Instagram is constantly evolving and that means your Instagram strategy should be, too. An Instagram audit is a great way to check on things and see how your methods are performing, as well as optimize them for better results in the future.
Regardless of your goal, if you don’t evaluate your strategies and whether or not they’re currently working, you won’t be able to make the necessary adjustments. This is true of anything in life— you’ve got to measure your progress and check your results to ensure you’re on track to meet your goals.
You should conduct an Instagram audit periodically to see where you are currently at and where you want to expand. Checking out your metrics and measurables allows you to adjust accordingly and make your profile even more reputable and competitive.
In this article, we’re going to discuss the ins and outs of an Instagram audit, including what areas of your Instagram you should be looking at. We’ll also explain how to set measurable goals, analyze your content, followers, branding, and offer some tools that can help you optimize your strategy.
What is an Instagram Audit?
To begin, we’ll discuss what an Instagram audit actually is. In simple terms, an Instagram audit is the evaluation of different areas of your profile, including:
- Your followers
- Your content
- Your profile and branding
Examining these areas through an Instagram audit you’ll be able to clearly determine whether you’re meeting your goals on Instagram. If you’re meeting the targets regularly, that’s great news— an Instagram audit can still help you to make specific adjustments that optimize what’s already going well.
If you’re not meeting your goals, you can take the insight you gain from the Instagram audit to change things up and increase your results.
When you conduct your Instagram audit, you should aim to answer questions like the following:
- What is my engagement rate?
- Is my follower count higher, lower, or just where I aimed it to be?
- What pieces of content are getting the highest levels of engagement?
- Is my profile’s branding clear and attractive to my target audience?
Instagram offers analytics to all professional accounts called Instagram insights. While they are useful, you’ll need to actively track them, which can be a bit tedious. When you do an Instagram audit, it may be helpful to use third-party Instagram tools to help you collect and analyze your account’s data and metrics.
Why Do an Instagram Audit?
An Instagram Audit will aid you in measuring your profile’s current performance and it’s progress in comparison to the goals you have and also top competitors in your niche. When you do a thorough Instagram audit, you’ll be able to evolve your marketing strategy in a much more effective and informed way.
Here are the benefits of each different area of an Instagram audit.
Benefits of Instagram Follower Audits
When you take a close look at your Instagram followers, you’ll be able to determine their composition as well as the following:
- How many fake followers you have
- Who your primary demographic is
- What your followers like, want, and need
- How many influencers follow you
When you identify and remove fake followers you’ll be able to improve your brand image and gain a more accurate perspective into who your real followers are and how to make them happy.
WHen you know more about your followers’ demographics, likes, and dislikes, your content will be more tailored to your audience and can deliver better results.
Last but not least, when you check your profile for influencers that follow you, you can consider which influencers you can use for future partnerships and for possible networking opportunities in the future.
Benefits of Instagram Profile Audits
Your Instagram profile is the main thing that a user will see when they are deciding whether or not to follow you. An Instagram audit of your profile will help you to assess the effectiveness of your branding, overall look and feel, and other elements of your profile.
Doing an Instagram audit of your profile is pretty straightforward because there is a certain amount of information that you should review and that’s it. You should look into:
- your username
- Profile picture
- Link in bio
- Instagram story highlights
- Overall look, branding, and aesthetic
Once you audit these elements of your Instagram, you can make any necessary adjustments to your profile to make sure that you can effectively communicate with and attract your visitors.
Benefits of Instagram Content Audits
It can be very common that we get stuck in the habit of posting the same content type over and over without considering that it’s not the most effective way to reach our audience and captivate our followers + new users on Instagram.
By doing an Instagram audit on your content now and then, you can avoid this problem and even begin to have more creative and innovative ideas for your content. When you do an Instagram content audit, you should consider the following two questions:
- What content is working (high like count, increase in followers, strong reach and impressions, etc.), and why?
- What type of content isn’t working, and where is there room for new content opportunities?
