Have you ever felt like you’re spending hours, days, months, and even years, on Instagram without understanding what works for you and what doesn’t? I feel you. In this case, there’s one thing that can help — running an Instagram audit.
Thing is, in order to crack the Insta-nut, you need one thing only: a strategy. However, a good strategy is always based on constant re-assessments, tweaks, and adjustments based on data and insights. Which is essentially what an audit is for.
And yes, I agree: an Instagram audit might not be the most fun thing to do. However, it’s THE place to start if you want to do things properly.
So whether you’re an Instagram pro or just a beginner, read on. Because in today’s article I’m outlining the exact steps you need to take when auditing your Instagram from scratch.
STEP ONE: Covering the basics
1. Revisit your goals and KPIs
Before you even start looking at your Instagram, take a step back and ask yourself if you remember what your goals were when you started out. Was it to build brand awareness by increasing your follower numbers? Or to drive sales through Instagram ads?
Truth is, you might not even remember anymore. One of the biggest Instagram mistakes you can make is to set no goal — or to set too many goals at the same time, which is essentially the same thing.
If you find yourself struggling to answer what your Instagram goal is, now is the time to address it.
Make sure your goals are SMART — specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. It’s only based on your goal that you’ll be able to set your Instagram metrics and monitor them over time.
Bad example of an Instagram goal: I want to grow my followers.
Good example of an Instagram goal: I want to grow my followers by 10% in the next 2 months by posting good quality content every day and engaging with relevant accounts 30 minutes per day.
See the difference?
2. Know your audience
Do you have a clear idea of who your followers are? What kind of content they like? What time they’re online? Who else they follow?
If you answered NO to all of these questions, it’s time to research. The essential part of the Instagram audit lies in making sure that your content strategy aligns with your Instagram target persona. If the gap between what you’re posting and the results you’re seeing is too big, it’s time to re-evaluate what you know about your audience.
If you have a dark Instagram past and played a bit of follow-for-follow or (whispering now) even used Instagram bots before, you might also identify that you have lots of fake Instagram followers.
Fake Instagram followers are easy to identify.
They often have no profile picture, so you’d only see a grey silhouette. And, their username would often contain numerous numbers, such as irinochka12347, for example. Finally, if you go to their profile, you would see that their followers/followings ratio is off, as they follow thousands and thousands of people while having 0 followers themselves.
Even though it might look like you’re having a huge audience, fake followers actually decrease your engagement rate. So, as part of your Instagram audit, make sure those bots unfollow you! To do that, you need to go into each profile and block them, manually, one by one. I know, sounds tedious, but so far, this is the only way to get rid of the unwanted followers on Instagram.
STEP TWO: Review your profile
3. Make sure you have Instagram Business Profile
You might have heard this before: more and more users are, as of late, converting to Instagram Business Profiles to get access to valuable analytics and advertising opportunities. If you want to grow, Business is the way to go, so if you haven’t switched yet, now is the time.
In short, make sure that your account is:
- Public, and not Private
- Business, and not Personal
4. Revisit your bio
While most people think it’s a user’s feed that makes the first impression on Instagram, it is actually your Instagram bio that does. It takes 0.05 of a second to make the first impression on the Internet — that’s about 8x shorter than a blink of a human eye. So it’s REALLY important that that first impression is a GOOD one.
Check if your Instagram bio meets the following requirements:
- Has a name
Don’t forget: it’s not only your Instagram nickname but also your actual name that makes you searchable. So put the full name in — yours or your company’s! If you feel like sprucing things up a little, you can add an emoji. Or a hashtag. Or a tagline. Go crazy!
- Has an avatar
Goes without saying. If your Instagram profile doesn’t have a profile pic, well…
- Lists your skills
A good Instagram bio should actually explain what your business is and what you do. It’s a good idea to include a few keywords (like 2-3) that instantly communicate what you’re all about, and also set you apart from your competitors.
