Tumblr has more than tripled its audience in the past year —  it reached 13.4 million unique visitors in July, according to the metrics experts at comScore. It might not be a social staple to most marketers yet, but fashion retailers and media outlets have been taking advantage of its highly visual method of storytelling and other companies are starting to catch on.

Tumblr is a blogging platform that has found its niche in the crowded social media space by focusing on aggregating short content, such as photos and videos. The service also enables you to share text, links, quotes and even audio with your followers. By encouraging likes and reblogs it has created an opportunity for content to go viral. Its easily customizable and effortless-to-use interface has made it a gateway into the blogosphere for many.

According to Tumblr Media Evangelist Mark Coatney, about 20% of approximately 40 million daily posts on more than 27 million Tumblr blogs are related to fashion. While fashion companies seem the most natural for Tumblr – taking advantage of strong visual elements – there’s an opportunity for any company to use the platform.

The mom-friendly diaper brand Huggies takes advantage of the platform’s reblog feature by hosting contests. Users who reblog or comment on the brand’s posts are entered to win a slip-on diaper prize pack. Alternately record labels like Universal and EMI have taken to short-form blogging as well as General Electric, which shares a collection of Instagram photos showing off favorite and historical products from the company’s archives.

“Tumblr’s amazing for awareness,” said Philip Leif Bjerknes, digital director for the New York Agency All Day Every Day. “I’d say the content feels less disposable.” Bjerknes built the Tumblr for the Standard Hotel, which he cites as an example of how brands can utilize existing communities. The biggest value for brands is that the platform allows you to connect with your audience more intimately. In the Standard’s case, artist collaborators often produce content for the hotel’s Tumblr blog.

While Tumblr doesn’t offer robust analytics like Facebook, brands can track the number of likes and reblogs, as well as its total number of followers. The platform gives brands an opportunity to publish easily digestible and shareable pieces of content. Companies without strong visuals may not benefit as much as others, but we think the platform challenges you to get creative with your marketing strategy.

[Via: Ad Age, Image credit: Jennifer Elizabeth]