You should mainly consider here which type of content is performing well, and why it’s doing well. It may have something to do with your target audience and what their needs/wants are. When you understand how your Instagram content is performing, you can decide where you have an opportunity to grow and adjust your strategy, making it all the time more effective.
How to Conduct an Instagram Audit
Now that we understand some of the main benefits of a comprehensive Instagram audit and what it entails, we’re going to walk you through doing one on your own.
We’ll discuss 6 primary steps that you’ll want to go through when performing an Instagram audit on your profile, followers, and content. Let’s get started.
Step 1: Establish Your Objectives
The first, and arguably most important thing about doing an Instagram audit is to establish a clear goal for the audit. If you don’t have any clear goals for your audit and/or your Instagram in general, you won’t be able to gage your success against anything.
The whole idea of doing an Instagram audit is to direct your brand towards a strong performance that delivers results through Instagram, so you have to first have a clear understanding of what success means for your brand and what your overall goal(s) should be.
One of the best ways to develop measurable goals for your Instagram (and pretty much anything in life) is to use the SMART system. The SMART system for setting goals is based around the acronym SMART, which stands for:
These five qualities will help you to ensure that your goals are based on real metrics and measurables so that you can gage your performance in direct connection to your goals and take concrete steps to reach them. Vague goals aren’t reachable.
For instance, if you have a goal such as grow my Instagram, it’ll be way too tough to determine whether or not you’re actually doing that. Plust, what actions should you implement? It’s a bit too broad.
You can make this goal measurable and more specific to your business by adjusting it to something like grow my Instagram follower count by 1,000 to direct traffic to my blog. You should also set an end date for that, so perhaps this goal you should reach in one month.
This means that it’ll be easy to check on the progress of your goal by the end of the month; if you don’t have 1,000 more Instagram followers, you won’t have reached the goal that you set.
Using SMART goal setting can help you to be clear about what you’re trying to do with your Instagram and use your Instagram audit more effectively to make sure that you’re accomplishing what you need to. Your Instagram insights will be more actionable and relevant to your overall business goals as well.
Step 2: Start with an Instagram Follower Audit
It’s no secret that there are plenty of fake Instagram profiles out there. In fact, according to a recent study it’s estimated that there are roughly 95 million bot accounts on Instagram. It’s not hard to spot them, and these types of accounts can actually harm your Instagram growth.
When you have a lot of fake or bot accounts on Instagram, your Instagram analytics will be skewed because you won’t be able to get a true understanding of your real followers. What’s more, you’ll also have lower engagement rates because these fake accounts won’t be interacting with your content or helping you reach your goals.
For these reasons, it’s important to do an Instagram audit of your followers specifically. While most people think that having any followers is good, it’s much better if you rid your account of fake and bot accounts because they can actually hurt your performance.
When you do an Instagram audit for followers, you can identify the fake followers and remove them, making sure that they don’t hurt your brand image. It’s easy for people to pick out when followers are fake, and even if you didn’t buy Instagram followers, real users that check out your account may think that you’re trying to be deceptive in terms of how many authentic followers you have.
This means that your credibility can be lowered, so it’s important to get those followers off of your account. There are a variety of ways that you can do an Instagram audit of your followers, and the following tools can help you immensely.
The second step of a successful Instagram audit is to remove fake followers and understand who is actually following your account. The two Instagram follower tools will allow you to do just that.
This Instagram audit tool helps you to estimate how many fake followers you have on your profile by checking your follower-to-engagement ratio against your niche or industry’s average. If the ratio is off or seems lower, the tool will let you know that your followers are fake.
If you have suspicious followers that may seem fake or don’t engage, FakeCheck will alert you of that as well. You can take advantage of their tool by signing up for free. Once you know the quality of your followers, you can use a tool like Social Audit Pro to help you weed them out.
Social Audit Pro
Social Audit Pro helps you to manage your Instagram followers through an algorithm that is based on engagement and activity levels. Your followers can be flagged as dormant, highly suspicious, or somewhat suspicious.
