So you want to improve your Instagram account. But there’s one thing you should do before you start talking strategy or hitting post – you need to run an Instagram audit.
Because if you don’t analyze exactly what your problems are, how can you fix them?
An Instagram audit is a systematic way of going through each aspect of your Instagram account to see how it is currently performing and what you could do to improve it.
Is your bio up to date? Are you nailing your captions and hashtags? Are you engaging with the right types of accounts?
Those are just a few of the questions you’ll be answering as we take you through a step-by-step guide to how to do an Instagram audit – checklist included!
Step By Step Instagram Audit
Whether you’re a brand or business, or even a digital creator, you need to follow a series of steps to audit your Instagram account. We’ll walk you through the key things you need to be looking out for, which will help you flag what you might need to change on your account, that you might not have noticed before. Let’s get going!
Revisit your goals🏅
The first thing you can do to audit your Instagram account is to go back to the ‘why’ of it all. Start from scratch rather than trying to tackle a million different issues at once. What are you hoping to gain from being on Instagram?
Businesses often get caught up in trying to increase their follower count while ignoring other metrics and underlying goals. You can have thousands of followers on your Instagram, but if they aren’t engaging, or are passive to your content, it won’t mean much. Ultimately, you don’t just want people to follow you – you want them to do something more.
Maybe you want them to become aware of your brand, buy your product, or sign up for your newsletter. Maybe you just want to reach and connect with people who have similar interests or start a conversation online about something you are passionate about.
Growing your numbers is important as a starting point, but not all that useful without that ultimate conversion that you want. So, consider what your broader business and marketing goals are, and then make sure your Instagram activity aligns with those goals.
Let’s drive this home with an example: Say one of your business goals is to increase foot traffic into a physical store. Posting pretty content to people across the other side of the world isn’t going to be much help. Instead, you might use Instagram’s location tags to find potential customers nearby, post Stories directly from the store, and so on. If you plan on hosting events, workshops or experiences in-store, publicize this on your Instagram to reach your ideal attendees, and build up exclusivity.
- Define or revisit the core goal of your Instagram account.
- Ensure your Instagram activity is aligned with your broader business goals/marketing plan.
Audit your profile 🔍
Your Instagram profile: That thing you set up once and never have to worry about again.
As if…! Let’s revisit it.
Firstly, what purpose does your profile have? People might look at it to:
- Decide whether to follow you
- Determine whether your brand/business is reputable
- Find out more about how to buy/use your product or service
- Find your contact information, web address or other details
Your bio summarizes who you are, and what you want to communicate to your audience or prospective followers, so it’s really important to get it right. There are a lot of things you could include in the bio of your Instagram profile, so keep the first step above in mind and choose what best fits your business goals.
At a minimum, your bio should give people an overview of your brand. It’s also a great opportunity to include a call to action, brand or campaign hashtags, and website links. A helpful resource is Linktree if you want to include multiple links in your bio without making it too busy.
You’ll also want to make sure your profile pic represents your business and is consistent with all your other branding materials (other social media accounts, website, etc.)
- Check that your username is easy to find/spell and represents your brand.
- Make sure your profile pic is consistent with your branding (e.g. your logo).
- Write a bio that gets to the essence of what your brand is/does.
- Ensure your bio shows your brand voice and personality.
- Promote campaign hashtags and/or web links in your bio section.
Stradivarius use their bio to encourage user-generated content, to promote brand hashtags, and to provide a shopping link.
Check the consistency of your brand message 💌
Your “brand” is really a collection of things that identifies you and differentiates you from your competitors. If you don’t have consistency, you don’t have a brand.
Instagram is an important platform for spreading your brand message and generating awareness, so let’s make sure you’re being consistent across every part of it.
A good idea here is to create a social media style guide (or audit your existing one to make sure it’s up to date). That way, regardless of who is managing the account, the voice, tone, aesthetics and brand message are all consistent and on point.
(Note: Even if you’re a personal brand or the dedicated manager of the Instagram account, writing out a style guide can still be useful.) With Instagram, you can be a little more playful than on other platforms, so make sure you have fun with it, but don’t stray too far from your overall brand messaging – there’s always a happy medium.
