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Pinterest is one of the more misunderstood marketing platforms.

It doesn’t provide the direct in-your-face interaction of a Facebook account or the real-time conversations of Twitter, and many people who aren’t on Pinterest think of it as something superfluous and unnecessary. Borderline cutesy. But I’ve seen even the most skeptical of users come around quickly once they start pinning. Because Pinterest doesn’t just provide a way for consumers to organize their thoughts when they’re planning a wedding; it allows them to visualize and imagine what their whole lives could look like. 

In other words, a company that uses Pinterest well hits their ideal clients where it does the most good: in their hopes and dreams.


Companies are making an impact on Pinterest by building a sense of community between themselves and their customers by validating their consumers’ desire to have beautiful things in their lives, and then engaging with them as unique individuals. Alternative-fashion house Modcloth is doing that to great effect by showcasing their customers’ outfits as style inspirations with the hashtag #fashiontruth as much as through more traditional promotions and giveaways.

Modcloth’s greatest strength lies in its ability to draw on the creativity of its customer base, and Pinterest gives them the unique ability to leverage that. Modcloth’s #fashiontruth Pinterest hashtag allows consumers to take the fantasy of the “perfect Pinterest lifestyle” and make it a reality, encouraging users to find and share what makes them unique. Modcloth uses Pinterest to affirm their customers’ individuality, moving them to interact with content that connects them to people who share their worldview. For the Modcloth community, #fashiontruth isn’t just a marketing campaign; it’s a way to publicly express who they are through their clothing and get real-time validation from people around the world.

In addition, the way Modcloth uses Pinterest to show customers that there isn’t just one type of “Modcloth girl,” allowing them to make an impact with women of all shapes and sizes because every woman in those pictures is united under one #fashiontruth. 

That is powerful, and it builds an affinity community around the brand because of what the brand represents.

Pinterest works for Modcloth because it helps take a fashion house and turns it into a social movement. But, what if your company is already a socially-conscious community?


Brooklyn-based Etsy may have started out as an online flea-market made up of vintage-enthusiasts, and makers of all things, but it’s turned into a community where artisans and communities can interact on a deeper level. Etsy leverages Pinterest to knit it all together. 

Etsy has always been a socially conscious community made up of the sort of people who define the hipster sensibility. For them, Pinterest has to be about creating the links between a hat that was hand-felted by a woman in Brooklyn and a mirror pieced from reclaimed wood in Palo Alto. Etsy’s pins have three functions: to celebrate makers, to create the lifestyle fantasy for consumers, and to encourage people to join the community by inspiring them to make things themselves. In addition to pins of items made by Etsy artisans and Etsy bloggers, they pin blog posts related to Etsy or posts people in the Etsy community wrote that other Esty-ers might find interesting. 

Etsy uses Pinterest to serve their community – and to encourage its growth.

By creating a Pinterest that grows and develops the Etsy culture, they reinforce the vision of Etsy as a social movement, where everyone is ready to become a part of the culture, and no one is excluded. This unites the makers, consumers, and connoisseurs, giving everyone a forum where they can discuss, showcase and visualize their artisanal lives through social sharing and communication. Where Modcloth encourages everyone to discover themselves on Pinterest, Etsy invites you to discover Etsy.

You can do this, too! As a visual platform, Pinterest is perfectly suited for any business where the aesthetics of the product are a big draw, whether it’s real estate, flooring, or yes, artisanal teapot makers. Pinterest works for both Modcloth and Etsy because they not only show what their consumer’s lives could be like, but what they already are. By emphasizing the uniqueness of their consumers they promote content that promotes itself as it gets pinned and re-pinned, each unique consumer making it their own.

That’s how you build brand loyalty before a single purchase has been made. And that means that these companies will be the first people their Pinterest followers think of when it’s time to finally buy.

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