Instagram audit

How to Run an Instagram Audit: The Complete Guide

February 28, 2018
Kyra Goodman

This guide is all about performing an Instagram audit to discover what's working and what's not in your strategy.

Are you planning an Instagram audit? Wondering how to audit your (or someone else's) Instagram account?

If you’re eager to discover what’s working (and what isn’t!) on your brand’s Instagram account, such an audit is a necessary step to take. Conducting your own Instagram audit will empower you with all sorts of information you can leverage to take your Instagram account up a notch (or, honestly, several notches).So, go ahead and let all of your exasperated sighs out right now. When you’re finished with that? Let’s roll up our sleeves and uncover everything there is to know about Instagram audits. And don't forget to use click-tracking within Sked (formerly Schedugram) as a way to let you know what's working and what isn't!

What is an Instagram Audit?

You’ve heard the term “audit” used other places, and an Instagram audit is really no different from those definitions. With an Instagram audit, you’ll analyze your brand’s current Instagram presence to uncover necessary information and then make tweaks and improvements from there.

During an audit, you’ll answer questions like:

  • Does your Instagram presence provide the best representation of your brand?
  • What types of content are resonating best with your followers?
  • Does your Instagram account align with your current marketing goals?
  • Are there any errors that need to be fixed moving forward?

That barely scratches the surface—there’s so much you’ll learn through the process of an Instagram audit that can help you to ensure that you’re really maximizing your brand’s Instagram account.

Why Does an Instagram Audit Matter?

Take a moment to think about all of the other marketing activities you do for your brand. Do you continue to do the same things over and over again and just cross your fingers that they’re creating results? No (at least we certainly hope not). You conduct surveys, pour over analytics, and put different measurements in place to confirm that your efforts are worthwhile. Instagram should work the same way. Don’t continue to post content for the sake of fulfilling a quota. Invest the time and energy to figure out what’s working and ensure that you’re actually making an impact with your time spent on Instagram marketing.

How to Perform an Instagram Audit

With all of that in mind, what do you need to know to successfully perform an Instagram audit for your own brand? Let’s dive into the details of six can’t-miss phases for any Instagram audit.

Phase #1: The Prep Work

Before you begin diving into analytics and taking a magnifying glass to your recent content, it’s time to lay the appropriate foundation. To do that, there are a few things that you’ll need to take care of first and foremost.

1. Understand the Different Areas to Audit

One of the reasons that an Instagram audit seems so overwhelming is that there are so many different things to look at. It feels like you’re at the bottom of a giant mountain, looking up toward a peak you can’t even see clearly. To help make the entire process feel a little more manageable, understand the different major areas you’ll be looking at as part of your audit:

  1. Your content
  2. Your followers
  3. Your profile and branding

The rest of our phases below will incorporate all of those different elements. But, if you’d prefer to audit each of those separately, you definitely can! As with anything, it’s totally up to you how you’d like to approach it.

2. Revisit Your Instagram Goals

Any strong Instagram presence starts with a defined Instagram marketing strategy. As part of that strategy, you should have mapped out some business goals for your brand’s Instagram account. Now is a good time to revisit those for a brief refresher. For example, did you want to push people toward a specific landing page? Did you want to convert them to email subscribers? Did you want to get more customers? Or, simply foster better relationships? There are so many different things you can accomplish on Instagram—and those will vary from brand to brand. The important thing is to re-familiarize yourself with where your Instagram account fits in. Understanding that will give you the context you need to decipher how your current Instagram efforts are measuring up in comparison with the goals you set out.

3. Refresh Your Target Audience

In order to create content that truly resonates with your followers, you need to understand them. This includes basic demographic information—like age, gender, and income, for example—as well as things like their goals and challenges.When you feel like you’re simply broadcasting a message into the void, it’s easy to lose sight of who your target audience actually is. This is why it’s important to begin your Instagram audit with a brief refresher on who you’re talking to through your content. Again, that’s information you’ll need in order to understand how your content is performing—and how it can be improved.

Phase #2: The Basics

With that groundwork in place, it’s time to turn your attention to some of the nuts and bolts of your brand’s Instagram profile.

1. Give Your Bio a Once-Over

Of course, Instagram is largely a visual platform. But, one place where you get to let words do the talking? In your bio. So, although Instagram bios are short, it’s important that you pay attention to what you’re saying there to ensure it’s an adequate reflection of your brand. Your bio should address who your brand is, as well as what it does.

