By Julie Holt Lucia
Tumblr. You may have seen this word online and wondered what it was. “What’s with that silly name,” you probably asked yourself, “and why can’t they just put that e in there where it belongs?”
Well, wonder no more! Tumblr is a short form of blogging, with a social media twist. (The name is short for “tumble log,” just like blog is short for “web log.”) More than just a clever name, it’s a unique way to blog, and it doesn’t cost a thing to join. A Tumblr blog can help you create a distinct marketing point of view for your studio, allowing you to showcase it in a way your customers haven’t seen before.
Blogging platforms abound, allowing users to write about whatever they like and publish it online. Tumblr though, is set up for users to do more than write posts. Although users can easily post text, as with traditional blogs, they can also post photos, quotes, web links, and snippets of music and videos.
Tumblr will pique your customers’ interest if it is easy to find, looks neat and inviting, and has a clear focus.
To sign up, all you need is a valid email address and about 30 seconds. One of the first things you’ll do after that is familiarize yourself with the “dashboard,” or home page for your account. This is where you can customize the look of your blog and begin posting. This is also where you will view the posts of other Tumblr blogs you choose to “follow.”
From the dashboard, click on your blog name to update your settings—add a “portrait” photo, choose your URL name, and decide whether to share posts on Facebook or Twitter. Some of the most important settings are the interactivity choices. Only Tumblr users can interact with each other, although the blogs themselves are public. (Individual posts can be public or private.) You may allow followers to reply to your posts, ask you questions on your blog, or submit posts to your blog.
Take a look at other Tumblr blogs to see how the interactivity works. Although interactivity is at the heart of social media and can keep your blog moving at a lively pace, it also requires frequent maintenance since you’ll want to ensure that the content posted by other users is appropriate.
Once you’ve set up your account, give some thought to your blog audience: are you trying to attract new customers or cultivating your relationships with existing clientele? Or both? Being clear about your goals will help you tailor the blog.
If you already use other forms of social media to market your studio, think about using Tumblr with a slightly different approach. Instead of marketing your school as a whole, try homing in on one particular feature so that the media you post will present a fun, yet professional, perspective of your school. Consider some of these ideas:
• An in-depth look at your studio boutique, with photos, descriptions, and featured items.
• “Behind the scenes” photos at your recital, other performances, or during dance travel.
• Class-related photos, videos, and quotes.
• Faculty interviews with photos and quotes (for example, finishing this sentence: “I love teaching dance because . . .” or “My favorite dance moment was . . .”).
You can get as creative as you like, but remember that as with any photo or video marketing, you’ll need signed releases from your students’ parents before using any classroom or performance images. Never use a child’s name without permission.
As you begin posting, keep in mind that “tagging” is important on Tumblr, in order for posts to be easily categorized and searchable. To tag, use a hashtag symbol (#) in front of a subject, either in the body of your post, or at the end. (For example, let’s say you post a recital photo. Your post might include the tags #performance #recital #2012.)
As a marketing tool, Tumblr will pique your customers’ interest if it is easy to find, looks neat and inviting, and has a clear focus. Choosing just one aspect of your studio to promote will give your blog a special appeal and keep people coming back for more.
Silly name or not, Tumblr can be a seriously creative marketing venture for your business.