How to Run Your Own Instagram Audit: 8 Steps to Building a Better Profile
Whether you’ve been using Instagram for a few months or several years, it’s never a bad time to run an Instagram audit!
Think of it like spring cleaning for social media: an Instagram audit is an opportunity to ensure that your Instagram account is aligned with your business goals, and all that effort you’re putting in is actually helping your bottom line.
Whether it’s your branding, content, community engagement, hashtags, or something else entirely, auditing your account is a great way to reassess your strategy and update your goals.
Looking to run an Instagram audit but aren’t sure where to start?
In this post, we’ll cover how to run your own Instagram audit in 8 easy steps.
Plus, to make things even easier, we created a free PDF with all of our Instagram audit questions so you can print it off and check-off your progress! Running an Instagram audit for a client? Impress them by handing in this worksheet!
Instagram Audit Step #1: Goals and KPIs
Before you even look at your Instagram account, it’s important to take a step back and assess not only your Instagram marketing goals but your business goals as a whole.
When it comes down to it, your Instagram account should be an extension of your marketing and business efforts, and your approach should reflect that!
Even if your business hasn’t undergone any major changes recently, it’s still worth checking that everything is aligned from top to bottom.
To kick things off: what are your current business goals and do they align with your goals for Instagram?
While these goals will not be exactly the same, they should be complementary. Your goals on Instagram should directly support your business goals, even if it’s in some small way.
For example, if your brand is fairly new and focused on gaining traction with your target customers, your Instagram goal is probably going to be overall follower and engagement growth.
On the other hand, if you’re an established ecommerce brand, your goal may be to generate online sales.
Once your goals are locked-in, you have to make sure that they’re being measured correctly, and to do this you need key performance indicators (KPIs). So it’s worth asking: what KPIs do you use to define success?
A KPI is your selected metric that specifically measures the success of your account. How you determine your KPIs will ultimately depend on your business goals and what you want to achieve with Instagram.
If your business thrives on community, you may want to look to engagements as your KPI for your photo and video posts to see how much they resonate and trigger conversations on your posts.
Or if your overall goal is to grow this quarter, you could look at your reach metrics to see how many unique eyes see your content.
Whatever the case, it’s important that your KPIs are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound.
If you need help selecting the right KPIs for your business, check out our ultimate guide to Instagram analytics for a few tips!
Instagram Audit Step #2: Branding and Voice
Now that you’ve honed in on your Instagram’s goals and KPIs, you can begin reviewing your branding and voice.
Ultimately, what it comes down to is consistency: your Instagram should look, sound, and feel like the rest of your marketing channels.
A potential follower should be able to look at your Instagram account and immediately get an idea of who you are and what you have to offer. From your Instagram handle to your Instagram bio, every touchpoint should be consistent and on-brand.
So to begin: do you have a brand style guide with a clear definition of your voice and visual style?
If your brand is already established, incorporating your brand assets into your profile should be pretty easy, and would just be an extension of your existing color palette, photo edits, style, and tone of voice.
With this in mind: do you have a logo, color palette, icons, fonts, and other branding elements — and are these used consistently on your Instagram profile?
Is your Instagram username the same as your business name and does it share the same spelling across all other social channels?
Using the same name or handle across all of your social channels is a great way to boost your discoverability.
If one of your Twitter followers knows you by one name but you use a different name on Instagram, you could be losing out on potential followers, which is a big deal if you’re a small business.
That being said, sometimes it’s okay to use different usernames across your channels! But the reasoning should be obvious to your audience. So ask yourself: If your username isn’t your business name, is it easily discoverable and relevant to your brand?
Now, on to your Instagram bio!
While you’re limited to just 150 characters, your Instagram bio should get to the heart of your business and capture the attention of your audience. Take a moment and answer these questions:
- Is your Instagram bio accurate and the same across other digital properties?
- Does your Instagram bio succinctly explain what your brand is/does?
- Think about the words that describe your brand’s voice. Are these descriptors obvious when you look at your profile, bio, and content?
As with your username, your Instagram bio should be consistent, on-brand, and use your business’ tone and voice.
If it isn’t or you aren’t completely satisfied, try brainstorming some new options! Write a few variations of your brand statement, your tagline, and ask someone else who’s connected to your brand for their thoughts. You might be surprised with what you come up with!
And remember: as with all things social media, it’s important to keep it simple. The more difficult you make it for people to grasp what your business does, the less likely they’ll be to tap “follow.”
