It’s no secret that I have a deep love for the vast, crazy, opinionated, and often clique-y world of Tumblr.
Okay just kidding, you can definitely sit with us. Just avoid the Harry Potter fandom, they don’t mess around with spin-off theories.
When I was offered the opportunity to manage a brand’s community on Tumblr, I was excited to build a tribe. While the start-up of any new channel for a brand is reliant on a healthy dose of ad spending to get things moving, creating a personal connection is entirely up to the community manager. How do you reach out and make a personal connection on Tumblr? How do you reply to comments without sounding like a brand drone? There are a few ways to accomplish this, and I’ll guide you through them.
Does anyone remember the excitement of logging in to MySpace and seeing these little buddies waiting to make your day the best day ever?
If you’re asking, “What is MySpace?” it was likely before your time. Or you didn’t enter the social media world until 2005. Direct messages feel exactly like this:
It’s exciting to see that someone has reached out to you. Most users have an ask box, although some have theirs turned off, and subsequently have destroyed any chance of making Internet friends. We’ll get to those people in a bit. Simply type /ask at the end of any Tumblr user’s URL, and you’ll find their ask box.
Direct messages can be sent anonymously depending on the user’s settings, but that option isn’t necessary for a brand. Remember to use direct messages sparsely, and be genuine in your response. The drawback is that the user can decide to reply publicly or privately. If you’re trying to create a public connection and accrue goodwill, and the user replies privately… no one will know how nice and active you are with your community. Luckily, there are other options to work around this possibility. An example of a direct message can be found here.
Screenshot & Post
In the event that someone doesn’t have an open ask box, or you’re worried they’ll keep your kind words hidden from the public, you can engage with users through their public reblog comments by taking a screenshot of their comment, and posting it with additional commentary. This option functions just like any other image post on Tumblr, but can be tailored to be a direct public engagement, without clogging up your follower's Dashboards with repetitive content.
How, you ask. How!?
Upload your screenshot of the comment in question. Add an additional meme if you’d like. Add in the copy of your reply. Tag the user’s Tumblr handle (yeah, that’s a thing now on Tumblr). BAM. Instant friendship, and all your followers can see it. A great example can be found here.
The greatest vote of confidence you can give someone on Tumblr is to showcase their content on your own page. Reblogging a post from someone is an excellent way to engage with their content, and add a bit of yourself to the conversation. A popular trend on Tumblr is to start with a simple comment, and through the wonders of community interaction, create a story or build upon what was originally posted. It’s sort of like playing telephone, but with content!
Okay, not that telephone. Beyoncé can wait while you queue reblogged content for a consistent post schedule. There’s a plethora of incredible content out there to engage with! You can find an example here.
Keep in mind whether you choose to send direct messages, screenshot and post reblog replies, or simply reblog someone’s awesome piece of content and add to it in some way—engaging with the vast community on Tumblr can get a little addicting. Just remember to bill your time at the end of the day.