My brush with Internet fame and what Tumblr could do for you

Okay, Internet fame is definitely an overstatement, but I did make it onto BuzzFeed. Back in March, I was doing some online shopping between classes when I came across a video on American Eagle Outfitter’s website. It was supposedly an ad for their latest line of skinny jeans, which they touted as the skinniest on the market. Intrigued, I watched it, only to see a montage of legs and naked butts painted blue to resemble denim. Traumatized, I posted it about it on Tumblr before I headed to my next lecture.

 

The post got over 12,000 notes (an aggregate of reblogs and likes, think retweets andfavorites). This was quite a feat, considering I had less than 1,000 followers at the time. A staff writer from BuzzFeed had seen my post, wrote about it and named me as his source. But while the post and the notice that came with it temporarily satiated my personal, never-ending desire for attention on the Internet, American Eagle was the real winner.

 

Over the next couple hours and even days, news spread about the video. Internet news sites like Mashable and Huffington Post ran articles about it and many of them credited BuzzFeed as their source. American Eagle got an interview on The Today Show with the headline “Best Marketing Campaign Ever?” running across the screen.

 

But even if American Eagle can credit any of the attention they got to Tumblr, they didn’t directly post the content on the platform. A third party spread it around, and this is a fairly common practice. Despite how easy it is for the content on the site to go viral (with 116.6 million blogs and 185.6 million unique visitors per month), most businesses haven’t established a strong presence on the site at all.

 

Unlike Facebook and Twitter, Tumblr isn’t saturated with brands promoting themselves because no one has really hashed out what works and what doesn’t. The site itself just launched a new advertising platform for their mobile app:

 

 

I absolutely think more businesses should foray into the unknown territory though. Here are things you need to know before getting started:

 

  1. Content is king. Photos perform best and the ones that incite an emotional response are more likely to be shared. The content you create should be interesting, visually appealing (think pretty), shocking or funny. Humor tends to go a long way. (I have a process for deciding whether or not to share something trying to be funny. If it makes me laugh out loud, I’ll definitely share it on social media. If it only makes me blow air out of my nose audibly in half-laugh sort of way, I’ll probably keep scrolling.)
  2. Interact with followers and reblog their content. Every Tumblr user wants to gain followers and be reblogged. Unlike Twitter, your follower and following counts aren’t displayed publicly. So follow back! And interact! Reblog content that is applicable to your brand or aesthetic! Your blog should be a collection of content that you’ve carefully curated! Denny’s Diner has done a great job with this.
  3. Tag your content. The search feature relies on tags, not keywords. The feature only catalogs the first five tags on a post, so choose wisely! Also note that only original posts will appear in search results: if you reblog a photo and tag it #architecture, it won’t show up it the architecture tag.
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