Is your Instagram following stagnant or only growing very slowly? Do you have lots of followers but very little engagement? Are you regularly posting pictures, Stories, Reels and Lives but nothing seems to capture your audience’s attention? Then it’s time to take a step back and take a good, hard look at your Instagram account. This post explains how to run your own Instagram audit to evaluate the quality and performance of your account, find opportunities to improve and make sure you’re using the platform efficiently for your business.
Do you like to waste your time?
No? I didn’t think so!
But posting on Instagram (and any other social media platform, really) without regularly analysing your content and looking at the data from your Insights is just that: a big waste of time. And a waste of opportunities!
If you don’t carry out a regular Instagram audit to see what works and what doesn’t, you might never get to the bottom of your issues with this platform. Why are you not gaining more followers? Why is no one commenting on your posts, sending you direct messages or buying from your profile? Why don’t they seem to care about what you post about?Without a regular audit, running an Instagram account is like throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks. Over and over again, without taking notes of which recipe worked best. Click To Tweet
The data you collect from an Instagram audit can help you to answer these questions. And implement changes so that your Instagram account will flourish!
This article shows you how you can audit your own Instagram account in order to evaluate its performance and appearance. You will learn:
- the most important thing to do before running an audit,
- which areas you should pay attention to in your audit,
- what makes a great Instagram profile,
- which metrics to look at in Insights, and
- how you can analyse your own content.
Why should you run an Instagram audit?
If you want to grow your business with Instagram, you first have to assess where you’re at. Whether you want to get more eyes on your website or products, generate leads and sales, increase brand awareness or establish an authority in your niche, you need to know your starting point before you can develop a strategy.
An audit can help you identify opportunities to improve your Instagram profile, content and strategy. It can show you where your gaps are and where you might spend a bit too much time.
This will help you to focus on creating content that is on brand, impactful and engaging. Nailing this is the basis for creating more meaningful relationships with your audience, customers or clients.
The first step of any Instagram audit
Before you dive into your content and analytics, it is important that you complete the first (and most important) step of any Instagram audit: setting your goals.
Just like you can’t grow your business without knowing your starting point, you also can’t do it without knowing where you’re heading. Above I already mentioned a few potential objectives you might pursue with your Instagram account:
- Increase website traffic
- Generate leads and sales
- Increase brand awareness
- Establish an authority in your industry
- Grow your following
- Connect with new audiences
- Create an engaged community
- Build your email list
Whatever it is you want to achieve with your Instagram account – you have to be clear about it. Then put a number and a date to it: How many followers do you want to gain / sales do you want to make and by when?
Once you know your objectives and set feasible and measurable goals, you know which metrics to analyse in your audit. If your objective is to increase website traffic, look at the click-through rate from Instagram in Google Analytics. If creating an engaged community is key, pay attention to the engagement rate on your posts. And if you want to increase brand awareness track the reach and impressions of your content, but also how often your profile gets mentioned and your content is shared in DMs. Different metrics are relevant for different objectives.
To track your progress over time, do an Instagram audit regularly and compare the results of each audit to the one before.
What are KPIs?
You might have heard the term KPI (= Key Performance Indicator) and wonder what it means?
KPIs are the measures you want to track in order to see whether you are meeting your objectives and smashing your goals, i.e. the number of followers, engagement rate, conversion rate etc.
Which areas are relevant to audit an Instagram account?
Once you have set clear goals and objectives to identify your KPIs (key metrics to track), it is time to start your audit. It is important that you do not skip this step, as your audit will not actually help you draw any conclusions or set out a new strategy if you don’t know your goals.
There are 4 key areas to analyse in your Instagram audit:
- Your Profile
- Your Insights or Analytics
- Your Content
- Your Followers or Community
Conducting an Instagram Audit
Analyse your Profile
Look at your profile image. A headshot immediately gives your business a human face and builds trust. Your logo is great for brand awareness and memorability – but make sure it is clear and easy to recognise. You could also use a high-quality picture of your signature service or product.
Top tip: If you use a headshot or product image rather than your logo, try to implement your brand colours in the picture.
Your description (or bio) has to be clear and enticing. Use bullet points rather than long sentences and break it up with relevant emojis. Sprinkle relevant key words in your description to make it easy to understand what your business is about and what you offer.
Make it easy for Instagram users to click through to your website or relevant pages. Choose the most important URL to your website (for example, the home page, the shop page or a specific service page). Or use a tool like Linktr.ee to link to multiple pages – it’s free. Just don’t overdo it: I recommend 5-7 links max.
Include your contact details to make it easy for potential clients and customers to contact you. Consider which information is necessary and which is overload – for example, do you need to display your full business address on your profile if you mostly meet customers off-site? Do you need to add your phone number if you don’t take bookings over the phone?
