Many companies have jumped on the Pinterest bandwagon and have quickly built strong presences on the network. Whole Foods and Sevenly are two examples of how to succeed by emphasizing content related to lifestyle and company missions.

West Elm, a home decor and furniture store, has taken a different approach to achieving success on Pinterest. Rather than a mission or merchandise, West Elm has de-emphasized the business side and kept the focus of its account on social, sharable visuals.

With more than 40,000 followers, it certainly has strong numbers backing its success. Here are a few specific reasons why West Elm is so popular on Pinterest.

Focus on Art, Crafting, and DIY

Several of West Elm’s pinboards include images that link through to content about home decor projects that could inspire the other Pinterest members. This includes clever ideas about recycling, inventive applications of macrame, and suggestions for gardening or landscaping.

Not only does this mean the company’s images are highly sharable, but they also take the focus away from consumerism. It’s an unusual approach for a business social media campaign, but it reaffirms the importance of thinking like an individual. A person wouldn’t usually focus on a single brand or company in his or her pins, and a company can seem much more approachable by taking a similar approach.

High Levels of Activity

Another way in which West Elm functions like an individual on Pinterest is how it interacts with other members. Skimming the company’s Activity on the network shows that it frequently repins images from other accounts as well as posting original content. That high level of engagement is a good sign within a social network.

West Elm also frequently tags the accounts where it finds repinned images. That practice may be recent, based on the Activity page, but it’s a different way of increasing interactions on the network by giving a direct shout-out to the sources of great content. Apartment Therapy and Dezeen magazine, both in the same industry as West Elm, are frequently mentioned, just as a person might tag their close friends in their repinning.

The company also maintains a regular and frequent posting schedule, which may be part of the reason for its strong following. It seems that West Elm has put significant resources toward keeping its content timely, which means a casual Pinterest user would want to follow it in order to keep up.

Focus on Inspiration Rather Than Products

Yes, some of West Elm’s pins are from the company’s website. But the account is not focused on merchandise. The emphasis is on sharing ideas that are within West Elm’s industry. Whether the pinboards are highlighting ways to decorate your attic or examples of modernist decor, very few of the pins are explicitly driving purchases of West Elm products.

The same is true in the copy accompanying the pins. There is rarely any mention of the company’s name or product names in the text. In general, West Elm’s caption copy is minimal, leaving the focus on the image and wherever it might lead your imagination.

It’s also worth noting that pins with direct links to product pages are not just for West Elm’s merchandise. Some images link to other interior design studios as well. This policy of simply repinning good images, no matter the source, creates a positive impression on followers. It’s clear that for West Elm, Pinterest is not just for driving sales.

By emphasizing fun and creative decor ideas, West Elm has attracted the types of followers who could potentially become customers. Even if a follower never buys anything, the brand will have a good reputation in his or her mind as a source of inspiration. Especially on Pinterest, ideas and inspiration are two of the best intangibles you can advertise!

Do you know a company that’s a superstar on Pinterest? Let us know in the comments!

[Image credits: Jens karlsson, Satoru Kikuchi]