You should also take some time to review your website link! Because Instagram only gives users one clickable link, which is the link in your bio, it’s a very important piece of real estate. Take a look at your current link and ask: is your destination URL effective and up-to-date?
If you’re confident in your ability to keep the link in your bio fresh and current, consider swapping the URL now and again to promote your latest content or promotions, like a link to a product page or blog post.
Because your Instagram Stories Highlights appear directly under your Instagram bio, they’re another opportunity to showcase a cohesive visual identity that aligns with your business and Instagram branding.
For example, you can incorporate your brand colors, fonts, or other brand assets into your highlights covers.
If you have Instagram Stories Highlights, are your covers consistent with your brand style and Instagram aesthetic?
Just getting started with Instagram Stories Highlights? Then you may want to download our free covers and icons! You can easily customize them to fit your profile.
Instagram Audit Step #3: Content and Aesthetic
In order to truly grow your Instagram account, you need to consistently post great content.
Of course, consistency doesn’t mean posting the same content over and over again! What it means is telling a clear and obvious story to your audience.
They should understand who you are and what you have to offer, without needing to tap through more than just a couple posts.
Rather than digging deep into your feed, start by reviewing what your audience sees for the first time they visit your profile page: your latest 9 posts.
Looking at your feed, do all of your posts have a consistent color palette or aesthetic?
Depending on your brand, this could mean highlighting one color (à la Glossier pink, for example) or it could be several similar colors. Whatever direction you decide to take, just make sure that you’re consistent!
Do all your posts fall on either the cool or warm side of the color spectrum?
This is a little less obvious than color palette, but choosing a specific tone for your feed is a great way to build a consistent aesthetic, no matter what you post. There are plenty of charts to help you visualize different tones, but at its most basic, warmer colors will have a yellow undertone, while cooler colors will look slightly bluer.
By taking the time to plan out and curate your Instagram content, you can easily take your feed from great to amazing!
Do you have an overarching theme that fits your brand and voice?
Not only should your Instagram feed have a connected theme that makes sense for your brand, but it should be a guiding force for all the content you create. This will make deciding what content to post way simpler!
Is your theme immediately identifiable as belonging to your brand and no one else’s?
It’s fairly easy to create a theme for your account, but it’s a lot more difficult to have a theme that’s unique to your business specifically.
Having a unique theme is key if your business operates in a highly competitive market, such as beauty and fashion. Your content needs to stand out from the crowd but still align with your vision.
Is it immediately obvious what your business does based on your last 9 posts?
This one might be a little easier for ecommerce businesses as you have actual products to showcase, but no matter what your business offers, it’s extremely important that audience immediately understand what you’re selling based on your latest 9 posts.
If you have a physical product, make sure it stands out in your content mix! Your followers shouldn’t have to open one of your posts to understand what it is.
Does your content have a varied mix, including promotional content, non-promotional content, user-generated content (UGC), and more?
Basically, are you keeping things interesting for your audience? It can be tempting to only showcase your product over and over again, but mixing up your product posts with inspirational shots or lifestyle content is really important. Your content mix should be well-rounded and be a holistic representation of your brand.
And what about posting formats? Are you using all of Instagram’s post formats, including video posts, photo posts, carousel posts, and IGTV previews?
Now that you’ve reviewed your content from a bird’s eye view, it’s time to dig into your individual posts, stories, and IGTV videos!
Are your photos and video posts high enough quality (aka no pixelated/low-res imagery)?
It might seem easy to simply pull an image off your website and post it directly to Instagram, but optimizing your content for the platform will do wonders for your engagement.
That means no low-res imagery or blurry photos. Instagram recommends that all photos uploaded be at least 1080 pixels wide with an aspect ratio between 1.91:1 and 4:5.
Having trouble optimizing your photos and videos for each format? Check out our Instagram image size and dimensions guide + free infographic.
Are you sharing content on Instagram Stories?
And with so many new creative tools, brands are getting more and more creative with their Instagram Stories as they try to reach new audiences and boost their followers.
But Instagram Stories aren’t just fun and creative, they’re also great for growing your engagement, building brand awareness, driving traffic to your website, and even making ecommerce sales!
If so, do you have a clear and well-defined strategy for your Instagram Stories content, including goals and KPIs?
If you want to use Instagram Stories to get more followers and grow your reach, you’ll need a game plan. That’s why you’ll want to invest your time in creating an Instagram Stories strategy.
