Home Marketing How to use Tumblr – 9+ Tips for Beginners

How to use Tumblr – 9+ Tips for Beginners

by Sandra Iakovleva

You’ve probably heard that Tumblr is more of an anti-blog. Maybe you’ve just heard about it and want to get started with your own account. Is it a blogging platform or a social network? In short, it’s both just as it is both a blog and an antiblog. You’ll learn all the basics you need to have an up and running page as well as useful tips to get you started.

It’s also worth noting that Tumblr is more popular with the younger generation, those below 25. If you’d like to include Tumblr in your marketing strategy, or simply want your own page for inspiration, this Tumblr guide is for you.

tumblr marketing strategy

How to Use Tumblr

1. Setting up an account

The registration is beyond simple – all you need is your email, username and password. The only issue you might encounter is the availability of usernames. However, tumblr does give you suggestions for similar usernames that you can choose from to create an account right away.

tumblr registration

Tumblr of course wants to make sure you’re not a robot. You’ll need to confirm your age and do the standard ‘find the images with all the cars/storefronts/roads’. Mind you, the process can stretch for some time.

tumblr registration process

2. Find your interests

Next, tumblr will offer you accounts that you can follow to get started. You have to choose a minimum of 5 topics, but you aren’t limited to any number above that. You can also choose subcategories once you click on the main topics.

tumblr topics interest

When you click Next, tumblr will build you a feed (your dashboard). Here is what it will look like and all the functions you need to get familiar with:

tumblr dashboard

This is the home screen you will see once registration is complete. That’s how easy it is to get started! You might want to spend some time looking for the right accounts to follow so that your feed will be relevant.

3. Getting familiar with the dashboard

Your dashboard will appear as the home screen on Tumblr. The feed is similar to Facebook’s, where you will see the latest uploads from accounts you follow and popular posts that might be of interest to you.

The dashboard is a fascinating place because that’s how you discover new accounts. You can decide on what theme you prefer (more on that later), as well as how other successful tumblrs are adapting their pages and curating their content.

A great place to start exploring is the Explore option which looks like a compass at the top of your screen. You can search tumblr using the search bar, or see the Recommended For You option at the top of the screen.

tumblr feed explore

4. Your first post

Now, you’ll want to make yourself known to the tumblr community, and the best way to do that is to create your first post. If you look at the top bar, you will notice that you have your post types split up into the following categories:

post categories in tumblr

  • Text post
  • Photo post (or multiple photo post)
  • Quote post
  • Link post
  • Chat/dialogue post
  • Audio post
  • Video post

Although it is advised to experiment with different post formats, keep in mind that tumblr is generally very visual. In this sense, it is very much like Pinterest. Determine what kind of a post you’d like to make, and pick the appropriate category. Everything about posting on tumblr is quite intuitive and you shouldn’t have any difficulties.

While we’re digging around the basics, take a look at the top of your brand new page. You will see a menu where you can navigate through the home feed, the Explore page, inbox, direct messages, personal activity and account settings. Again, all of these options are self explanatory but are the basics of tumblr layout that you should get familiar with.


5. #careful #with #the #hashtags

Hashtags are everything on tumblr – it’s how you get your content discoverable for other tumblr users. They’re best used when there is a running theme throughout your page. Other users will be able to find you based on the tags they’re searching for, so use multiple tags.

On Tumblr, it’s advisable to use quite broad hashtags, unlike with Pinterest. The broader your hashtag, the more likely your posts to be discovered. You have to spend some time on Tumblr looking through feeds to get an understanding of the perfect broad hashtags, and ones that are just way too broad. You don’t want to get lost in the feed.

  • As you enter your hashtags, after each individual one, you have to put a comma to separate them.

tumblr hashtags

Keep in mind that your content should speak for itself, and not require a million hashtags. Tags are just another extension of your content, and it’s key to getting reblogged. Reblogging is what it’s all about on Tumblr.

Hashtags are a good way to stay organized. If your page is quite thematic, users will be more likely to look through your whole feed and follow you based on common interests. Tagging posts is really easy. This is done by adding hashtags below your posts, in the post editor. You will also get suggestions of popular tags which makes your job that much easier.