A simple way to make sure you touch on those points? Imagine yourself shaking someone’s hand at a networking event and introducing your brand. What would you say?That simple exercise will help you to ensure that you hit on the most important pieces. And don’t forget you also get a clickable link in your bio. Most people use it to drive traffic to their website’s homepage—but this is limiting and leads to missed opportunities.

To get more mileage out of your profile link, try using Sked’s link-in-bio tool. You can use it to drive traffic and increase sales for your brand by pointing your profile link to any website you want, everytime you post. It’s a great way to promote different offers without changing your profile link.

Want more information to help you write a great Instagram bio? Check out our tips to write a killer Instagram bio.

2. Check Your Profile Photo

Another basic thing that followers will look at when familiarizing themselves with your brand is your profile photo. That space is relatively small, so something like a logo typically works best there. In any case, you want to ensure that your profile photo is simple, clear, and still an adequate representation of your brand. If you recently changed your logo, for example, you’ll need to ensure that’s reflected on your Instagram account as well.

Phase #3: The Appearance

With Instagram being such a visual platform, what your account looks like will be one of the first things that followers (and prospective followers!) will look at when clicking over to your Instagram feed. If appearance isn’t something you’ve been too concerned about up to this point, an Instagram audit is a good time to ensure that you’re giving the visual element the attention it deserves.

1. Look Over Your Aesthetic

The most attention-grabbing Instagram accounts have a cohesive aesthetic that complements the brand’s overall vibe. The images you post should have similar colors, subjects, or feelings to them in order to maintain a consistent look. Now’s a good time to check in on how you’re maintaining your aesthetic. As you scroll through, are there certain images that seem really out of place?

If you’re spotting things that are throwing your overall aesthetic off, consider creating some sort of brand guide so everyone on your team has a refresher of what does and doesn’t work visually with your Instagram grid.

Instagram audit

2. Creating Your Aesthetic Using Sked’s Visual Planner

One of the easiest ways to design and implement a consistent aesthetic for your brand is to use our visual planner to compose your Instagram grids. To get started, upload the images or videos you want to use to in your grid, fill out the caption etc., and then save them as drafts.

  1. Next, click on the Planner option in the sidebar menu on the homepage.
  2. Then, drag your draft posts across onto the planner interface to design your grid.
  3. Once you’re happy with your grid, click on ‘Submit changes’ and you’re done.

Another great thing about Sked is, if you’re part of a team and you want to collaborate on your grid design, you can add as many people to your account as you want for no extra cost.Need more in-depth help? Take a look at our guide to create an Instagram aesthetic for your brand.

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3. Analyze the Quality of Your Images

Because Instagram is so highly visual, you want to ensure that the images you’re posting are high-quality—rather than grainy, blurry, or dark. Take a look at some of your recent photos and graphics. Are they clear and sharp? Or, do you need to make some improvements to make sure that the photos you’re posting are up to your followers’ quality standards? If you’re looking for an easy way to crop and add special effects to your images, try using Sked’s in-app photo editor. You can use it to add 60 different filters, as well as stickers, text, frames, and overlays to your photos. If you’re eager for more tips to improve, we have a guide to take better Instagram photos.

Phase #4: The Voice

While all eyes will be on your images, the written words on your Instagram page do a lot to contribute to your brand reputation as well. So, as the fourth phase of your Instagram audit, it’s important to turn a closer eye to the language you’ve been using to ensure that it fits the overall voice and personality of your brand.

1. Read Some of Your Recent Captions

First and foremost, scroll through some of the captions on your recent photos. Do those captions fit with your brand’s voice? For example, if you’re aiming to foster a more plucky and fun vibe, are those captions on the more light and humorous side? Are you using emojis? If not, take note of how you’d like to change your captions moving forward to ensure that they’re contributing to your brand—as opposed to inspiring confusion.

4. Review Your Calls to Action

Chances are, there are plenty of places where you include a call to action within your photo caption—whether it’s to check out a recent blog post, enter a giveaway, tag a friend, or something different entirely. Because those are more “salesy” in nature, it’s easy to let the language slip away from the normal voice of your brand. So, take a look at those to confirm that they still fit with your overall vibe. The more those calls to action can sound like you, the more likely followers will be to actually follow through on them.