This is especially true if your goal is to grow your Instagram engagement. By developing a content strategy for Instagram Stories, you can make sure you never miss an opportunity to connect with your audience again.
Is your Instagram Stories branding consistent with your account as a whole?
Just like your regular Instagram feed, incorporating your brand into your Instagram Stories will help you increase brand awareness and make your stories stand out from the crowd.
Your Instagram Stories branding doesn’t need to be too complicated, even using simple design elements like colors and fonts can go a long way in making your stories look professional and on-brand.
Have you shared lived broadcasts on Instagram via Instagram Live?
Although underutilized, Instagram Live is an incredible channel for driving new followers and engagement, as well as larger business goals.
If you haven’t yet, you should consider creating an Instagram Live strategy for your business — we’ve seen a ton of businesses do great things with their live broadcasts, from Q&As and tutorials to limited-time-only promotions.
Are you sharing long-form video content on IGTV?
Like Instagram Live, IGTV is still fairly underused by businesses, but it’s still a great channel to grow your following, and show-off your products and creativity.
If you haven’t tested the new channel yet, you may want to check out our ultimate guide to IGTV for tips and tricks on how to get started!
Is your content relevant to your audience?
The most important question of all. No matter how beautiful your content is or how on-brand it is, if it isn’t relevant to your audience, it won’t help you achieve your business goals. So make sure that your audience is on-board with your content!
Once you determine what kind of content resonates most with your audience, it’s important to plan around that content.
You need to be continuously collecting relevant photos and videos, and posting consistently to your Instagram account. One of the best ways to plan and schedule your Instagram posts is with Later’s Visual Instagram Planner.
Later’s Visual Instagram Planner shows you exactly what your Instagram feed would look like with your scheduled posts, and lets you easily re-arrange or swap out photos to find the perfect balance for your Instagram feed.
Instagram Audit Step #4: Analytics
Diving into your Instagram analytics is more than just finding out which photo, video, or story performed best.
Truly understanding how your content performs – by tracking key Instagram metrics over time – is the key to developing a content strategy that works for your business.
So to start: are you keeping track of your Instagram analytics, including your post and stories analytics, audience analytics, and IGTV analytics?
Tracking your analytics across each of these channels and format is so important when it comes to strategizing for the future. You’ll be able to make better-informed decisions for your brand or business, and make changes that make a real, positive difference your Instagram account.
It can also help you decide where you should be investing your time! For example, if you see that you’re getting a ton of traction with your Instagram Stories but very little with your IGTV videos, that could signal that you should spend more time growing your stories audience and while investing less time on IGTV.
What are the main metrics that you’re tracking?
Like your KPIs, the metrics you track will ultimately depend on your business goals and what you want to achieve with Instagram.
For example, if your business thrives on community, you may want to look to engagements as your main metric for photos and videos. However, if you often boost your posts, you may want to switch that metric up and focus on reach to see what kind of impact your content has made on the Instagram community as a whole.
Whatever your goal, ideally you should focus on a handful of metrics. And if you’re just starting out, test out different metrics, play around with your content strategy, and see what sticks.
Are you creating weekly or monthly reports to keep track of your account’s growth?
Whether you’re presenting analytics to your boss, team, or client, or you’re just measuring your own progress, tracking your top metrics in a social media report is the key to growing your account (and business).
If you haven’t done any social media reporting yet, check out our step-by-step guide on how to build your own social media report for Instagram.
Are any individual posts underperforming? Can you identify why? Are any individual posts over-performing? Can you identify why?
Really take the time with this one and review your Instagram content post by post — you’re sure to come away with some new insights into what kinds of content perform best for your account.
If you find that one kind of content does particularly well, don’t take this as a queue to only post that type of content from now on. This step is more about identifying the triggers that cause your audience to engage (or not). The more you familiarize yourself with what works and what doesn’t, the easier it will be to create engaging content moving forward.
If you want to go even more in-depth about Instagram Analytics, you’ll want to download our free Instagram Analytics Strategy Guide.
Instagram Audit Step #5: Community and Followers
It’s time to talk about your community and how you engage with them. Engagement means different things to different accounts, but ultimately, it comes down to having a two-way conversation with your followers.
Your community should feel like you care about them and that they’re being listened to. Let’s dive into what this means.
Are you responding to comments and DMs in a reasonable amount of time?