- Has a URL
The only place to post links on Instagram is your bio — are you utilizing this opportunity? I hope so! Unless you have over 10K followers and can drive traffic from Stories, having a link in your bio is your only opportunity to refer followers to your website, or latest article, or latest product offering.
- Has contact info
While adding a URL to your bio is a good idea, an even better idea is to add your contact information. If you have an Instagram Business Profile (which, at this point, I hope you are), you can choose between email, phone number or actual address — or utilize all three.
Step THREE: Content analysis
5. Do you have a visual strategy?
If a single picture is worth a thousand words, your whole feed should be worth a novel.
Developing a strong Instagram theme not only help you to stay visually consistent, but also help you be instantly recognizable as a brand.
You can be a crisp minimalist, like @thelondonfoxx:
Or pastel soft, like @cestmaria:
Or juicy and colorful, like @jeffmindel:
Whatever you choose, stay consistent. As Eric Dahan, the CEO of OpenInfluence (formerly known as InstaBrand), put it, “Staying consistent with filters, photography, and themes is a huge part of establishing a clear, focused brand DNA.”
Staying consistent with filters, photography, and themes is a huge part of establishing a clear, focused brand DNA. Click To Tweet
So while you’re doing your Instagram audit, take a look at your feed. How consistent is it?
6. Do you post consistently?
There are two types of Instagram users: those who post content on the fly and those who plan ahead.
I’ll let you guess who’s more successful at Instagram.
It is crucial to your success — I repeat: crucial (!) — to have a content plan and to stick to it. If you post too rarely, people will quickly forget about you. If you post too frequently, people quickly become annoyed at you, too. That’s why it’s important to experiment and find the golden mean that works for your brand.
At Iconosquare, we generally recommend posting no more than once per day for your feed.
Stories, however, is a different story: you can post more often there, if you want.
If you don’t post consistently, and stick to a “fluid schedule”, it’s time to step up your game. Spend some time to identify your best time to post and start scheduling your content to save time. An essential part of your Instagram audit!
7. Do you use a variety of content?
Another crucial element to your Insta-success is mixing your content up. There are three content types you can choose from: photos, videos (which also includes boomerangs and gifs), and carousels. Make sure you have a healthy mix of all three.
If you’re sticking to the same type of format over and over again, you might be missing out on an opportunity to experiment, try out something new and perhaps increase your engagement rate.
8. Do you promote your content?
Hashtags, geolocation, tagging other brands or users — all that will help to boost your exposure and get your content seen. Liking and commenting on accounts similar to your own is a good tactic to use to grow on Instagram organically, and it also sends a message to the algorithm that your profile is active. And needless to say, the algorithm loves that.
If you don’t use any hashtags, you’re making a mistake. While you don’t need to use the max 30 hashtags available, posting at least 10 targeted hashtags per post is a must.
Geolocation and tagging is another tactic to attract more eyeballs to your content, as it can dramatically increase your visibility and help your content get noticed. So, as part of your Instagram audience, pay attention: are you using hashtags, geolocation, and tags often enough?
9. How good are your stats?
Finally, perhaps the most important part of your Instagram audit is checking your Instagram metrics.
The most fundamental metrics (or KPIs) you should look at are typically the following: Followers’ growth, Impressions, Reach, and Engagement rate.
These are simple, actionable metrics that illustrate whether or not you’re on the right track with your strategy.
It doesn’t matter how many followers you have if your reach is low and engagement rate is close to zero.
If your numbers are going down, you’re clearly doing something wrong. Have you changed a content direction recently? Or stopped writing captions? Or been forgetting to include CTAs?
Typically, this is the combination of reasons due to which your stats might be going down:
- You’ve been shadowbanned for using shady practices
- Your content isn’t relevant to your audience
- It is low quality
- You don’t promote it well enough (i.e. don’t use hashtags, tag others, etc)
- You’re not posting at the right time
- You’re not active on Instagram
Solely publishing something and waiting for some magic to happen won’t cut it. Being active and auditing your Instagram on a regular basis is key to success!