more useful.

This week I’ll be deeply ensconced in Social Media Week, so watch this space for a full report of that later in the week.

Thanks, as always, for reading!