Consistency is also important across social media platforms, as well as across Instagram as a whole. Consider your posts, IGTV, Instagram Stories, and interactions with other users as touchpoints that should consistently deliver your pre-defined brand message. Check that you are interacting with your followers, and staying up to date with any questions, complaints or interactions you may have.
- Pick a consistent color theme.
- Establish your overall tone of voice and language that is in line with your branding.
- Ensure branding elements like logos, icons, fonts, etc, are consistent
- Create a clearly documented style guide.
Hershey’s use consistent and recognizable styling across their account.
Audit your content 🌈
Finally, we come to the actual content. Yes, it should be visually appealing and nice to look at. But there’s more to it than that.
At this step of the Instagram audit, you should take a look back through your recent content and identify what has performed well and what hasn’t.
Also, think about why. Have some posts fallen flat because the quality isn’t up to scratch? Or perhaps because they strayed from your brand message? What did you do right in your most successful posts and how can you do more of it? If you have experimented with content mediums, establish what has worked best for you, whether it be videos or static posts. Ask yourself whether you could be doing more on your account to deliver exclusive and exciting content and if the answer is yes, start brainstorming.
- Upload images and videos that are consistently high quality.
- Make sure the videos and images fit in with your overall grid and aesthetic.
- Don’t post irregularly. Set up a system to make sure you are posting consistently.
- Pay attention to the best times to post and schedule your content accordingly.
- Utilize all areas of Instagram including Instagram Stories.
Take a look at your captions ✍️
The quality of your images and videos is one thing, but don’t neglect your captions. Captions can enhance your content, improve engagement, and drive conversion.
All of your captions should be well-written and in a style that fits your brand. They should inform, inspire or add a level of storytelling to your visual content. Another excellent use of captions is asking questions to generate engagement.
Your captions should ideally grab attention in the first line since followers will have to deliberately click “more” to see the rest.
(If you want to get deeper in and really nail your captions, check out this guide to writing Instagram captions.)
- Captions are written in a consistent style and voice.
- Calls to action are used in your captions as appropriate.
- Captions are used to ask questions, tell stories, or share useful information.
- Captions lead with a ‘hook’ in the first line encouraging people to click to read more.
Swarovski incorporates questions into their captions to encourage followers to engage in the comments.
Check your hashtags #️⃣
Hashtags are one of the best ways to get your content discovered. Think of it this way: a post without hashtags is like a little island, disconnected from the rest of the Instagram world. Hashtags are a bridge that connects your content to the mainland.
Are you making the most of hashtags? Are you using them on Stories as well as posts? Are you using niche hashtags, location hashtags, audience-specific hashtags, community hashtags?
(If you’re not sure about the different types of hashtags and how to build a hashtag strategy, read our Instagram hashtags complete guide to learn all about it!)
Choosing the right hashtags maximizes your chance of getting to the top of Instagram search results and getting your content seen. Flick’s #1 hashtag tool is an easy way to discover what those right hashtags are, so try it out if you want to really make the best use of your hashtag potential.
- Hashtags should be contextually relevant to the content you are posting.
- Your hashtags should be a mix of broad and specific/niche.
- Avoid using banned or flagged hashtags.
- Make sure the hashtags you use are formatted and presented in a consistent way across all posts.
- Encourage followers to use branded or campaign hashtags.
Audit your engagement 🤝
Instagram is a two-way street.
Do you communicate with followers and engage with the broader Instagram community? If not, you should. If so, could you be doing it better?
The more you integrate into the Instagram community, the more likely you are to win followers and get your brand noticed. Create conversations, ask questions, host mini-campaigns or even highlight user-generated content, try new things to integrate in a clever and effective way.
- Reply to comments and DMs regularly and promptly.
- Follow accounts that are related to your niche.
- Collaborate with other accounts or brands to boost your engagement.
- Repost user-generated content to your account.
Ready To Audit?
Hopefully, you’ve found this Instagram audit checklist and step by step guide helpful. Of course, this is not completely exhaustive – there are other things you might start to look at and pay attention to as you go along. But you should definitely be checking these things as a minimum.
How often should you conduct an Instagram audit? There’s no hard and fast rule: we’d suggest that for a business or brand trying to grow and improve their account, once every month to every few months is a good idea.
That way, you’re consciously taking stock of what you’re doing rather than just posing content on autopilot.
And the more conscious you are of your Instagram activity, the better positioned you’ll be to master it as a marketing tool.