Once Social Audit Pro scans your followers, you’ll then be able to select the followers that you’d like to remove, which will save you tons of time instead of going through and removing them all by hand.
You can set the tool to remove a particular number of followers per hour or per day so that your follower count doesn’t take a huge hit all at once.
After you’ve removed the suspicious or dormant followers that you wish, you can use Growthoid to help you expand your reach and connect with real, authentic users in your target audience.
Growthoid uses expert growth managers coupled with state-of-the-art AI technology to get you more real Instagram followers.
It’s a very simple process: you’ll give Growthoid your targeting instructions so that they can create a campaign that gets you relevant followers who will be interested in your content and engage with it.
You’ll get more contact with your target audience and you’ll get natural and organic Instagram growth.
This is how Growthoid can help you to connect your brand with real, targeted Instagram users who like content and profiles that are similar to yours.
Step 3: Audit Your Content
The third step in your Instagram audit, now that your goals are set and your follower count is clean, you’ll be getting down to the nitty gritty of your Instagram profile— your content. It’s not a surprise that Instagram content is the most important factor in your Instagram success, although it can be influenced by other things.
When you are using Instagram for marketing or business, you’ll spend most of your time creating content for your account to provide value to your followers. You’ll need to know what your followers want to see, what works, and what doesn’t so that way you can harness your Instagram growth.
When your content doesn’t appeal to your followers, it’s time to make some changes to your strategy if you want to reach your Instagram goals. This is where the Instagram audit can help you.
Use the Right Tools
When you are doing an Instagram audit of your content, you’ll likely want to take advantage of some third-party tools. Instagram insights can help you to have a basic understanding of your content strategy, but there may be some ways you want to expand on that with outside tools.
There are a few different tools that can really provide you with actionable data and insights that will help you to make better decisions for your content, including Sprout Social and Iconosquare. Both are extremely well-known for Instagram insights and analytics, and many of the biggest companies out there use them to keep their Instagram content constantly evolving.
Sprout Social is an excellent option because it has a lot of comprehensive tools as part of a robust and intuitive platform, but if you’re looking for a budget-friendly choice that is a bit more exclusively for analytics only, Iconosquare is an excellent choice.
Check Your Hashtags
Hashtags were first used on Twitter in 2007 and they still remain a key pillar on Instagram if you want to expand your content reach and impressions. That said, it’s vital that you do an Instagram audit on your hashtags to ensure you’re using the best ones for your niche.
While many people just use the basic, popular hashtags, this can actually hurt your performance. When you use a popular hashtag like #beautiful, there are so many posts coming out with the hashtag that the feed will get refreshed very quickly and your content gets pushed down too quickly to be seen.
Not only that, it’s hard to target your audience with general, popular hashtags because so many different people are viewing them. You’re better off using hashtags that are targeted to your niche.
If you don’t know what type of hashtags are best for your content and/or niche, consider using a hashtag tool like Task Ant. They can give you the most current information from the Instagram API about the hashtag performance and other important metrics.
You can generate hashtags that will work better for your content and even create sets for easy posting on different types of content. Task Ant is the leading Instagram hashtag tool, so definitely take advantage of their services.
You’ll want to do some tests on your hashtags to see which ones get you the best results, so it’s a good idea to test out the hashtags and then do another Instagram audit to see how it went. You can use up to 30 hashtags per post, but it’s generally agreed upon that 11 is a good number. Try a few different strategies and see what works best for you.
Review Your Captions
Another vital part of your content is your captions. Your captions, although not part of the visual element of your Instagram, serve two important purposes for your content: to engage your audience through expanding on your content, and also to direct your followers to take some action, commonly known as a call-to-action (CTA).
When you do an Instagram audit on your content, take a hard look at your content and what the captions were. Which content had better performance, and does that have anything to do with the captioning you decided to use there?
Is the copy that you created for your caption engaging and interesting? Does it tell a story that connects with your audience? If not, it’s not likely that your followers will be inclined to follow your CTA.
