In the social media space, one of the hottest newcomers in recent years has been a blogging network that believes in creative spelling: Tumblr. Launched in 2007, Tumblr is a free social media tool that allows users to not only create their own blogs, but also “follow” other blogs that interest them. To date, it boasts over 100 million blogs; even the President of the United States is on Tumblr. Here’s a rundown of what Tumblr can do for you and how to get started.
The Dashboard: Once you’ve created a Tumblr account, you can choose from a variety of readymade blog themes to represent your public Tumblr face. However, most people view posts from the blogs they’ve selected to follow (easily done by clicking “Follow” in the top right corner of another Tumblr blog) via their dashboard. Posts appear in chronological order, newest to oldest, and can be anything from free-form text to an image collage to a video from YouTube. Think of it as a hybrid of Facebook’s newsfeed and a traditional blog feed:
The Love: Facebook may be famous for “likes”, but Tumblr takes it one step further by allowing users to “love” a post, which is represented by a heart at the top right of each post.
The Reblog: While showing Love for a post is nice, reblogging is 10x better. When users like a post enough to want to share it with their own followers, they click the arrows to instantly repost (or reblog) it, with or without their own comments. And that number you see next to it? That’s a running tally of how many combined reblogs and love a post has received – it’s instant confirmation that your post is reaching people!
Like Twitter, Tumblr can be a little hard to understand until you actually start using it.
- Post something. Create a Tumblr account and start playing with the different posting options (Text, Quotes, Video, Photos, etc.). Don’t worry about being a pro at the start – once you begin posting, you’ll quickly pick up the nuances of what makes a great post.
- Follow. Find people and companies who consistently post things you’re interested in and that you may want to reblog. While there’s no guarantee that they will follow you back, this helps you become more engaged in the Tumblr community. To get started, check out the Tumblr directory (accessed from your dashboard) to find blogs sorted by category.
- Stay consistent. Like any social network, consistent posting is key to success.
Some Tumblr blogs to check out for inspiration:
Richard the Cat: Home Depot started this Tumblr around the holiday season 2012, depicting an orange cat names Richard saying sarcastic things about his human family. It was so successful, that they decided to run it year round. A great example of how something seemingly unrelated to a brand can be a huge image boost.
Etsy: Known as the go-to online shop for crafty people and the buyers who support them, Etsy posts a mix of featured items from their sellers and random interesting creative posts that rely heavily on images (which works since Tumblr is a highly visual platform).
Neil Gaiman: The cult author is all over social media, and usually coordinates updates to his Facebook, regular blog and Tumblr. His posts have a personal touch to them that make you feel like you’re following the exploits of someone you know in real life – a great lesson in how to engage with followers and keep their interest.