Tumlbr is a bold, egotistical beast. It may not nonchalantly parade around the limelight in the way Kanye West or Glenn Beck do, but it’s still a viable means of self-promotion directly centered on something specific. In most cases, that center is you, in others, your brand. Once you’ve taken a crash course in Tumblr 101 though, you can use the social media turned blogging platform as an outlet for releasing those staggering shots of your last trip to the frigid grasslands of Patagonia or that dense political rambling about the latest government shutdown you’ve been dying to get off your chest. However, what’s the point of unleashing a flurry of quality — and otherwise — posts if only your friend Janeane and some random dude in Bahrain occasionally stumbles over your blog in passing? We all want to love, and usually, we want a little love in return.
Here’s our quick-hit guide on how to get followers on Tumblr so you can amass a legion of fans and extend your digital reach beyond your inner circle of friends and the random passerby. It’s not foolproof, but a little fine tuning, engagement and digital word of mouth is sometimes all you need. Also, check out our brief guide on how to be Internet-famous with the help of social media — no matter the platform.
Step 1: Tailor your content
I want to tell you that your Tumblr blog is fantastic how it is, and perhaps that’s the case, but tightening its focus and giving it a specific sheen can do wonders for your popularity. Whereas creating your blog is one thing, crafting and refining its aesthetics is more comprehensive than one would think.
Specify your Tumblr blog
The best Tumblr blogs are those that avoid meandering across the board when it comes to topics. Choose something that interests you, something you can write or post about at length, and one that you think others will find interesting as well. Refrain from making it too specific — unless you desire the short-lived viral approach — but don’t make it all-encompassing either. Cooking, photography, and fashion blogs are perfect examples of topics providing focus without being overly restrictive. Think about what you want to share with your readers, what they might like to see, and if you can actually produce enough content to keep them coming back for more. A winsome photography blog depicting images of owls appearing exceedingly hungover can only go so far … or so I think.
Spruce it up
I’ll be honest, I’m a big fan of the Royal Cameleon and Strict freemium Tumblr themes — and apparently so is everyone else. Although the default themes are a perfectly suitable for a melange of blogs and casual users, consider opting for a premium theme as it likely give you a visual leg up on the competition and open the the door to greater creativity. Try not to pick something too staggering in terms of color and design, but don’t select a theme with absolutely no visual hook or appeal. Most themes allow for customization sans CSS coding, meaning you can alter textures and background elements using drag-and-drop interfaces and simple color palettes without prior coding knowledge. Additionally, think about your chosen user name and how it reflects on your blog. Is it catchy, professional, or relevant to your blog’s focus? You can even drop the “.tumblr.com” component of your blog’s URL if you purchase a custom domain name.
Show some original content
We’re not suggesting you reinvent the wheel here, but shading your blog with your own, individual color and personal flair from time to time isn’t a bad idea. While recycled content is indeed worthy of reposting from time to time, using the same exact meme of Scarlett Johansson crumbling to the pavement will likely render your blog just another soulless face in the crowd. Post what you truly think is worthy, and if you do post something that’s already saturating the Internet, add some commentary or personal insight only available on your blog. Your blog should be reflect of your own voice and character, even if it isn’t composed entirely of your own content.
Tag your posts
It’s a shame Tumblr tags don’t carry the same, culture-enriched weight as those adorning Instagram, and to a lesser degree, Facebook. Nonetheless, Tumblr tags are an incredibly convenient and an opportune tool for extending the girth of your reach and luring in potential followers. They essentially function like keywords, allowing users to search and scour your blog for specifically-tagged posts, while serving as umbrella terms under your blog will accompany others. Tags should be broad — like “animals” or “travel” — whenever possible to ensure they reach the largest number of users.
To tag a post, simply enter the appropriately-relevant tag in the bottom text field within the post editor and click the blue Publish button when finished. Suggestions of some of the more popular and common tags will automatically appear when you begin typing if you want to use terms already in existence. Users can then use the search bar in the upper-right corner of the Tumblr dashboard to peruse postings using the said tag.
Maintain quality, consistency, and variation
Just getting people to view your Tumblr blog sometimes seems like enough. If you want to maintain their interest and gaze beyond the initial view however, you need to ensure your posts have an air of quality and consistency synonymous with your blog’s direction. Obviously different blogs are going to revel in different aesthetics and motives, but you want to provide varied content in line with your blog. Proofread your work for misspellings and grammatical errors when posting text, ensure hyperlinks always direct users to the correct website and check to make sure images load properly on the page.
That being said, try to vary your posting format between the platform’s differing multimedia offerings (i.e. text, photos, quotes, links, audio, and video). Just because your Tumblr blog primary dabbles in humorous photos doesn’t mean you’re allowed to exclusively post images. Differing multimedia centered on the same topic helps break up redundancy and shows you’re well versed in other domains.