Furthermore, are you using a CTA in each of your captions? If not, make it a goal to include at least one CTA in each post that relates to your content and Instagram goals. Make sure that your captions and CTAs are consistent with your brand voice and image.
Step 4: Analyze Your Profile
After you take a good look at your content, you’re ready to go onto the next part of your Instagram audit, which is to examine your Instagram profile in detail.
When a user visits your Instagram profile, they should know within seconds what your brand is all about and have access to the information that they need. This means you should be looking at your profile picture, username, bio, link in bio, Instagram story highlights, as well as your profile cohesion and overall aesthetic.
Because Instagram is a visual platform, you have to make sure that the visuals of your profile are professional and attractive, and that includes your profile picture. You need to instantly give a representation of your brand through your profile picture, so consider using a nicely-designed logo. If you are an influencer or a lifestyle figure, you want to use a high-quality image that represents your personality.
If you don’t give the right first impression with your profile picture, you will look less professional and your results will suffer.
Your username is what people will use to visit your account, so it should be memorable and also communicate your brand identity. Make sure that your username is connected to your brand when you are doing your Instagram audit.
If you’ve already got an established presence with your username, it’s probably not a good idea to change it, unless it’s really disconnected and you have to make it better for your overall purpose.
Your Instagram bio is also very important for people to understand who you are; it’s also really vital to share information and relevant details with your followers and viewers. You can use up to 150 characters, so you need to be concise and effective.
You want to be engaging, memorable, and direct. Consider using emojis to minimize word count and also don’t forget to put any external links in your bio, as it’s the only way to use a clickable link on Instagram.
Link in Bio
You can use your link in bio to link out to any external website that’s relevant to your business or content. There’s only one link allowed, but using an Instagram link directory can help you to create one link that will send your followers to a directory with all relevant external sites and social channels.
Some common tools to consider when doing your Instagram audit for link in bio include linktr.ee, linkin.bio, and url.bio. There are quite a few to choose from, so consider which one can give you the aesthetic that you find appealing and branded for your profile.
It’s really important to take advantage of a link directory on Instagram because it can expand your offerings to your followers and get them to take additional actions on external sites from directly within Instagram.
Definitely evaluate this during your Instagram audit.
Instagram Story Highlights
Instagram stories are very important for your Instagram profile, and when you pin them onto your Instagram profile, it gets put in a circular album called Instagram story highlights. These will be displayed right below your IG bio and above your content feed.
This means that you can use previously-posted Instagram stories for later viewing; this is excellent when you want to have pinned information that your followers need access to. For instance, maybe you want to highlight one of your different restaurant locations, or you want to feature a collection of clothes or products that are recently out.
Make sure to look through your Instagram story highlights during your Instagram audit and ensure that not only is the content sufficient but also that you have branded and appealing IG story highlight album covers that align with the aesthetic of your profile. They should captivate your users and also represent your brand.
Profile Cohesion and Aesthetic
It’s really important to review your profile’s cohesion and aesthetic when you do your Instagram audit. You need to make sure that your Instagram profile looks good as a whole, as that is what people are going to be taking in when they visit your profile. This includes all of the elements that we’ve just discussed plus the overall look and feel of your Instagram content feed.
For instance, if your username is @bigredbag, and your profile picture has red and warm tones but your profile feed is full of cool colors and mismatched greens and blues, you’re not going to have a consistent Instagram aesthetic. You won’t be meeting the mark here on cohesion.
Always try to use similar filters or editing tools so that you keep a consistent visual appeal. Create an Instagram theme that makes sense for your brand image and also make sure that the photos look good together. Using a visual scheduling tool like Later can be a big help here.
Don’t ignore this— it can truly have a big impact on your professionalism and your account’s credibility. What’s more, it’s been shown that a consistent brand image can generate up to 33% more in revenue, which is a big deal.
Step 5: Check Your Posting Schedule
Now that your Instagram audit has taken a look at content as well as your profile, it’s important to evaluate your posting times and see how well it’s working. You should never be posting your Instagram content at random; you need to understand your audience and their particular usage behaviors to create an effective content schedule.