A reasonable amount of time will definitely depend on the size of your team, but really what you’re trying to determine is whether or not your community is being listened to. This includes looking at older posts for new comments and culling through your DM requests every once in a while.
Are you following the right accounts (accounts that are currently connected to your brand and your aspirational brands/individuals)?
For small businesses, this is a great way to get your brand out there and connect with potential advocates and influencers.
It also shows that you’re actually active on the platform and not just using it as a way to drive sales. So take the time to review your current following list, trim it down, and add some new relevant accounts into the mix.
Are you liking and/or commenting on tagged and hashtagged photos as they appear?
Like responding to DMs and comments on your own content, it’s equally important to respond to tagged and hashtagged posts related to your brand. After all, these people love your brand enough to post about it, so you should show them some love in return!
Are you reposting user-generated content (UGC) from your community to show your audience some love?
When repurposing user-generated content, it’s important to make sure that it not only looks good but also that it fits your goals for Instagram.
Give your fans some extra attention by reposting their content to your feed. As your community grows in size, these reposts will increase in value to your community, so use them appropriately.
Are you keeping track of your most engaged followers? How are you engaging with those followers? Is there any way you can elevate your engagement with them and make them feel even more connected to your brand?
This is a multi-part question, but it’s worth working through it point by point. Your Instagram community is likely full of fans of your brand, but it’s those super fans you should be leveraging and offering extra support to!
What this means for you will depend on your business goals, but don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Can you send them a physical gift in the mail? Can you create something custom for them? Offer a discount? Or maybe you want to use this special group of highly engaged followers for trying out new products? The opportunities really are endless!
Instagram Audit Step #6: Growth Strategies
When it comes to Instagram growth, it’s simply not as easy to get more Instagram followers in 2019 as it was a year or two ago.
With over 1 billion monthly users, an ultra-smart algorithm, and tons of creative brands on Instagram, it’s a competitive place if you want to grow your account and boost your following.
So if you really want to stand out, show off your brand, and get more followers on Instagram, you have to work smarter and harder. Here are a few questions to set you in the right direction:
Are you partnering with influencers to create sponsored content?
Influencer marketing is all about building genuine trust and loyalty with your followers. And if you partner with an influencer for your brand or business, they act as an ambassador for your brand.
But the key to getting more followers on Instagram with Instagram influencers is having a long-lasting project, instead of one-off #sponsored posts.
Instead, work on year-long projects with your brand ambassadors, and try different growth tactics like Instagram giveaways or takeovers to capitalize on your influencer’s audience.
Do you collaborate with other brands on Instagram to host giveaways, takeovers, and other co-marketing campaigns?
Teaming up with like-minded and complementary business and brands is a great way to introduce your account to a new and engaged audience you may never have reached before!
When an Instagram user discovers your profile through a co-marketing effort, they’re likely to hit that follow button if they have similar interests or are the right demographic for your brand.
Plus, co-marketing campaigns don’t have to be complicated or costly! What’s more important is who you partner with. You want to make sure that you have a mutually beneficial partnership and that both your audiences will benefit from your collaboration efforts.
Are you using hashtags and location tags in your Instagram Stories to increase their discoverability?
If you didn’t know, most Instagram geo-locations and hashtags have their own stories attached to them too. So you can watch any recent stories that were published using a location or hashtag sticker, even if you don’t know that user or follow their account.
This is hugely under-utilized by brands on Instagram, so if you’re looking to get more followers, it’s time to start using these features!
Are you running Instagram ads or boosting your Instagram posts to reach more users?
Instagram is a very competitive marketplace for brands, but there’s a real opportunity to build your followers if you present the right type of ads to new audiences.
If you’re just getting started with Instagram advertising, you should check out our step-by-step guide to running your own ad campaign on Instagram.
Do you cross-promote your Instagram content on other channels?
Cross-promoting your Instagram content on other channels is a really easy way to guide your existing followers to your Instagram page (where they’re likely to tap follow as they already know your brand!) or introduce yourself to new audiences if they’ve found you from a different platform.
For example, you can integrate your Instagram feed into your website design or you can add your Instagram account to your email marketing campaign.
Have you created your own Instagram Stories GIFs or AR effects?
Instagram Stories AR effects are blowing up in 2019 — and now that Facebook is opening Spark AR Studio to the public, soon anyone will be able to create their own AR effects for Instagram Stories!
