The Definitive Guide To Conducting An Instagram Audit
Reading Time: 12 minutes
An Instagram audit is a way to check in on the progress of your social media marketing efforts. No matter what you’re trying to accomplish, it’s important to set aside time to evaluate what’s working and what’s not. For example, if you’re trying to train for a marathon, you’d likely want to check in with a trainer every now and then. If you’re trying to grow your business through Instagram, you need to conduct an Instagram audit.
Periodically conducting audits on your Instagram profile can help you both see where you stand currently and create benchmarks that will let you more accurately measure your progress in the future.
We’ll break down the Instagram audit process from A to Z. We’ll explain how to set goals, analyze your content, followers, and branding, and provide some tool suggestions that will help you along the way.
What Is An Instagram Audit?
Put simply, an Instagram audit evaluates three different parts of your profile:
- Your followers
- Your content
- Your profile’s branding
By examining each of these three aspects, you can more clearly see whether you’re meeting your business goals. If you’re generally meeting your targets, you can take the opportunity to fine-tune and optimize what’s already working. If you’re falling short, you can use the insights you collect during your audit to reinvent your strategy.
While you conduct your audit, you’ll typically answer questions like:
- What is our engagement rate?
- Is our follower count above, below, or exactly where we hoped it would be?
- What types of content are getting the most engagement?
- Is our profile’s branding clear and intriguing to our target audience?
Instagram’s built-in analysis tools are, unfortunately, a bit lacking. So, an Instagram audit will typically employ third-party tools to aid in the collection and analysis of the relevant data.
Why Run An Instagram Audit?
An Instagram audit helps you measure both your profile’s status and its progress compared to any goals you may have set. When done properly, an Instagram audit provides insights that can guide your continued marketing strategy.
Benefits Of Instagram Follower Audits
Taking a deep look into the composition of your followers offers four important insights:
- How many fake followers you have
- Who your followers are (demographics)
- What they like
- How many influencers follow you
By identifying and removing fake followers, you can improve your brand’s image and get a more accurate idea of who your real followers are. Then, by investigating your followers’ demographics, likes, and dislikes, you can plan out content efforts that are more tailored to your base.
Finally, scoping out your followers for influencers can help you come up with new contacts for future influencer campaigns.
(image source: analisa.io)
Benefits Of Instagram Content Audits
It’s extremely easy to get caught in the habit of posting the same type of content day in and day out without realizing that it’s ineffective and not worth the investment. Instagram content audits attempt to nip this problem in the bud.
An effective content audit should answer two questions: what’s working and why? While simply identifying the types of posts that are most effective is certainly useful, it’s even more important to recognize why that content is performing well. An Instagram content audit helps you cut your losses on content that isn’t working and redirect your energy to more promising strategies.
Benefits Of Instagram Profile Audits
An Instagram profile audit examines the branding on your profile page to ensure that your business’s purpose is clear to anyone that visits it. Profile audits are a bit more straightforward than the other kinds because there is a limited amount of information to cover: your profile picture, bio, link in bio, highlights, and whether your profile follows a consistent theme.
After conducting an audit of your Instagram profile, you’ll be able to rework your profile to better communicate your purpose with your visitors.
How to Conduct An Instagram Audit
Now that you understand the what’s and why’s behind Instagram audits, here’s how to do one yourself.
Step 1: Establish Your Goals
Without a clear goal in mind, it’s impossible for any endeavor to succeed or fail. While avoiding failure may seem appealing, remember that you’re also avoiding your success.
The overarching purpose of an Instagram audit is to point your brand towards success, so the first step is always to define what success is.
Using the SMART system is one of the best ways to set goals. SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-based. Essentially, it’s a way to ensure that your goals are based in reality and aren’t too lofty or vague.
For example, a goal of “grow my Instagram” may not be specific enough. Fix this goal by making it more measurable, achievable, and relevant to your business, and set an end date. “Grow my Instagram follower count by 500 to direct traffic to my ecommerce store within one month,” is a much better goal to set. Now you have a goal that you can measure your progress against. At the end of the month, if your Instagram follower count isn’t 500 followers higher, and you’re not getting more traffic to your site, you have not reached your goal.
When you set SMART goals, you can direct your Instagram audit towards accomplishing a specific task. This will help keep your insights actionable and relevant to your business goals.
Step 2: Conduct An Instagram Follower Audit
According to a recent study by Ghost Data, it’s estimated that a whopping 9.5% of all Instagram accounts are fake. This means that it’s more than likely that around 1 in 10 of all your followers is fake as well. While this may not seem like too much of a problem, there are a few issues that come along with it.
First, if roughly 10% of your followers are bots, any analysis you run on your followers will be skewed. In some cases, you may end up wasting a lot of effort trying to reach out to a certain demographic that turns out to be entirely fake. Fake followers add a lot of noise to your data set and prevent you from seeing a clear picture of your audience, so it’s essential to get rid of them during an Instagram follower audit.