Phase #5: The Analytics

You knew analytics would come into play somewhere, didn’t you? That data is so helpful, and taking a closer look at it during your Instagram audit will empower you to get a better grasp on what’s doing well—as well as where you could benefit from some improvement. If you have an Instagram business profile, you’ll have access to some basic analytics directly within Instagram.

1. Measure Your Follower Growth

It’s not all about numbers on Instagram. But, understandably, you’d like to see your audience continue to grow in size. Take a look at the rate of growth amongst your followers. Approximately how many new followers are you adding each week? How does that compare with your expectations? Is that above, below, or right in line with what you anticipated? If you feel like you’re growing at a frustratingly slow rate, begin thinking of some different tactics you could implement to see that number continue to increase, including:

  • Putting together a contest
  • Implementing a branded hashtag
  • Running Instagram ads

Initiatives like those—along with many others—will help you get your content and your account out in front of some new eyeballs.

2. Identify Top-Performing Content

Not all posts are created equal—some will perform exceptionally well, while others will flop. Fortunately, taking a look at what really resonates with your followers will help you craft more posts that are successes rather than failures. Does your audience seem to like videos more than images? Are your followers responding exceptionally well to images with people in them? Does having a call to action in the caption actually increase your engagement? There are so many questions you can answer and trends you can identify by looking at which of your Instagram posts are truly knocking it out of the park.

3. Identify Low-Performing Content

Looking at what isn’t performing as well isn’t nearly as fun, but it can still be equally enlightening. Dig through your analytics to figure out which post of yours fell short of your expectations. What common threads can you identify there? Perhaps those motivational quote graphics that you thought would really strike a chord are only falling flat. Or, maybe anything that’s overly promotional winds up turning your audience off. Again, it’s definitely not as uplifting—but, it’s important for you to know as you move forward.

4. Analyze Your Posting Schedule

Another thing that you should look at while you’re pouring over your analytics is your posting schedule and frequency.

Do you see better engagement when you post more frequently? Or, should you begin spacing things out a bit more? Which day and times see the best engagement rates for you? Taking a fine-tooth comb to your existing posting schedule can help you make the most impact with a single Instagram post—by informing you about the very best time to share it. TIP: Want to post on a more predictable and consistent schedule? Sked can help! You can use our app to pre-set your best publishing times and then queue your content to post automatically when those slots come up. Or if you’d prefer, you can schedule your video, image, carousel, and Stories posts to publish on a specific time and date. If you need to make changes to your publishing schedule (or just want to see your plan at a glance), you can do it easily with our drag-and-drop social media calendar.

Instagram audit

Phase #6: The Clean Up

Here we are—at the very last phase of your Instagram audit. You’ve already covered a lot. But, now that you’ve analyzed and made some tweaks, it’s time to do some cleaning to ensure your Instagram presence is as polished as it possibly can be. Here are two major things you’ll want to look out for.

1. Look for Fake Followers

While you like to see a high number of followers, you’d obviously prefer them to be real accounts who can actively engage with your brand. Unfortunately, there are tons of bots and spam accounts on Instagram who might be following your account. If you’re feeling ready to clean through your following? There are a few things to look out for:

  • Follower to Following Ratio: If the account is following as many accounts as it has as followers, it could very well be part of some sort of scam or scheme.
  • Engagement Rate: If that account has thousands of followers—yet incredibly low engagement—it could likely be some sort of spam account.
  • Empty Accounts: An account with tons of followers—yet absolutely zero images posted—is likely a junk account.

It can be tough to weed through followers one-by-one (particularly if you have a bunch of them!). But, do it here and there in your downtime, and you’ll rest assured that your followers are actually real.

2. Spot Broken Links or Hashtags

Details like links and hashtags can easily fall through the cracks. However, they do deserve some of your time and attention to ensure there aren’t any errors there. If you’ve included links anywhere, do some spot checks to confirm that they still take followers to the designated page. The same goes with hashtags. It’s worth clicking on some of them to make sure that you aren’t leading followers to inappropriate material. If so, you’ll want to stop using that hashtag immediately.

Ready to Get Started?

There you have it—we’ve provided a high-level overview of how to run an Instagram audit. After going through the phases, you’ll quickly realize that you have a ton of helpful information under your belt. But, if you’re truly aiming to leverage an Instagram audit to your advantage, you can’t stop there. The secret is to use that information to make smarter decisions and improve your Instagram presence moving forward. Do that, and you’re sure to continue delighting your followers and growing your audience—all while bringing your Instagram account to the next level.

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