Tuesday, May 10, 2011

What Works on Tumblr

The biggest misconception when it comes to Tumblr is that it’s just another blog platform and good content is good content. Brands on Tumblr have yet to catch up to what “the kids” are doing. There are Tumblrs with tens of thousands of followers. People who sit by their computers just waiting to reblog the next thing posted. In a world where trends last for only a day top, the circulation of this content from within the communities is never-ending. Popular Tumblr accounts have a lot of things in common.

A lot of the content may seem very young, and it is. Over 37% of traffic comes from people ages 18-34. (Naturally there are geeky tumblrs too). This is the perfect platform for brands who might want to share quick, light hearted content that is easy to consume. Some small clothing brands are using Tumblr for a branding initiative. Other brands are using it as a way for loyal consumers to see a little closer into their world, creating a unique brand experience. We have seen many different ways that brands are using Tumblr for their business, but maybe the reason it doesn’t CLICK with users is because brands treat their Tumblr account like a blog.

Listen up brands, because here is what works on Tumblr.

1. Re-blogging Popular Content

A great way to find popular content and topics is by looking through the Explore section of Tumblr. This will show you where the popular kids hang out and how they got there. Taking content from these top users and reblogging it with a comment is sort of like drawing a mustache on your index finger…..Everyone is doing it. If you are a brand or just a user on Tumblr, it would be a goal to end up on this list.

2. Asking & Answering Questions on Followers Tumblogs

One of the biggest differences between Tumblr and blog platforms in general, is that Tumblr is a true social networking community. More often than not, the amount of followers one has is a direct result of how much effort and activity is going in. Having a growing list of people who you follow gives you an ample amount of content to reblog, and users to ask questions. Many users post their questions / answers live on their Tumblr. This exposes both the brand / user relationship. This can be a great idea to let the community know about excellent customer service. (This sounds awfully familiar to Twitter)

The reblogging process can be broken down into 4 Steps. Here is a lesson from popular Tumblr user, Rachel.

a. Search through your followers on your dashboard for the best content to be reblogged.

b. Reblog what is most relevant to you or your brand, with commentary of your own.

c. Watch the engagement between what you posted, your followers, and the original users followers.

d. Thank the community.

3. Participating in Tumblr trends

4. Using Popular Tags

Pay close attention to the tags underneath the posts of the people you follow. Many people tend to over use tags in their posts because they want to target a certain audience. The way to follow content that you might be interested in as a user is to type a tag into the top right corner and click “Track this tag“. Discovering what tags are popular and most commonly used will help to get content to show up on lists people are tracking. By using many tags, there is a greater chance of showing up on these lists and exposing your Tumblr to new sets of eyes.

While brands are slowly but surely catching on, the everyday Tumblr audience is not biting the bait. The immediate professional conclusion that comes to my mind, is that the brand has not fully integrated into a user on Tumblr. This reminds me of when brands on Twitter would not take the “persona” route and be very cautious of what they would tweet, when, how often, etc. As time went on, brands would soon develop themselves as personas on Twitter, giving users a way to interact and engage with the brand on the social network on a social level. It is totally normal for a brand to be cautious and stick its toe in the water to test the temperature, but it becomes inevitable to adjust to a social level in a social environment. More brands will engage and join Tumblr on a social level, and what works will work for brands and users alike.

Are you on Tumblr? Well then follow BlueGlass here!

* Top photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/smoy/


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