Want to organically grow your Instagram and gain REAL followers?
Secondly, having too many fake followers can hurt your brand image. Even if you didn’t purchase fake followers, visitors to your profile won’t know that. If a visitor sees a huge follower count with very little engagement, they may assume that your brand is engaging in deceptive business tactics. Regardless of what conclusions a visitor comes to, having a lot of fake followers comes across as suspicious, and it’s not a good look.
That’s why the second step in any Instagram audit should be to purge your account of any fake followers. Luckily, there are a few tools that can make your Instagram follower audit easier.
FakeCheck estimates how many fake followers you have by comparing your follower-to-engagement ratio to industry averages. If the ratio doesn’t line up with the industry average, the tool will alert you that you have a significant number of fake followers. If your followers are suspicious, you can employ another tool like Social Audit Pro to remove them.
Social Audit Pro
Social Audit Pro uses an algorithm based on engagement and activity levels to flag followers as dormant, highly suspicious, or somewhat suspicious. Once your scan is completed, you can select which followers you want to remove and set the tool to remove a specific number of followers per hour or per day so as not to drop your follower count too suddenly.
After you’ve removed your fake and inactive followers, you can use a tool like Kicksta to ensure you’re attracting real followers only.
Kicksta uses analytics and automation to help you attract more real followers.
The process is simple. First, Kicksta finds profiles that are similar to your own. Then, the tool auto-engages with those profiles’ followers. Since you’re engaging with real people, some of them will naturally follow you back.
In this way, Kicksta helps connect your brand with real Instagrammers who are already following profiles similar to yours.
Step 3: Audit Your Content
Next up is the meat and potatoes of your Instagram profile: your content. As an Instagram marketer, most of your energy will be dedicated to creating content for your profile, so it’s important to get a clear idea of what works and what doesn’t. If your content isn’t resonating with your followers, you need to rethink your strategy.
Use The Right Tools
To successfully audit your content, you’ll typically need to use some third-party tools. Although Instagram’s built-in analytics tool can get you started, it only covers the bare essentials.
To really get some actionable data, we recommend using Sprout Social or Hootsuite for analytics. Both are industry leaders, and some of the biggest companies in the world rely upon them for their Instagram insights. Overall, Sprout Social is a more expensive, comprehensive, and robust platform, but Hootsuite offers similar features for a more affordable price.
Check Your Hashtags
Hashtags are essential to extending your reach on Instagram, but not all hashtags are created equal. While it can be tempting to target only the most popular hashtags, it can often be more beneficial to go after more niche hashtags that have smaller followings but more engagement. Ideally, you’ll want to combine both strategies. You can use any of the analytics tools we’ve mentioned so far to get an idea of whether you’re using effective hashtags.
If you’re not sure which hashtags you should be using, you can use a hashtag generator. Additionally, you can compare your current hashtags to the ones you get from the generator to see if you’re on the right track.
Fine-tuning your hashtags is a bit of an art. You don’t want to use too many or else your post can come across spammy, but if you use too few, you’ll miss out on reaching a larger audience. Data seems to indicate that the ideal number is 11 hashtags, but feel free to play around with this to see if you can get better results.
Check Your Captions
Your captions serve two purposes: to engage your audience and to direct them to complete a specific action (a Call to Action or CTA).
When auditing your content, evaluate whether your captions serve these goals. First, is your copy engaging? Does it tell an interesting story? If not, no one will read far enough to get to your CTA.
Second, do you have a CTA in every caption? If not, focus on including CTAs in every post unless there’s a very good reason not to.
Step 4: Analyze Your Profile
When someone visits your Instagram profile, they should get a clear idea of what you’re all about. You can analyze your branding by looking at your profile picture, username, bio, link in bio, highlights, and whether you have a consistent theme.
Join 10,000+ savvy Instagram marketers
If you are struggling to get the attention you deserve on Instagram, sign up for Kicksta today and start attracting more followers who are interested in your brand.
Instagram is primarily a visual platform, so you should ensure that your profile picture is eye-catching and immediately communicates what your brand represents. For most brands, this will usually be your logo. If your profile picture doesn’t create the right first impression, your entire profile will suffer as a result.
Your username should first and foremost be easy to remember, but it should also communicate your brand identity. Check to see whether your username aligns with your brand when conducting your Instagram audit. However, don’t change up your username unless it’s truly warranted as such a drastic rebrand can make it harder for your current followers to find you.
Your bio is your opportunity to directly communicate who you’re as a brand to your followers and visitors. A good bio is punchy, engaging, and concise. If your bio doesn’t meet these criteria, consider changing it up.