This is a big deal. Because Instagram has a unique system for locking filters (you have to follow the creator first), businesses stand to gain tons of new followers by creating highly shareable AR effects for Instagram Stories.
Check out our ultimate guide to Spark AR for Instagram to learn how you can get started.
Instagram Audit Step #7: Hashtags
Whether you love them or not, hashtags deserve your attention on Instagram.
After all, posts with at least one hashtag average 12.6% more engagement than posts without hashtags, and they’re a great way to help grow your following. With engagement on Instagram dropping, you need all the help you can get! Let’s start with a few basic questions:
- Are you selecting relevant hashtags that both fit your brand and your audience?
- Do you have at least one branded and owned hashtag that you consistently use?
- Are you selecting hashtags that are more niche than broad?
Really what you want to look into is whether or not you’re using the right hashtags for your business. Additionally, you want to make sure that your content is actually discoverable and not lost in a sea of #food or #travel hashtags.
Not sure where to start? Check out our ultimate guide to Instagram hashtags for tips on choosing the right hashtags for your account!
Are any of your hashtags blocked or broken?
Once they’ve created their hashtag list, a lot of Instagram users fail to review that list to make sure none of their hashtags are blocked or broken.
This is a vital step. If you’re using the right hashtags but no one can see your content, you may as well not be using them at all! And while it can be difficult to parse out which hashtags may be blocked, the easiest way is to immediately check a hashtag after posting to it.
Are you posting your hashtags in a new comment or spacing them down?
With your hashtag list free of blocked or broken hashtags, now is the time to review your usage. Ultimately, the number of hashtags you use comes down to personal preference, but as with all things Instagram, it’s super important to be consistent.
Instagram Audit Step #8: Marketing Tools
If you’re looking to get more followers and engagement on Instagram, why not enlist the help of one or more Instagram marketing tools?
They can really help you make the most of your Instagram marketing efforts, whether that’s scheduling your Instagram posts, monitoring your Instagram analytics, or converting your Instagram followers to customers.
Do you use an Instagram scheduler to plan and schedule your Instagram content in advance?
If you’re working in Instagram marketing, you know that time is money. So, if you’re looking to make better use of that ever-so-precious commodity, it makes sense for you to save yourself time and enlist the help of a free Instagram scheduler like Later.
But there are tons of reasons you should be scheduling your Instagram posts and stories in 2019 — from saving time to designing a gorgeous feed and getting more engagement!
Do you use any Instagram analytics tools to keep track of your growth?
One of our biggest Instagram predictions for 2019 is that businesses will be investing a lot more time and energy into tracking their Instagram analytics and optimizing posts based on their learnings from the data.
If you want to track ROI from Instagram, you’ll need an Instagram analytics tool to help you increase engagement, get more views on stories, and make more sales.
Check out our list of the best 8 Instagram analytics tools in 2019.
Have you optimized the link in your Instagram bio for traffic and sales?
Since Instagram only gives you one clickable link in the app (the link in your bio), it can very difficult to drive traffic and sales from your account.
Sure, you can use some of Instagram’s latest shopping features, but if your goal is to get users off your profile and onto your website, there’s not a lot you can do.
If you’re looking for an easier way to drive traffic and make sales on Instagram, you should consider optimizing the link in your Instagram bio with a took like Linkin.bio, which allows you to create a clickable, shoppable Instagram feed.
Do you use any tools for your Instagram hashtag research?
Need some help finding those niche and industry-specific hashtags for your account? Then you may want to enlist the help of an hashtag research tool.
Later’s Hashtag Suggestions feature, for example, works by automatically finding relevant hashtags for your posts based on other hashtags that you use. All you have to do is know one relevant hashtag (like #livesimply), put it into Hashtag Suggestions, hit “Suggest,” and the feature will immediately generate 30 other hashtags, sorted by relevance.
Do you use any tools to manage your Instagram comments?
Keeping track of all your Instagram comments is hard. It’s easy to miss comments in the Instagram app, especially if someone is commenting on an older post.
If you’re looking to manage your Instagram comments more effectively, you should consider using a tool like Later’s Conversations feature. You can reply from your computer instead of your phone, and even view your conversation history with a commenter!
You’ve made it! Now that your Instagram audit is complete, go back and review any questions you responded “no” to or felt uncertain about. Use these questions as a starting point to take your Instagram account to its fullest potential!
Don’t forget to download our handy Instagram audit checklist to keep track of your branding, content, community engagement, growth strategies, and more!
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