6. Customizing your design

One of the differentiating features on Tumblr (unlike other social networks) is that you get to personalize your page by choosing either a custom theme or a premium one. The later is a paid option but gives you more room for customization. There are lots of great and free themes to work with, so don’t get hung up on the premium option.

Under your username, you will see ‘Untitled’, if you move your cursor there you will see the ‘Edit Appearance’ option. Here is where you will be taken next, and you can see what your current page looks like to other users.

tumbrl customization

Here is what your page will look like when you change the header image, the avatar, title, and description:

tumblr page

To change your theme, you will have to look through the different themes available. Changing this will change the appearance of your page (not in the feed) but with your domain name. The tumblr themes are made by tumblr or fellow tumblr enthusiasts.

You also have the option of fine tuning the little details such as your username, language, timezone, visibility and other little tweaks.

tumblr themes

Click the Themes button at the bottom of the screen. You can choose from Categories either free or premium Tumblr layouts.

tumblr free themes

Once you’ve chosen your theme, click Preview to see what it will look like and once you’re happy with the appearance, click Install.

tumblr themes appearance

Here’s a very simple theme that will work with visual content:

tumblr simple themestumblr simple themes

You can come back and reedit your theme as often as you’d like. You also have the option of editing each free and premium theme, but it requires some knowledge of HTML and CSS. It’s much easier to customize a theme on your own than it is to build one from scratch. If you like your working theme, run with it and if not you can see tumblr’s guide on editing themes.  

7. Staying active

The obvious starting place to explore tumblr is your own dashboard. On there, you can reblog content, post your own and find blogs to follow. The best strategy to follow if you’d like to make a dent in the tumblr community is to post often, respond equally as often, and engage with others on a constant basis.

tumblr community

There is an unspoken rule on tumblr – once you follow people, it’s likely they will follow you as well if they are active.

One of the first things you should probably do is a little bit of research into similar blogs with your theme or your interests. You can also check the Recommended For You section to see if there are blogs that might be of interest. Once you decide you want to follow a blog, click Follow in the upper hand corner of the page.

Recommended For You section

Staying active means liking other posts as well. It’s not enough to just post, you have to become a member of the community. Be a good Tumblr! Reblog other posts as well, especially if they are good memes;) This can be done using the two arrows in the bottom right corner of any post.

reblog other posts tumblr

8. Curation

We’ve loosely covered this point earlier, but tumblr is very much about how you curate your content. You can reuse your content from your other social networks, or create your very own visuals to stay in line with the nature of tumblr.

See our post, and start creating your own content. Tumblr is after all, another way to express yourself and get artistic. You can start by customizing existing templates, or use Crello as a simplified version of more complex design tools.

Creating your own content should be fun! Original content might inspire more reblogs and get your name out there. It’s not necessary to have a completely coherent account, but it is important to have an up and running theme, or a niche.

If you’re really organized and could use several blogs, there’s a convenient way to curate multiple pages. Simply go to Dashboard on your account page and click Create a New Blog.

9. Tumblr for business

Yes, you can also use tumblr to promote your business. In fact, many businesses miss this opportunity which is why it’s good to get on board right away. For one, you get a great tool to expand your reach and work towards building yet another community while working at brand recognition.

The main difference between Tumblr for business, is that you have to do a lot more research. Look into your competitors. If they have Tumblr accounts, what are they doing well and what can you build on and improve? You also need to get an understanding of the types of posts that are relevant and popular in the industry you’re working in.

tumblr for businesstumblr for business

Tumblr for business works if you have a young demographic (remember, it’s mostly under 25). For this reason, your content should be a little bold, sometimes even funny and not all about blatant advertising. You can advertise on tumblr, but do be subtle about promoting your branded posts.

Never post brand specific posts, as it’s likely no one will bother reposting. You can still brand your content, you just have to do it subtly. Mostly, the things you post should be inspirational and appeal to tumblr’s target audience.

The secret to a successful Tumblr business account is visuals. If you can add humor to it, all the better. You will quickly learn that you have to apply a different strategy if you’d like to integrate your brand into it. Other than that, you follow all the same steps mentioned in this article.

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