Step 2: Engage with others
Gaining new followers on Tumblr is a lot like making new friends in the real world … err, without the whole face-to-face interaction thing. Although you may gain the occasional follower or two depending on your content, you’ll become far more popular if you engage with the your potential audience on a multiple levels. Post often, respond often and engage with others whenever appropriate.
Follow other Tumblr blogs
The Golden Rule: do unto others as you would have others do unto you. The unspoken rule of Tumblr works the same way, meaning if you follow other bloggers, they’ll likely follow you in return.
To follow a blog, click the Find blogs option on the right side of the Tumblr dashboard, select a blog category from the right side of the page and choose one a blog from the resulting options. Alternatively, you can look up blogs belonging to your contacts using your Facebook or Gmail account, or if you have a specific blog in mind, search for it using the search bar in the upper-right corner of the Tumblr dashboard. Once found, click the Follow button with the addition sign in the upper-right corner when viewing a blog to begin following the respective blog.
Like others’ posts
Much like Facebook or Instagram, liking posts on Tumblr gives off an impression of sociability. Doing so also lets others know your paying attention and enjoying their posts, thus encouraging them to continue posting in the future and view yours in return. Additionally, the act of liking itself will be highlighted beneath the notes portion of the original post in question.
To like a post, click the gray heart in the bottom-right corner of the post as it appears on the Tumblr dashboard.
Reblog others’ posts
Reblogging is the wildfire of Tumblr, theoretically allowing your posts and others to go viral in a matter of minutes. It’s also a knockout way to curate your page early on and introduce yourself on the pages of others. Not only do reblogged posts automatically show up on your own blog, but the activity of reblogging itself will be highlighted beneath the notes portion of the original post in question. If users don’t reblog one of your posts or follow you in return, at least the initial poster and those who view the notes section will see your blog. Additionally, you can always reblog between two of your own.
To reblog a post, click the gray arrows in the bottom-right corner of the post as it appears on the Tumblr dashboard. Afterward, add any additional commentary and tags in the resulting window before clicking the blue Reblog post button at the bottom.
Show some common courtesy
Believe it or not, Tumblr has this thing called “community guidelines.” Not only does it lay outline improper behavior that can result in the determination of your blog, but it also serves as a stark reminder of common-sense practice you should exercise in all aspects of your Tumblr engagement. Be respectful and polite to others — to a certain degree anyway — and shy away from bigotry, spam, and overly sexual content. Also, don’t rudely lambaste your followers and peers because you disagree with something they say. You’re welcome to discuss things, just be careful about how you do it.
Step 3: Advertise
When we say “advertise,” we don’t mean it in the sense of late-night commercials for ShamWow or extensive, costly ad campaigns. Gaining followers has just as much to do with spreading the word outside Tumblr as it does creating a quality blog and engaging with your audience within the platform. It can even be performed automatically and instantaneously if properly set up through the right channels.
Share your blog with others
Chances are, you know Facebook, Twitter and the like better than the back of your own hand. However, did you know you can also crosslink the social media platforms so Tumblr posts automatically display on your Facebook profile and vice versa? Doing so will increase your exposure on both platforms, discreetly redirecting Facebook friends and followers to your Tumblr without your perpetual involvement.
To link your Facebook or Twitter account to your Tumblr blog, click the gray gear icon located in the upper-right corner of the Tumblr dashboard and select the blog you wish to link across social networks. Afterward, scroll down the settings panel and click the gray sign button corresponding to your social network of choice before logging in with the your chosen credentials. Although options will vary between Facebook and Twitter, make sure to check the various sharing options housed within each social network’s respective section once you’ve authorized the apps. If you’d rather, you can always forgoe the automatic setup and manually share each blog post individually.
Because long-form blogging has become a hallmark for some Tumblr users, it might be more appealing to reach out to your immediate family, friends, and coworkers than complete strangers on the Web. That being said, tell them about it! Let them know you’ve started a blog detailing your travels or project so they can remain in the loop about your latest endeavors. You may not want to tell everyone about your blog depending on the content, but often times people in your inner circle share similar interests and concern regarding the things in your life. Don’t be bashful — that’s not what Tumblr is for.
Share your blog on promo sites
It may feel like cheating, but utilizing a Tumblr promo site is a quick means of garnering a following. The sites are typically free and function as viable meanings of Tumblr networking, allowing users to post their blog’s URL with an accompanying short description or follower other featured bloggers. Most of the promo blogs are heavily saturated with URLs and already possess a core group of followers, but adding your name to the list can’t hurt. Though not guaranteed, following others will often resulting in them following you in return, as outlined in the “I follow back” portion coupled with nearly every description. Below are a few of the more well-known promo sites, as well as a couple of our favorites.
What do you think of our comprehensive guide to gaining more followers on Tumblr? Do you have an additional suggestion we seemingly left off the list? Let us know in the comments below.