Nothing ever stays the same on Instagram, so why should your strategy? You might notice that your growth rate is plateauing. Or, your posts are receiving less engagement than before. Before trying out a new strategy, take a step back and perform an Instagram audit.
An Instagram audit takes a holistic view of your brand’s account. Instead of wondering if it’s the captions or visual branding that need work, complete an audit. Going through your IG account part by part may surface areas to work on.
Prepare for the Instagram audit
Before diving straight into the Instagram audit, there are a few things you need. Grab a copy of your Instagram marketing strategy and note your goals. Your goals and KPIs guide your strategy and determine if you’ll need changes after the audit.
What if you don’t know what your goals are? Think about your overall business goals and how you might use Instagram to accomplish them. Without having any goals in place, you won’t know what to do with your audit results.
An Instagram audit might sound daunting, but it’s actually a straightforward process. Set aside some time to focus and follow these ten steps.
1. Audit your IG branding
When people land on your Instagram account page, what’s their first impression? Begin by taking an overall look at your profile page. Try to imagine yourself as a first-time visitor. Where do you look first and which links do you click on? Does it give you a good idea of what your brand does?
Remember to check your profile on both the web and mobile.
2. Update your IG profile and bio
The profile consists of everything Highlights and above on your account. And the bio is one of the first parts that people read when they land on your profile page.
First, ensure your username and name are consistent with your branding. Both of these fields are used in Instagram’s search results. So if your username is a shortened version of your company name, make sure that your name field has all the necessary information.
Next, review your category (if you entered one) and website. Because there’s only one hyperlinked field available in Instagram, make the most of it by using a feature like SproutLink in Bio.
Now, the bio portion. Does it clearly convey your brand? Do you have branded hashtags inserted? Unless you have a highly recognized brand, aim for being informative over minimalistic. Why? Because what you write in your bio counts as social media SEO.
Rounding out this step are the call-to-action buttons and Highlights. Check that the buttons are up-to-date and the Highlights are still relevant. Refresh your Highlights and Covers as needed.
Tips: Struggling to fix your bio? Learn how to create an impactful Instagram business bio. To improve your searchability and assure customers you’re the real deal, get verified on Instagram.
3. Audit your overall Instagram visuals
Look at your Highlight covers, profile photo and posts. Are they cohesive in feel and tone? You don’t need to have a perfect grid but the general visual of your profile page should all be on-brand.
Even with different post types, Unbirthday manages to keep its branding consistent throughout the account.
Tip: Get inspired by following brand accounts that are doing it right.
Auditing Instagram content
Time to dive into your content. Here, we look at your content quality, the mix and your captions. Auditing your content helps review your content marketing strategy’s performance. Another benefit is that it keeps your content from going stale or worse, irrelevant.
4. Check content quality and relevance
As a highly visual platform, content quality and relevance are very important on Instagram. Without eye-catching posts, your captions won’t be read. And without relevant posts, you’ll be unfollowed in no time.
Do you use high-quality images and videos? Are they optimized for Instagram? To keep track of your images and have easy access to them, use Sprout’s Asset Library. With it, you can edit and use them across multiple social platforms without leaving Sprout.
According to the Sprout Social Index, Edition XVII: Accelerate, 46% of consumers say that audience engagement makes a brand best in class. In order to keep your followers engaged with your content, it needs to be relevant to their interests. Examine your top-performing posts and audience demographics. Are you serving the content that they’re most interested in?
5. Examine your Instagram content mix
Your Instagram content mix involves both the topics and formats you choose. In your feed posts, do you only push sales for your company or do you also educate? And within those feed posts, is there a nice mix of carousels and IG Video?
Instagram has so many different media formats to take advantage of. You don’t want to fall behind while other brands prioritize a video marketing strategy. Between Reels, Shoppable posts, Lives, Stories and other formats, you have plenty to choose from.
6. Audit your Instagram captions
Grab attention with high-quality media and stick the landing with an equally high-quality caption. Explore the top-performing posts again for ideas on what resonates with your audience. Then, make sure it matches up with your brand voice. If it doesn’t, you might need to either change how you write your captions or revise your brand voice.
Grove Collaborative uses a mix of questions and educational content in their posts. Their captions might have a lot of words but they’re broken up with line breaks and emojis.
Tip: If you’re stuck on writing engaging captions, check out caption ideas that generate more interaction from your followers.
Auditing Instagram admin and analytics
The last section of the audit focuses on the nitty-gritty of Instagram. Here we dive deeper into analytics and how they affect your account. This part answers questions like:
- Am I posting at the right times?
- Which hashtags are actually working?
- Why should I do an engagement audit?
- How do I audit my Instagram followers?
7. Look at your posting frequency and schedule
Knowing when your followers are online and engaged is necessary for your posting schedule. According to a Sprout analysis, the best times to post on Instagram are Tuesday 11 a.m.–2 p.m. and Monday through Friday 11 a.m.
To make it easier on you, Sprout’s own ViralPost algorithm tells you when the best time to post is for you. Based on your own accounts’ engagement analytics, ViralPost suggests Optimal Send Times. As you gain more followers, these times might change, which is why an audit is needed.
Tip: Scheduling your Instagram posts frees up your time and encourages collaboration. Review how to easily schedule your posts to encourage audience engagement.
8. Analyze your hashtags
When used properly, Instagram hashtags have the potential to grow your brand.
Using Sprout’s Instagram Business Profiles Report, you can see how each of your hashtags performed. Note if there are similarities between high-performing hashtags. These trends might uncover which content topics you should explore further.
Bullet Journal might be a brand but it’s also become a method of journaling that’s wildly popular. Users document with the hashtag whether or not they’re using the brand.
Tip: There are different types of hashtags out there. See which types of Instagram hashtags are best for your brand.
9. Audit your Instagram engagement
Have you noticed that your engagement is dropping off? Without great engagement in your posts, you lose the opportunity to build your community and increase brand awareness.
During the engagement audit, ask questions like:
- Are you following appropriate brand accounts and engaging with their posts?
- Are you replying to both comments and DMs?
- Do you leave comments or start conversations on other accounts’ posts?
- If you have accounts tagging you, do you track and collect user-generated content?
- Do you keep tabs on your most-engaged followers?
Edible Arrangements uses a mix of UGC and influencer collaborations in its Stories. With these saved into Highlights, anyone can view them and be inspired by what others have done with their own Edible Arrangements.
Tip: Check out how your competitors are increasing their own Instagram engagement.
10. Check your Instagram followers
While Instagram does discourage bots and fake followers, some still slip between the cracks. An audit of your Instagram followers looks at what their interests are and if any of them are fake. You also look for influencers to work with and engage with.
Grab demographics data from your native Instagram Business Profiles Report. Combined with the Post Performance report, you’ll learn if your content is resonating with their interests.
No one wants to be followed by a bunch of bots. Using a tool like the one from Modash, enter your username and it’ll surface fake followers. A side benefit is that you’ll also receive information on potential influencers.
Speaking of influencers, now is the time to set up an influencer marketing strategy. The follower audit will surface accounts that you might want to work with. Diversify your strategy by involving creators and micro-influencers. Both of these have proven to increase your brand awareness.
Tip: Everyone wants more Instagram followers but few want to put the work in to gain them. Explore tips on how to increase your Instagram follower count.
Perform your own Instagram audit
There you have it. In just ten steps, you’ve completed your own Instagram audit. An audit is needed every so often to make sure that your strategy is succeeding. Audits surface issues like an out-of-date profile and fake followers.
To get started on your own Instagram audit, check out this handy template.