If you post Stories (*you should* – read here to find out how), create Highlight folders that communicate the key elements of your business. You can create beautiful cover images for your Highlights using your brand colours and illustrations on Canva.
Analyse your Insights or Analytics
As I mentioned above, which specific metrics you should track and pay attention to, depends on your objectives and goals.
It might be enough to look at Instagram Insights, but for further data consider analysing Google Analytics (your website traffic) and data provided to you by your email marketing provider, online shop plugin or similar. Below I will focus mainly on Instagram Insights.
There are three main categories of metrics in Insights: Reach, Interactions and Audience.
- In the REACH category, you will find measures such as Impressions (how many IG users have seen your content), Account Activity (visits to your profile or website), and your Top Posts, Stories and IGTV Videos. By default, these are sorted by reach, but you can change this to another KPI and also see your top posts by Comments, Follows, Profile visits, Saves, Website clicks and more.
- The INTERACTIONS metrics tell you more about the way in which people engage with your content: the interactions they are taking (likes, comments, saves, shares), how they interact with your Stories or IGTV and your top posts by interactions.
- In the AUDIENCE section, you can see who engages with you. Here you can track the growth of your audience, their location, their age range and gender identity. You can also see when they are most active (which days of the week, what times of the day).
Each individual post on your grid or to your Stories also has Insights to analyse. These Post Insights tell you how many likes, comments, saves and shares the post got, how many actions were taken from it (and which), how many people have seen the post (reach and impressions) and how they found it (their home feed, the Explore section, via hashtags or other ways).
Analyse your Content
Start by looking at the last 30 images to posted to your grid and analyse their performance and content.
First look at their performance. Which posts did particularly well according to your KPIs? Remember, which metric is relevant here depends on your objectives and goals. Your top posts might be determined by the highest impressions, the most website clicks, the highest engagement rate or other metrics.
Then analyse the content of the posts: images, captions and hashtags.
Which images performed well and which bombed? What do your top images have in common – smiling people; a certain colour palette, a specific aspect ratio? Is there anything you can do to improve the quality of your images? Or could you hire a photographer to fo a brand or product photoshoot?
What do your captions read like? Are they long and narrative or short and to the point? Is the part of your caption before the “more…” fold enticing? What kind of stories are you telling in your captions? Personal? Emotional? Controversial? Are you trying to sell your products/services in each caption? Are you using clear calls to action to let your followers know what engagement you want from them? Which ones are getting more traction?
Finally, which hashtags are you using? Click on them and evaluate whether your content fits the hashtag overall. Choose hashtags that are popular, but not massive (4-5 digit hashtags are best). Have any hashtags resulted in your posts getting shared on other platforms? You can experiment a lot since you can use up to 30 hashtags for every post – just make sure you’re not just tagging them for the sake of it.
If you don’t have time to look at your last 30 images, set a time frame in Insights and just look at your top performing posts. However, this will only paint half the picture and you might miss the commonalities of posts that don’t perform well (i.e. learn what not to do in the future).
By analysing your content, you can learn what differentiates a well-performing post from one with barely any results. This will make clear what kind of content to focus on moving forward, and which visuals or stories to stop wasting time on.
Analyse your Followers or Community
Finally, you may want to analyse the people who follow you and engage with your content.
This step of the Instagram audit is potentially the most complex and time-consuming, but it can help you detect fake accounts among your followers and determine the health of your online community.
- Detecting fake followers: You could just ignore them, but in the long run, these mostly inactive bot and spam accounts could drag down your engagement rate. The long way is to scroll through your follower list and look t each account individually – I did mention this was time-consuming right? However, there are also many tools out there that can help you detect fake followers and clean up your audience.
- Community health: The health of an online community is often measured by its engagement rate. The average engagement rate on Instagram is between 1 and 3%. A high engagement rate is closer to 3 to 6%. Above that, you’re a superstar. There are of course many other factors that play into your community health as well, such as the quality of comments and messages you receive, the number of people using your branded community hashtag (*don’t have one yet?*) or the participation in interactive features on Stories or Lives.
How often to audit your Instagram account
I recommend carrying out 4 Instagram audits per year – so every 3 months. Then use the results from your audit to plan your content strategy for the next quarter.
Start a spreadsheet to keep track of your KPIs – the key metrics that tell you whether you are meeting your objectives and goals. Fill it in with every audit and watch your progress unfold.
Top tip: Add a tab to your spreadsheet to collect links to your most popular and most engaging posts. That way, you can access them easily in the future to find inspiration
Are you ready to take a good, hard look at your Instagram account and evaluate your performance in an Instagram audit?
I’d love to hear whether you found this post useful – comment below or send me a DM on Instagram, so I can check out your progress!