Whether you’ve been using Instagram for a few months or several years, running an Instagram audit for your brand or business is never a bad idea.
But what’s the best way to do an audit on Instagram?
In this blog post, we’re sharing our best practices for completing an Instagram audit — as well as a free downloadable checklist to help keep you on track!
What is an Instagram Audit?
An Instagram audit is an opportunity to ensure your account is aligned with your business goals.
Think of it as spring cleaning — only instead of dusting ceiling fans, you’re polishing up your Instagram content.
The end goal is to make sure every Instagram feed post, story, Reel, or IGTV video you share has a purpose and is helping to support your brand’s objectives.
To make things easy, we’ve created a free Instagram audit checklist for you to download:
How to Do an Instagram Audit
Conducting an Instagram audit is a lot easier than it sounds — it’s a simple process that will help your business flourish and grow.
To do an Instagram audit, you must first consider your business goals and KPIs (key performance indicators), as they’re the foundation you build your strategy on.
If you’re looking for a thorough way to do an Instagram audit, follow the steps below and use our free Instagram audit checklist to track your progress.
Step #1: Set Your Instagram Goals and Identify KPIs
Before you do your Instagram audit, it’s important to take a step back and consider your Instagram marketing goals.
When it comes down to it, your Instagram account should be an extension of your marketing and business efforts.
To kick things off, ask yourself: what are your business goals and do they align with your Instagram goals?
For example, if you are a new business, you might be focused on gaining traction with your target customers. With that, your Instagram goal should be overall follower and engagement growth.
On the other hand, if you’re an established e-commerce brand, your business goal may be to generate sales. To complement that goal on Instagram, you can create strategies to drive traffic via Instagram’s Shopping tools.
Once you’ve set your goals, make sure you can measure them accurately. To do this, you can set several KPIs to track for each goal.
A KPI is any metric that can be used to measure success for a particular goal. For example, if your goal is to increase engagement, your KPIs would be the number of comments, likes, and DMs you receive.
Ready to set and and smash your business goals? Check out our free goal setting video workshop hosted by Katie Ruddell, founder of plant-based cafe chain in Vancouver, Kokomo Cafe.
Step #2: Review Your Marketing Tools
Before delving into the finer details of your content strategy, take time to review your end-to-end Instagram workflow.
There are tons of helpful tools that can help streamline your processes — which can save you valuable time and effort.
Later has tons of helpful features to improve your Instagram strategy, including:
Schedule and Auto Publish Instagram Posts
Preview your feed in advance with Later’s Visual Instagram Planner
Collect user-generated content by mentions, tags, hashtags or profile search and add it straight into your Media Library
Write captions (with spaces!) in bulk from desktop
Monitor feed post and stories analytics in an easy-to-use dashboard
Reply to comments from desktop
Auto publish a first comment (a great way to hide hashtags for extra discoverability!)
And that’s not all — there’s also a tool that can make your whole feed clickable, so you can drive followers to your website or blog: Linkin.bio.
With Linkin.bio by Later, you can say goodbye to constantly switching the URL or call-to-action (CTA) in your Instagram bio and create a clickable landing page for all of your posts.
Step #3: Assess Your Engagement Levels
Conducting an Instagram engagement audit is so important. Whether you’re an influencer or a brand on Instagram, ask yourself the following:
Am I replying to comments and direct messages (DMs)?
Am I following like-minded businesses and creators?
Am I interacting with other accounts?
Am I collecting UGC?
Am I keeping track of my most engaged followers?
Engagement can mean something different to everyone, but ultimately, it comes down to having a two-way conversation with your followers.
Instagram is a great place to build a community, and that requires forming relationships with people — whether it’s spending 30 minutes answering DMs every morning or blocking off an hour every other day to interact with similar accounts.
It’s equally important to respond to tagged posts related to your brand.
After all, these people love your brand enough to post about it, so you should show them some love in return.
And if the user-generated content you’re tagged in fits your Instagram goals, you can repost it to your feed or story. This can often encourage your community to keep sharing and talking about your product: a win-win!
TIP: If you’re struggling to keep track of your UGC, you can use Later’s user-generated content features to help you review and manage the influx of content.
Step #4: Review the Content You Share on Instagram
In order to grow your Instagram account, you need to be creative with your Instagram content strategy.
Are you using all of Instagram’s formats to your advantage?
Your content mix should be well-rounded and a holistic representation of your brand. Plus, sharing a mixture of content formats keeps things fresh and exciting for your audience.
In addition to the formats you use, assess how your content is visually supporting your brand. Is it obvious what your brand is based on your most recent posts?
For example, if you’re an e-commerce business, you’ll want to make sure your products are at the front and center of your content strategy — a healthy mix of product marketing shots and contextualized lifestyle content.
And don’t forget to review your Instagram Stories strategy.
Instagram Stories are often a more conversational way to connect with audiences, and can be great for growing engagement, building brand awareness, driving traffic to your website, and even making e-commerce sales.
One of the best ways to plan and keep on track of your Instagram Stories strategy is by scheduling your Instagram Stories with Later’s Instagram Stories scheduling tool.
