How one retailer made Winston the dog an Instagram icon

ModCloth created a culture on the photo-sharing app that goes far beyond its clothing, and recruited nearly 170,000 followers in the process. Credit a pug named Winston for some of that.

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The company isn’t interested in simply selling clothes through Instagram, says Julianne Murrell, social media and marketing writer for ModCloth. It wants to exemplify a lifestyle.

“We are our best customer, and because of that, the interest in a cultural connection is natural,” she says. “If we weren’t living and engaging the ModCloth lifestyle with our communities, from DIY to retro wedding inspirations and so much more, then we’d be a different company.”

As a result of that approach, Modcloth’s Intagram account has drawn nearly 170,000 followers in about two years.

Finding footing

ModCloth started its Instagram account in May 2011, after seeing several other companies join in and be successful. Initially, Murrell and her team simply focused on filling the stream with photos, but soon enough, they started thinking about a strategy for using the photo-sharing service.

“We worked across the buying, community, and photography teams to establish internal standards and guidelines,” she says. “Once the guidelines were outlined, we also encouraged anyone from the company to submit their own on-brand photos to an internal, open-collaboration group.”

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