When doing your Instagram audit, consider first how frequently you post. Are you posting too frequently, or not frequently enough? You can take a look and see how many posts you uploaded within a certain time period and if it met your posting goal.
In addition, you should also think about the right times for your industry and when your audience is online. You want your content to go live when a majority of your audience is likely to be browsing Instagram to gain visibility for your content right out of the gate.
You can view this information on Instagram insights when doing your Instagram audit or you can use an outside tool that we mentioned earlier like Sprout Social, Iconosquare, Later, etc. You can also check out our blog post on Instagram posting times to help guide you.
Step 6: Audit Your Engagement
Congrats! You’ve made it to the last step of your Instagram audit, which is to take a look at your engagement. Instagram is built around socialization and interaction, so you have to remember that this is a huge driving factor in your Instagram performance.
In order to make your Instagram audit as valuable as possible, you want to take a look at how your brand is engaging with your followers, users, as well as influencers in your niche. You also need to know how users are engaging with you.
When doing your Instagram audit, ask yourself and answer the following questions:
- Are you reaching out and working with other brands in your niche? If not, why? If yes, which brands bring you the most success and results? Are there any other brand partnerships that can help you be even more fruitful?
- Are you responsive to your followers in comments and DMs? You really need to make sure that you are responsive to your followers and don’t ignore them. If they leave a comment, like the comment or respond. If you get a DM, make sure that you respond in a timely manner.
- Are you participating in conversations on other Instagram accounts? You can increase visibility for your account by participating in conversations on other Instagram accounts in your niche or that are trending. When you comment on those posts, people will see your username and can engage with your and/or visit your profile.
- Are you partnering with influencers? If not, why? If yes, which campaigns or influencers have delivered the best results? Are there other similar influencers you can start to partner with?
- Do you give your followers opportunities to engage with you? Do you keep your followers active on your profile through engaging CTAs? Do you create Instagram stories that include interactive stickers like polls, questions, etc? Do you go live on Instagram to connect with them? Think about how you give them the chance to be active on your profile and to build a relationship with your and your brand.
If you discover through your Instagram audit that your engagement isn’t so great, try out some of the following strategies to give it a boost.
Giveaways are one of the best ways to get more followers and engagement quickly. While you can’t do a giveaway every single day, it can help to generate interest in your account and boost your levels of engagement as well as follower count.
Typically a brand will offer something as a gift and in order to be entered, the user will need to do some kind of engagement, including commenting, tagging a friend, sharing the post, etc.
This strategy is so effective because you don’t have to do much and you’ll be getting engagements and exposure from your audience directly.
Contests are very similar to giveaways, but instead of just giving away some item to a follower, the winner will be determined by judging the user-generated content (UGC). These contests can generate a lot of interest in your account because it creates a UGC campaign
An Instagram takeover is a great way to get more reach for your content and get people talking about your account. This is where you give control of your account to an influencer or other notable figure for a few hours or a day.
This will help to expand your audience and get more exposure through the influencer’s following and you’ll likely get more followers and engagement after doing a takeover.
Last but not least, branded hashtags can help you to get more UGC and have another channel for content related to your accounts. You can create a branded hashtag that is specific to your business and they are commonly associated with campaigns for giveaways, contests, etc.
Some brands that have utilized branded hashtags effectively include Coke (#shareacoke), H&M (tag @hm and #HMxME), Old Navy (#bodequality), REI (#optoutside), among others. Check them out and see how branded hashtags have helped them and their Instagram strategy.
Final Thoughts: Doing an Instagram Audit Helps You Tremendously
It’s important that you regularly perform an Instagram audit on all areas of your profile to understand how your account is helping you to reach your business goals and expand your reach on the platform.
If you don’t take the time to evaluate your strategy and understand your Instagram performance, you won’t be able to take your tactics to the next level and start to generate more success through Instagram.
Follow the Instagram audit steps in this guide to gain a comprehensive understanding of all things related to your Instagram and align your actions with concrete data.