Planning your content ahead of time helps you maintain a consistent aesthetic and post more regularly, which is really important when you’re trying to get more followers.
Step #5: Check Your Branding, Voice, and Aesthetic
These factors create a strong first impression for your audience, and can be a make-or-break factor for whether someone decides to follow your profile or not.
Focus on your profile picture, Instagram Stories highlight covers, and top 9 most recent feed posts.
Your audience should understand who you are and what you have to offer, without needing to tap through more than just a couple posts.
Even something as simple as the colors you choose can have a huge impact on how your brand is perceived and who will choose to follow.
Whatever direction you decide to take, make sure it matches your brand values.
BONUS TIP: Review all your social channels for consistency – having the same name and profile picture across all platforms will improve your discoverability and create a cohesive experience.
If one of your TikTok followers knows you by one name and you choose a different handle on Instagram, you could be losing out on potential followers.
Step #6: Evaluate Your Instagram Bio
While limited to 150 characters, your Instagram bio should get to the heart of your business and capture the attention of your audience.
Take a moment and answer these questions:
Is my Instagram bio accurate and similar across platforms?
Is my Name Field descriptive?
Does my Instagram bio succinctly explain what my brand is/does?
Have I used descriptive keywords?
Am I optimizing the link in my bio?
Instagram only gives users one clickable link in their bio, making it a super valuable piece of real estate.
You can use the link in your bio to drive traffic to your website, a specific product page, blog post, or beyond. But it can be a hassle to constantly switch the URL and CTA with every post.
Step #7: Review Your Growth Strategies
With over 1 billion monthly users, an ultra-smart algorithm, and tons of creative brands on Instagram, it can feel like a competitive space if you want to grow your account.
Ask yourself the following questions:
Do I cross-promote my Instagram content on other channels?
Am I using hashtags and location tags to increase discoverability?
Am I partnering with influencers to create sponsored content?
Am I collaborating with like-minded brands to host giveaways, takeovers, and other co-marketing campaigns?
Am I running Instagram ads or boosting Instagram posts?
If you aren’t implementing growth strategies for your brand or business on Instagram, consider starting small by using hashtags and cross-promoting your content on your other social media channels.
For example, if you’re on TikTok, direct your TikTok audience to your Instagram account by:
Connecting your Instagram account to your TikTok
Creating a compelling 2-part story, with part 1 on TikTok and part 2 on Instagram
Promoting a giveaway that’s exclusive to your Instagram community
Share what you offer on Instagram
Teaming up with like-minded brands and influencers is a great way to introduce your account to a new and engaged audience you may have never reached before.
When an Instagram user discovers your profile through an influencer or brand they trust, they’re likely to hit that follow button if they have similar interests or are the right demographic for your brand.
Plus, partnerships don’t have to be complicated or costly!
What’s more important is who you partner with — you, the partner, and your audience should all benefit from the collaboration.
Step #8: Evaluate Your Hashtag Strategy
Love them or hate them, hashtags are a super valuable growth strategy for any brand.
Let’s start with a few basic hashtag questions:
Am I selecting relevant hashtags for my brand and audience?
Do I have at least one branded hashtag that I consistently use?
Am I using niche hashtags instead of broad ones with millions of posts?
When you’re reviewing your hashtags, focus on whether or not you’re using the right hashtags for your business.
Instead of using the most popular Instagram hashtags, it’s better to find and use hashtags that are smaller, more niche, and have an engaged audience that’s relevant to your industry.
So, how can you find these cool, creative, and community-oriented hashtags?
The best way is to look and see what Instagram hashtags your audience, competitors, and industry leaders are already using.
You can also use Later’s Hashtag Suggestions feature.
With the Hashtag Suggestions feature, you can automatically find relevant hashtags for your posts based on the hashtags you search.
Using relevant hashtags can be a great way to help the Instagram algorithm recognize your niche and serve your content to relevant audiences based on their interests.
Step #9: Level-up Your Analytics Reporting
Diving into your Instagram analytics is more than just finding out which photo, video, or story performed best.
Truly understanding how your content performs – by tracking crucial Instagram metrics over time – is the key to developing a content strategy that works for your business.
You’ll make better-informed decisions for your brand or business and apply changes that make a real, positive difference to your Instagram account.
As you monitor your analytics, you may notice certain posts underperforming or overperforming.
The more you familiarize yourself with what works and what doesn’t, the easier it will be to create engaging content for your audience moving forward.
For example, if you see you’re getting a ton of traction with your Instagram Stories but very little with your IGTV videos, you could consider spending more time creating stories content.
Whether you’re presenting analytics to your boss, team, or client, tracking your top metrics in a social media report is the key to growing your account (and business). Check out our step-by-step guide on how to build your own social media report for Instagram.
And that’s it, you’ve made it — your Instagram audit is complete!
Take your Instagram account to its fullest potential by using this guide as a starting point for your next Instagram audit.
Download our free Instagram audit checklist to keep track of your branding, content, community engagement, growth strategies, and more!