A healthy dose of Tumblr

Recently, a couple of guys from Tumblr visited our Philadelphia office to spend a day educating and brainstorming with teams and capabilities. Besides being entertaining, simply by nature of their platform, the day was incredibly informative on many levels.

What did I learn about Tumblr, in general?

  • It’s huge: There are over 191 million blogs, 83 billion posts, and 84 million daily posts. From a marketer’s standpoint, Tumblr has grown from a team of 3 to 250 in the last 3 years, and our new BFF is now a dedicated health representative
  • Subcultures: I knew there were different types of blogs (f***yeahNAME’s), but I didn’t know that Tumblr subcultures had their own terminology:
    • “fandom” (active fan communities that produce content around any type of media, like a show, podcast, or artist)
    • “ships” (imagined relationships between two fictional characters)
    • “SMH” (shaking my head)
    • Don’t be surprised if your 14-year old tells you I got all of these wrong. I’m not that cool. I get it.   
  • Data Fun: Tumblr can provide some pretty cool insights and visualizations into the top content being searched and posted as well as how content travels over time from creators, to influencers, to the thousands or millions of re-bloggers, and even larger amount of viewers.
  • Tumblr even went to the White House. No, seriously.—This is the founder Dave Karp fist-bumping with the POTUS.


What did I learn about Tumblr as it relates to healthcare?

Tumblr is a treasure trove of authentic health experiences. Just like TV-fan subcultures (okay, maybe not “just like”), patients congregate on Twitter, both openly and anonymously, to share or re-blog content that represents how they feel about their condition and their life. These condition-related posts have themes of advocacy, inspiration, education, and entertainment in common.

From a marketing perspective, there are many brands doing amazing things with the platform, not only with content creation, but also using Tumblr to function as a website. For pharma companies with restrictive med-legal teams, Tumblr offers control of content and comments with scalable levels of involvement:

  • Commenting is not native to the Tumblr platform, reducing the risks of AEs, complaints, and need for vigilant monitoring
  • The main activity of Tumblr is re-blogging (sharing by  re-posting) content, such that the original image or text or description is not edited even after hundreds of re-posts
  • Submitting content to the blog (suggestions, questions, complaints) is a native feature that is not expected to post immediately. For pharma companies, this means there is an opportunity to invite users to engage while having the ability to moderate and approve messages and responses without ignoring user expectations

When engaging in health, we’re encouraging our teams to look to Tumblr during this planning season to help generate insights about our clients’ audiences, and insights into how and where we can engage. Brands engaging in this platform should come with positive and encouraging tones to enrich the experiences of each community’s health journey

Social media connects people through conversation and content to make decisions, and Tumblr has proven itself to be a vital part of this process that we look forward to partnering with.

– Samantha Arabolu, Director of Social Media Strategy, Philadelphia