Social Spotlight Series: @robertgrahamnyc

There are lots of Instagram profiles. Few stand out.


Welcome back to the seventh installment of our Social Spotlight Series! We’ve decided to start highlighting accounts that stand out in our feeds so we can share insights about what makes them successful. Our Social Spotlights focus on Instagram pages that have valuable lessons for marketers, entrepreneurs, influencers, and anyone else who wants to optimize their Instagram.


Today we are featuring @robertgrahamnyc, a high-end retailer of custom clothing at the forefront of design innovation. Robert Graham’s one-of-a-kind prints and lush textiles have built a loyal fashion following over the years.  Scrolling down their Instagram, we’re awed by the bold use of color and patterns that prove their clothes aren’t just for wearing – they’re art. 


Robert Graham’s photos are gorgeous, but are they doing everything they can to take advantage of Instagram as a marketing tool? Read on for an evaluation of their strengths and weaknesses, and see if you can gain any insights for yourself.


​Featured Profile Overview


Robert Graham’s account has attracted 29,000 followers. The intricate details and the bold statements of their shirts, especially, immediately lure the viewer in to take a closer look. This company releases items in limited-edition spurts, similar to Supreme. 


Their intentional organization shows how they’re confident in their position at the cutting edge of fashion. The brand usually utilizes two or three photos, as well as videos and motion graphics, to tie their campaigns together with their releases. 


As you scroll down through the feed, aesthetically not only do you get a great feeling of where they gain inspiration from, but it also accents all their different clothing for men and women. 


From exploring their Instagram, we know that no matter what their customers are super hyped for all of their new releases. To be able to order an item, you have to sign up on the waiting list, which creates a lot of anticipation, and customers are excited for it.


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What We Think Is Working


As far as using Instagram to advertise, where Robert Graham really excels is customer engagement. Every customer comment gets a reply, which takes time and energy, but has an impressive effect of cultivating a strong community around the brand. 


No matter how many questions are asked, and no matter how many times they’re asked the same question, Robert Graham’s team responds to every person, which builds more connections. They comment back on compliments, too. 


They have an advantage in this approach because they are product-izing social proof. Social proof is people engaging in the comments, liking, tagging, and sharing. 



The hype built around these limited campaigns really works. It’s similar to the Michael Jordan shoe campaigns. People are excited about getting early access to a product, and they see that other people are excited about it too, and that’s what gets them to engage. 

Robert Graham takes advantage of people who post themselves in their pieces. Wearing Robert Graham is a statement because people immediately know it’s a Robert Graham shirt. 


Considering their Instagram as a whole, they do a nice job of keeping everything clean. They put a lot of work into their Story Highlights, which show what their company is all about.


What We Like (And What Could Be Done Better)


What’s most impressive about Robert Graham is that they aren’t selling clothing – they’re selling art. The brand consistently shows through their posts that their clothing is inspired by art. It brings in the conversation and pushes the hype mentality forward. Art is totally subjective, and creating hype around a particular aesthetic works for Robert Graham.


The categorization of this clothing as art enables the brand to create a universe where the hype and social proof drives product sales. It’s clear that this is working on their Instagram, although their bio lacks details about the company’s mission and identity. But is it working on their website? 


When you first open up the website, you’re immediately hit with a pop-up in the first five seconds, which is like many other e-Commerce sites. Since Robert Graham is trying to distinguish itself from other stores that just sell clothes, this is a mistake. We also think that pop-ups are more effective when there’s exit intent or purchase intent.


On top of that, the design of the website could use improving. While their Instagram is clearly a work of art, the feel of the website is corporate. It’s similar to Macy’s, Polo, Gap, or other retail giants and a mismatch for the aesthetic and mission found on their Instagram profile. 


If it were a different brand’s site, it would check all the boxes. However, it doesn’t feel like art. It’s much more materialistic than what’s on the Instagram page. Instead of a pop-up with an offer, maybe they should have a load page with a graphic. 


The hype beasts don’t necessarily need to know the mission, but there’s still a disconnect from the Instagram and the immediate impulse to fill in the blank is that they sell clothes – not art or an identity. 


When people land on the site, they should immediately be faced with the “This is art, not clothing” statement – and right now they’re not.


Scrolling through the rest of the home page, it’s clear the rest of the site is optimized for conversion – possibly too much. Considering the design as a whole, it seems like the site optimized too much for conversion and not enough for community. If they weren’t operating in this niche, then this would be a 9.9/10, but this lack of connection to the Instagram and the company’s unique selling proposition make this type of design a mistake.


One last area where the Robert Graham site could improve is their connection to social. They don’t utilize all the social engagement until the very bottom of the website, where you can see their Instagram photos. Because they’ve done such a good job cultivating a strong community on Instagram, it’s a missed opportunity. 


However, their Instagram is still a strong reflection of their core identity. While they’re missing out in their bio, but they make up for it in their content and campaign planning.


Analytics / Insights


With 29,000 followers, Robert Graham’s boldly artistic pieces have captured many eyes.  Their videos typically garner over 1,000 views, and their photos attract likes in the low hundreds, which is nothing to sneeze at. Most posts also garner several follower comments.

What’s driving this energy besides the stunning photos? Well, their captions shine like the Swavorski crystal buttons on their shirts. Clean, precise descriptions of the details their products feature, as well as short shoutouts, create a space for engagement.


Key Takeaways

  • Robert Graham’s profile is a major success. Their product photos are stunning, their campaigns are clear, and they are ultra-responsive in their community engagement.
  • While their Instagram game is strong, their website feels like just another clothing brand. It loses the essence of the brand – it’s no longer the art statement embodied on Instagram. 
  • To make their website feel less corporate, Robert Graham should remove the pop-up that appears in the first five seconds to change that big-box store impression. Then, they should work on a design that clearly emphasizes the artistry of their products.
  • Their strength lies in the hype they create around each new release, and the releases are so successful because the products are distinctive works of art. Walking down the street, if you see someone in a Robert Graham shirt you know it right away, and that’s critical to their success.


Tune in next week to see our eighth installment of the Social Spotlight Series. Join our mailing list to get Goodwin knowledge and insights like this delivered straight to your inbox!

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Manipulation has made it so we can barely even remember how much time was spent with one person before moving onto another or scrolling through social media posts for hours at a clip without any break from virtual reality whatsoever! The price? Our humanity.

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