Thursday, March 3rd, 2016 | 6 min read
When the Nickelodeon show, The Legend of Korra, ended in 2014, fans demanded to know the answer to one question: Was the relationship between main characters Korra and Asami romantic or platonic?
Instead of addressing the question in an interview or blog post, the show’s creators talked to their fans directly where they already gathered to discuss the show: Tumblr. The two creators each published lengthy responsesthat collectively generated over 200,000 shares and likes.
This isn’t a lone case. Tumblr has become a haven for fans of many movies, TV shows, and web series. Viewers flock to the platform to share their opinions and fan art, giving entertainment brands a wealth of user-generated content to learn from—and even feature—in their own campaigns. Lionsgate was a pioneer of this strategy, using Tumblr to create a multi-issue digital fashion magazine for The Hunger Games franchise.
These are some of the most innovative ways entertainment brands use Tumblr to reach their audiences.
On Tumblr, brands can share a range of multimedia content, from text posts and videos to GIFs and picture sets. With this array of formats, Tumblr provides a blank slate for entertainment companies to create blogs catered just for their audiences.
The Cartoon Network series, Steven Universe, runs a blog called Steven Crewniverse, which is full of behind-the-scenes content like storyboards from specific episodes, GIFs of how the animations come together, and directanswers from the writers about how they outline their episodes.
These blog runners must be doing something right, considering Steven Universe was named Tumblr’s most reblogged animated TV series of 2015.
While Twitter is often the go-to platform for live-tweeting, Tumblr can be thought of as the place viewers go after the show is over to share their longform thoughts, unique fan art, and fan fiction. Smart brands embrace these consumer creations as part of their marketing strategies.
BBC America also takes advantage of user-generated content to promote its series, Doctor Who. People who want to start watching it now can be a bit intimidated, since the show has been running for over 35 seasons. To help out, the show’s Tumblr includes a #NewToWho tag, which is entirely composed of posts reblogged from new Who fans and advice for those just diving in.
What better way to engage fans of a creepy sci-fi show than with a Halloween-themed contest? That’s exactly what the Orphan Black Tumblr orchestrated after the show’s first season. On October 31, 2013, fans were invited to share their scariest fan fiction with the tag #OBFic. The best fics were reblogged from the show’s official Tumblr, and some writers were rewarded with exclusive merchandise.
As a result of Orphan Black’s Tumblr outreach, the blog saw a 22X increase in engagement during the show’s second season, generating over 750,000 likes and reblogs from over 140,000 fans.
Everyone loves free stuff, and no one deserves it more than your most loyal fans.
To tide viewers over until the third season, the Tumblr for the YouTube series, Carmilla, invited fans across the globe to enter to win a Christmas DVD bundle. The bundles included all episodes from the first two seasons, behind-the-scenes photos, interviews, and extended cuts.
To be eligible to win, users had to reblog the post announcing the giveaway. This post generated over 4,000 likes and reblogs, spreading awareness not just about the contest but also the series and the show’s Tumblr itself.
The best way to carve out your brand’s space on Tumblr is to find your audience, listen to what they love about your content, and figure out how to create a dialogue through thoughtful and interactive campaigns. Who knows? Your marketing department may even find its next big talent. Orphan Black, mentioned above, is currently holding a contest for fan-designed posters for its new season.
Most importantly, if your consumers are talking about your brand and your content on Tumblr, you should be there to join the conversation. Be it through calls for submissions, free giveaways, or Q&A sessions, it’s always best to let your audience know that you hear them and care about what they have to say.