National Restaurant Association - I’ll tumble for you: Tumblr tips for your restaurant

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I’ll tumble for you: Tumblr tips for your restaurant

Anna Tauzin is the National Restaurant Association’s manager of digital innovation and serves as a multi-media thought leader, leading digital, web and social strategy development. Here she highlights effective ways to engage guests through social media and technology.

A slow pour of warm syrup flows over a huge stack of hot-from-the-griddle pancakes. Some of the liquid spills over the side. It’s slow. It’s mouthwatering. It plays over and over again. And it’s been shared countless times.


Denny's, the creator of the syrupy gif, has a huge following on Tumblr, and its fans are dedicated, young, excited, and an audience that the company had previously not had access to.

According to analytics from Tumblr, the blogging platform’s largest demographic is 18-34 year olds, with18% of their traffic coming from the 13-17 year-olds.

“There’s this youth enthusiasm to invite their parents to Denny’s,” said Amber Gordon, a creative strategist at Tumblr. Gordon worked for the agency that managed the Denny’s Tumblr until recently making the jump to Tumblr. “They will tell us that they love Denny’s and are bringing their parents this weekend.”

Tumblr made headlines earlier this year when Yahoo! acquired it for $1.1 billion. Though not the most visited social media site (that spot is held by Facebook, according to Pew), it does boast the number one slot for the most time spent per visit. By late summer, Tumblr had 120 million blogs and 180 million new posts each day.

“Users who come to Tumblr are there to create content, to consume content, and to share content,” said Jen Pelka, Tumblr’s Food and Beverage Evangelist.

“So they’re doing less of checking in on friends or family and it’s much more about accessing the things they are deeply personal about – things that are a direct expression of who they are.”

Pelka said you can, “…connect with an audience of people who are incredibly excited about food, restaurants, chefs, whether its burgers to ice cream to cookies or… very high end fine dining. “

You can use Tumblr to post a variety of content – text, photos, quotes, links, chats, audio (they integrate with SoundCloud and Spotify), and video. Tumblr is also the only platform that supports animated gifs (short, looping images) like the Denny’s syrup flow mentioned above.

Additionally, it’s easy to connect your other social networks with Tumblr. For instance, when you use Instagram to post an image, you can have it push automatically to your Tumblr. Pelka said in a recent webinar that this technique is very popular with restaurants.

Tumblr users follow other Tumblr blogs by clicking the “Follow” button in the upper right corner of the site. Then when they log into their dashboard, they will see a feed in reverse chronological order from the blogs they have selected to follow. It’s easy to scroll through pages and pages of content when it’s everything you’ve elected to view. From there, users can “Like” or “Reblog” your content.

Reblogging is similar to a retweet on Twitter or sharing an item from a friend on Facebook. Reblogging amplifies original content by sharing it with your followers and can lead to content going viral. Pelka said it’s not uncommon to see a post that has hundreds, thousands, or even tens of thousands of notes. The right content has the potential to spread very quickly.

Okay, so enough nuts and bolts. Want to know the good news? The good news is that the most popular content types on Tumblr include images and gifs of food and restaurants. The audience is there waiting for you.

People on Tumblr don’t have that sense of irony that permeates other parts of the web. A quick scan on YouTube or Reddit and you can see what I’m talking about – that sarcastic, bullying sense of humor. Instead it’s honest and cheerful, for the most part. Tumblr is a playground for restaurant lovers.

And what’s more playful and honest  than food?

Some of the major publishers, such as Food Network, Food & Wine, Epicurious, etc., are already active on the platform with large audiences. These publishers could provide an opportunity to reblog your content, and give your Tumblr and restaurant attention quickly.

Multiple celebrity chefs and their restaurant groups use Tumblr, with a variety of content on each one.  Find some inspiration in the Tumblrs below.

Celebrity Chefs Successfully Blogging:

Mario Batali

  • Image-heavy content of gifs
  • Reblogs of other blogs mentioning him

Wolfgang Puck

  • Behind-the-scenes Instagram shots
  • High-res photography

Thomas Keller Restaurant Group

  • Used as a repository for the company’s videos, including Chef Keller giving speeches and doing interviews

Anthony Bourdain

  • Combination of photos and long-form written content
  • Announcements of events

Most popular types of content on Tumblr (food-related):

  • High-res photography
  • Instagram photos
  • Animated gifs
  • Thought-provoking written content

Remember to create content people want to consume and share with their networks, content they can use to express themselves. Go, create and share!

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