Using Tumblr to Inspire Fan Activation
By Kat French
Last week, we discussed the maturing social media landscape, highlighted in a recent report from Spredfast. This week, we’re taking a deeper dive into their findings on Tumblr, a microblogging platform which is home to over 231 million blogs and 108 billion posts.
Tumblr skews young and passionate, and is well known for active fan communities surrounding books, television series and movies. While Gen-X fandoms congregated on forums and discussion boards, millennials geek out over their shared passions on Tumblr. Typically, using an extensive number of animated GIFs. Sharing content (aka “reblogging”) is the primary activity on Tumblr, which makes it both extremely viral and a perfect platform for fan activation.
So, to better understand the nature of Tumblr we’re going to dive into how major television networks are utilizing the network to their advantage.
Start with a question
When I was digital marketing manager at CafePress, I quickly discovered our fan-created content related to hot television and movie properties like The Hunger Games and Supernatural met with a warm welcome on Tumblr. But would fans appreciate or resent direct engagement from “official” accounts for these properties? That’s the big question Spredfast sought to answer.
Is it worth the time for television shows to engage with the Tumblr community, if their fans are already proactively sharing content?
“Is it worth the time for television shows to engage with the Tumblr community, if their fans are already proactively sharing content?” Media brands need to know if having an official presence boosts fan activity, or inhibits it.
Arriving at a clear answer was more complicated than you might think.
The time and place for being original
The report analyzed almost 300 Tumblrs dedicated to 85 current television shows, from traditional broadcast, cable, and streaming services. The key metric for engagement on Tumblr is “note counts.” “Note counts” measure how many times a post has been liked or reblogged. However, attribution for shared content is cumulative. In other words, original content shared by official network accounts adds to both their own note counts and the fan accounts who share it.
Because fan Tumblrs function as curators, they pull the best content on a topic from multiple sources. Network Tumblrs post more original content — they’re half as likely to reblog content than fan Tumblrs. But those fan Tumblrs are incredibly prolific, posting from four times as many sources as network Tumblrs.
This means that looking at note counts alone makes the fan Tumblrs appear more popular than network accounts. By diving deeper and looking only at original content, it turns out network Tumblr accounts get 32 percent more reblogs than original fan-made content.
The key to fan activation
Clearly, the presence of official TV show accounts is a vital source of the original content, which fan accounts use as a springboard. The Tumblr community of superfans doesn’t just engage with official TV show accounts, they do so enthusiastically. Official accounts have much bigger interaction rates than fan accounts.
The key to fan activation on Tumblr is creating a centralized, dependable source of original content for fans to enjoy and share. These findings showcase a clear opportunity for media brands to take advantage of the high volume of activity on Tumblr to create deeply-engaged, passionate fan communities around their IP.
Image content is the most popular shared content type on Tumblr, and there’s no question the popularity of animated GIFs has helped it grow as a natural fit for television and movie fandoms.
We’re only skimming the surface of the potential for Tumblr. If you want to really learn the in’s and out’s of this dynamic channel we recommend Downloading the Free report from Spredfast. Who knows, you might just find your place among the Tumblr stars.
Huge shoutout to our friends at Venngage for helping create these stellar infographics.
While Spredfast is a sponsor for this post, all opinions are true and our own.