Tumblr is a very different network from Facebook, Twitter, or other social networks that are dedicated exclusively to visual content.
What sets Tumblr apart is the creative freedom it gives users to design the way their content is displayed. This creative license is what draws users to the network and entices them to find and share great content.
To be successful, brands can’t just take a cookie cutter approach to Tumblr and repost content from other networks. Brands must think about Tumblr differently.
1) Think Engagement Over Audience Size
On many networks, growing your followers and fans is a primary concern because audience size is the limiting factor for creating awareness and distributing your content.
Tumblr is a network for discovery, where user reblogs amplify your content well beyond your own audience.
Although you should work to build a following on Tumblr, when you think about audience, focus on the size of the audience reblogging your posts (your engaged audience).
How content is distributed is what sets Tumblr apart from other networks. Our recent Tumblr study showed that 60% of reblogs on brand posts take place on other users’ blogs.
Amplification plays an even greater role on Tumblr than on Twitter, because of a longer content shelf life. Our study found that 29% of all reblogs took place on brand posts made more than 30 days earlier.
2) Focus on Original, Shareable Content
The tendency for brand posts to get rebroadcast is what makes Tumblr such a powerful network, and what makes it imperative for brands to create original, shareable content.
On Tumblr its not enough to just repurpose content, or curate third party content, because that will only serve your direct audience.
More emphasis must be placed on creating original content that will continue to be associated with your brand when it appears on other users’ blogs.
3) Deliver Content Creatively
The way that you package your content can be enough to capture users’ attention. The creative delivery of visual content (custom theming, GIFs, etc) can impact a post’s shareability.
Creating an interactive experience with theming (example, Sprite):
Using multiple elements to create a visual experience for users (example, MTV):
Providing a richer product experience with the use of GIFs (example, Tiffany & Co.):
Also keep in mind that a long shelf life means that timeless content can succeed on Tumblr where it will still be relevant when it’s discovered weeks from now.
4) Find The Best Times to Post
Find the best times to post, and post regularly. Reblogs from your direct follower audience will get your content out there, make sure you’re in touch with when they’re most active.
Posting frequently makes it more likely your posts will capture users’ attention. The more good content your produce, the better the odds that you will see it continue to get shared.
Remember, people are on Tumblr to discover great content, don’t feel limited to one post per day.
5) Connect With Your Influencers
Identify the people who are reblogging your posts and measure how many reblogs of your content are occurring on their blog.
Visit blogs that are driving amplification for your own content, and follow them to understand what type of content they’re producing for their audiences.
Take the time to like, comment, or reblog posts that are relevant. This can help create a connection with influential users and a place for your brand within the Tumblr community.
Tumblr gives users the opportunity to be creative and challenges brands to do the same.
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