Social Spotlight Series: @sharpie

There are lots of Instagram profiles. Few stand out.


Welcome to the next installment of our Social Spotlight Series! We’re excited to share the accounts that stand out in our feeds and our thoughts about what makes them successful. Our Social Spotlights focus on Instagram accounts that illustrate valuable lessons for entrepreneurs, influencers, marketers, and anyone who wants to optimize their Instagram. 


Today we’re talking about @sharpie, the infamous national permanent marker band. We love their Instagram and we’re excited to be hopping into an analysis of their game. Let’s take a look at how they bring their analog product to the digital world.


​Featured Profile Overview


The Sharpie Instagram account has 364,000 followers and a verified account. They have a large community that they can capitalize on. They post frequently and have a vibrant, colorful grid that draws on their large user base. 


Sharpie’s overall focus on their IG is to inspire. With many different examples of how you can use a Sharpie, the brand makes it easy for anyone who sees a post to see themselves with a Sharpie in their hand.


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The @sharpie bio includes the name of the brand and the tagline, “Uncap Sharpie & Go Big.” With a known brand, you don’t want to spend too much time discussing what you sell, which would just be stating the obvious. We like that Sharpie has a really short bio with a super-recognizable logo. 


Sharpie optimizes its profile with multiple campaigns that are probably full of community and collaborative content. For each of their highlights, they have very catchy and on-brand thumbnail images. All the images are differentiated but in the same style, and they’re all unique to Sharpie. 


As we scroll down, we love what @sharpie is doing on their IG grid. They’re showing a lot of user-generated content, which capitalizes on social proof. They’re showing user desk set-ups and art. It’s great to see how they break up their grid by using a mixture of color pops and neutral-heavy posts. 


We also like how they feature their products in a number of ways. They’re highlighting not only the full rainbow of their markers, but they’re also showing the different styles of pens and the different tips that they offer.


What We Think Is Working


Considering their whole IG page, @Sharpie has a strong style and great use of communal, user-generated content. It’s immediately clear that Sharpie’s not just a black marker – there are numerous products with numerous colors.


The most important takeaway from their community content is that they are doing a really good job at showing what’s possible with Sharpies. The message the page sends is that if you buy this product, you will instantly become an artist. They show what’s possible and give you ideas. Scrolling through makes us want to buy a set of Sharpies so that if we want to, we can create art.


 On their link tree, we instantly see bridge content from their IG that highlights their new products. The site itself gets an A+ for eCommerce functionality.


What Could Be Done Better


Sharpie isn’t leveraging their community in the form of giveaways. Hosting a competition would be a fantastic way to collect more user-generated content and to build a brand community, but we don’t see any evidence of @sharpie taking advantage of that opportunity. They also aren’t responding to their comments or offering product-packaging bundles.


On their link tree, their logo is a little small and the link tree page is all black-and-white. It’s an almost startling lack of color compared to their IG page, which is so colorful. 


We’re also not too hot on their website. The Sharpie site is pretty bare compared to their Instagram, so we’d give it a B- for creativity and accenting the artistic potential of Sharpies. The site is very boxy, doesn’t flow well, and relies on old perceptions of the brand. There’s no social proof or tie back to Instagram at all on their homepage. Yikes!


Analytics / Insights


Sharpie posts about 2-3 times a week. Their peak engagement times are right before and after lunch, and right after 3:00, which is when they’re posting. It makes sense that we see the most engagement around the time that they post. 


Even with 364,000 followers, their engagement rate isn’t too bad. They could increase that by replying to comments and hosting content.


Key Takeaways


While @sharpie has a strong IG grid, we did take off some points because there’s a lack of engagement. We would love to see Sharpie capitalize on these engagements to grow its brand audience and community. They should assign a community manager to go through all the comments and messages to give people ideas about what they could do.


Using social proof on their link tree page with colors that tie back to their grid would be a great way to improve their link tree.


From a product and campaign standpoint, it would be awesome to see some pre-packaged items, whether sold through Instagram Shop or not, like a coloring book and pens, or a coloring book and markers. That way, as an end consumer, I instantly have something to do with my Sharpie the moment I get it.


They’re doing great with using community content and only including a very short bio because of the brand recognition. We love their highlights and campaigns, but the best part of the @sharpie IG is that their photo grid inspires many different ideas of what you can create with Sharpie.


Tune in next week to see our next 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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