Tumblr dash notifications/June 13, 2013

It’s not just knowing what to #share, it’s knowing what to #tag

A Tumblr adventure

Good social curators know a great piece of content when they see it. When I came across this image captured by the campus photographer during 2013 commencement ceremonies I couldn’t wait to share it.

Photo by Todd Paris

I knew this would be a perfect image to share on Tumblr. What I didn’t know was that it would become the most successful piece of Tumblr content I have yet to post.

A large part of that success came from how the image was tagged. Like other platforms tags are the method Tumblr uses to sort information.

One thing to know about Tumblr is that tag searches index only the first five tags of any post. Defining the post with those five tags is essential.

When tagging a post it’s crucial to not simply name the subject of the content, but highlight the ideas that spring from that content. For this post three were generic descriptions of the image: #graduation, #college, #Alaska. The other two concerned a couple of the concepts behind the photograph.


#Alaska Native - The subject of the photograph is a person not only born in the Last Frontier but also expressing the indigenous culture of Alaska in a unique way. Tumblr is a place for unabashed pride and I knew that this image would resonate with Native Americans using the site. And in fact most of the 250 interactions came after the image was reblogged by pages highlighting indigenous culture and political issues.


Using a tag I knew would be searched by a specific audience would get the content in front of eyes that could appreciate it. But it was also a chance to illustrate part of our brand message to that same audience: University of Alaska Fairbanks stimulates learning and welcomes creative minds.

The other concept tag was #regalia. By using this tag my goal was to reach an audience interested in traditional cultural clothing, different from the politics of the Alaska Native tag.

“a million times yes”

Tags like #clothing or #fashion or #fur may have resulted in some engagement, but regalia is a type of ritual garment and better served to identify what I felt was meaningful about the image.

Engagement! Reblogged and reblogged again with comments added.

What I learned today was the importance of having an understanding of how a social platform ‘thinks’. This allows me to use a kind of platform-specific SEO when sharing.

My knowledge of Tumblr means I am able to put a specific piece of content where the people I want will find it.

When users find the content they find the blog.

When users find the blog they find the brand.

And that’s the first step to creating a new brand fan.


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    Andrew Cassel

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    Multimedia Coordinator at University of Alaska Fairbanks