Link In Bio
Instagram only allows one link in your bio, so it’s important to make the most of it. However, thanks to the many new link-in-bio tools out there, you don’t need to make a tough decision between linking to your newsletter signup page and your free trial page.
With tools like url.bio, you can use your one link to connect your followers to several different pages. When someone clicks your link, they’ll be presented with a landing page with links to several different pages that they can choose from.
Using link tools is an important part of Instagram marketing as it greatly expands what’s possible with your sole link. If you’re not already using a link-in-bio tool, you should carefully consider whether it’s worth investing in one during your audit.
Instagram highlights are stories that are saved and appear at the top of your profile right above your posts and below your bio. Highlights are useful because you can point the spotlight on some of your best posts without hoping your visitors scroll through all your content and happen to find them.
When compiling your Instagram audit report, consider whether your highlights are giving off the right impression. Often, visitors will use the highlights to evaluate whether they want to dive further into your page, so you should ensure that they’re engaging, captivating, and representative of your brand.
Profile consistency straddles a fine line between being part of your content audit and your profile audit. When visitors view your profile, the first thing they’ll notice is the overall aesthetic. This encompasses all of the profile elements we just covered, but it also includes the general look and feel of your content.
Want to organically grow your Instagram and gain REAL followers?
For example, if your Instagram username is @yellowteacup, and your profile picture features a vibrant yellow, but you only post black and white images, you’re giving off mixed signals. This would be an example of poor profile consistency.
It’s important to ensure your profile maintains a singular aesthetic or theme that lines up with your brand as a whole. A consistent brand presentation has been linked to 33% increased revenue, so this is not something you should overlook.
Step 5: Check Your Posting Patterns
Post scheduling is as much an art as it’s a science. While there are some general guidelines to follow, schedules also need to take the specific behaviors of a particular audience into account.
When compiling your Instagram audit report, evaluate whether you’re posting too frequently or not frequently enough. You can gain insight into this using the analytics from scheduling tools like Hootsuite, Later, and Planoly.
Additionally, you should also consider whether you’re posting at the right times for your industry. The audiences of different niches all have their own viewing habits, so your Instagram audit report should examine whether your posts are going live during your industry’s prime time.
Step 6: Audit Your Engagement
Instagram is a social network, so it’s important to remember that your profile doesn’t exist in a vacuum. To truly make the most of your Instagram audit, you should take a look at how your brand engages with your followers and other influencers in your niche.
In your Instagram audit report, you should answer the following questions:
- Are you partnering with influencers? If not, why? If yes, which campaigns have yielded the best results? Are there other influencers that are similar you could reach out to?
- Are you reaching out and working with other brands in your niche? If not, why? If yes, which brands have you seen the most success with? Can you think of any other brands that may bring similar results?
- Are you responsive to your followers in comments and DMs? Take a look through your DMs and see how quickly you reply. Then, look at your comments and evaluate whether you’re replying and liking a reasonable amount of them.
If your Instagram audit report indicates that your engagement is lacking, you can try out these techniques to drum up some more.
During an Instagram takeover, a brand allows an influencer to take control of its account. Ideally, this will bring over some of the influencer’s followers who want to keep up with their latest posts. If it works well, some of those followers will end up following the brand too.
Giveaways are always popular — who doesn’t love free stuff? To run a giveaway, a brand will typically ask for a form of engagement, such as a comment, or tagging a friend, in exchange for an entry in a sort of digital raffle for one of their products.
Giveaway campaigns are incredibly effective because they ask for very little and can offer great prizes in return for the small task of making a comment on a post, tagging a friend, following an account, or something similar.
Contests are similar to giveaways, but instead of simply giving away an item to a random follower, they decide the winner by judging user-generated content (UGC). These campaigns can cook up a lot of interest because they create an entire UGC campaign as a byproduct. When you put people’s desire to be creative and their desire for free stuff together, you get a monster engagement campaign.
A branded hashtag is a hashtag that’s created specifically for your business. These unique hashtags often go hand in hand with other engagement campaigns like contests and giveaways. Essentially, branded hashtags add a bit of flair to your branding and provide your followers with an alternate way to engage with your brand — and they’re great for inspiring UGC.
For example, if your brand is Yellow Teacup, you might use the branded hashtag #ImAYellowTeacup. Now, when a customer uses one of your products, they can include the hashtag in their post.
The Bottom Line
Periodically checking in on the status of your Instagram’s health is vital to your business’s success on the platform. Without taking a step back and evaluating what’s working, and what’s not, you’re doomed to repeat your mistakes and waste your time and money in the process. Plus, without cleaning up your followers in your Instagram follower audit, you won’t be able to get any accurate insights into your audience.
By following the steps in this guide, you’ll be able to extract actionable insights from your profile and put changes in place that will catapult your brand to success.
Instagram Growth Hacks
Join over 10,000+ marketers and influencers who get the latest Instagram tips & tricks sent to their inbox every week