Tumblr, like Twitter, is a social network that allows you to build a brand around yourself. Unlike Twitter though, where the words are your brand, Tumblr focuses on content in a similar fashion to Pinterest. This allows for a more visual approach to whatever you might feel like talking about. But Tumblr does have some key differences, which might make it a little more difficult for you to stand out. Once you’ve taken a crash course in Tumblr though, you can use the blogging platform as an outlet for anything, whether you want to post beautiful photos from your last trip to the beach or more heady things, like debating the finer points of United States’ relationship with Russia. But if nobody’s seeing what you write, you’re just talking to yourself, no?
Below is our quick-hit guide on how to get followers on Tumblr, so you can amass a legion of fans and extend your digital reach. It’s not foolproof, but a little fine tuning, engagement and digital word of mouth is sometimes all you need. Good luck!
Step 1: Focus, man, focus!
Sure, your Tumblr blog reflects you, and it might be fantastic in your eyes, but does it really need to be as eclectic as you are? Probably not, and your personal Facebook profile would probably be better suited for that. Giving your Tumblr a focus and assembling content around a central theme makes it more interesting for strangers. Also, spending a little time on a design that complements the content within will keep people coming back for more.
Find your niche
The best Tumblrs 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 that provide 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. Take for example this Grey’s Anatomy Tumblog — it consistently posts still photos, quotes, GIFs, and video clips for fans of one of the longest-running dramas in TV history.
Spruce it up
Although Tumblr’s 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 opens 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 — or one that seems to contradict the content inside (like a photo-centric theme for a blog with a lot of written word, for example). Most themes allow for customization without coding, so you can alter textures and background elements using drag-and-drop interfaces and simple color palettes without knowing how to code. Additionally, think about your chosen username and how it reflects on your blog. Is it catchy, professional, or relevant to your blog’s focus? You might also want to consider a domain name, too. Tumblr allows you to link your own domain to your blog.
We’re not suggesting you reinvent the wheel, but giving your blog its own distinct voice is the best way to go. While recycled content is indeed worthy of reposting from time to time, try not to spend your time reblogging each and every meme on the internet. 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. Your blog should be reflect you, even if it isn’t composed entirely of your own content.
Hashtag, #but #don’t #hashtag #everything
Hashtags are a great way of getting your targeted content out to other Tumblr users. Like the way they’re used on Twitter, they’re best used when your content has a theme. Like most social platforms, followers that you have no real-life connection to tend to find you via the appropriate tags. That said, keep your tags broad, so that the biggest number of people can find them, but not too broad that they’re lost in a sea of other posts. At the same time, tagging everything is a faux pas you want to avoid. Your content should be able to stand on its own without needing a 1,000 tags just to get exposure. Remember, reblogs are the name of the game on Tumblr when you’re trying to build notoriety, so content is still king. Think of tags as just an extension of your content.
It’s also a good idea to use tags to organize your own content. Followers and onlookers will likely want to look through old posts. The best way to organize past posts is to use tags to create a customized web of past posts for people to look at and reblog. It’s also good for personal needs, such as when you’re going back and looking for a past post to make relevant once again or elaborate on more.
To tag a post, simply enter the relevant tag in the text field at the bottom of the post editor and click the blue Post 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 dashboard to peruse postings that are affixed with said tag.
Quality, not quantity
Just getting people to view your Tumblr blog sometimes seems like enough, but if you want to maintain their interest and loyalty, you need to ensure your posts have an air of quality and consistency synonymous with your blog’s direction. Different blogs are going to revel in different aesthetics and motives, but you want to provide varied content that falls in line with your blog. Proofread your work for misspellings and grammatical errors when posting text, ensure hyperlinks aren’t broken, and make sure images load properly.
Also, make sure you’re posting a variety of content types — i.e. text, photos, quotes, links, audio, and video — whenever possible. While text does well, studies tend to show that people seem to share and engage more with multimedia content. I hate to beat a dead horse here, but reblogs are what you want, and more engagements often equates to more reblogs and, in turn, more followers.
That said, keep in mind the aforementioned tip about themes. If your theme is more text-centric, try to stick to written posts, quotes, chats, and the like. If your theme is more media-centric, a consistent stream of high-quality photos and/or videos might be the better route.