How to Run Your Own Instagram Audit: 5 Steps to Building a Better Profile

Whether you’ve been using Instagram for business for years or just a few months, it’s important to continuously reassess your strategy and update your goals. The best way to do this? Run an Instagram audit! Think of it like spring cleaning for social media: an Instagram audit is an opportunity to ensure that your Instagram account is aligned with your business goals, and all that effort you’re putting in is actually helping your bottom line.

Looking to run an Instagram audit but aren’t sure where to start? In this post, we’ll show you step-by-step how to run your own Instagram audit. Plus, to make things even easier, we’ve put together a downloadable PDF of our Instagram audit questions so you can print it off and check-off your progress! Running an Instagram audit for a client? Impress them by handing in this worksheet!

Instagram Audit Step #1: Goals and KPIs

Before you even look at your Instagram account, it’s important to take a step back and assess not only your Instagram marketing goals, but your business goals as a whole. When it comes down to it, your Instagram account should be an extension of your marketing and business efforts, and your approach should reflect that! Even if your business hasn’t undergone any major changes recently, it’s still worth checking that everything is aligned from top to bottom.

To kick things off: what are your current goals for your business and do these align with your goals for Instagram?

While these goals will not be exactly the same, they should be complementary. Your goals on Instagram should directly support your business goals, even if it’s in some small way. For example, if your brand is fairly new and focused on getting more customers, your Instagram goal is probably going to be overall follower and engagement growth.

Once your goals are locked-in, you have to make sure that they’re being measured correctly, and to do this you need key performance indicators (KPIs). So it’s worth asking: are my current Instagram KPIs working for me?

If you need help selecting the right KPIs for your business, check out our Ultimate Guide to Instagram Analytics for a few tips!

Instagram Audit Step #2: Branding and Voice

Now that you’ve honed-in on your Instagram’s goals and KPIs, you can begin reviewing your branding and voice. Ultimately, what it comes down to is consistency: your Instagram should look, sound, and feel like the rest of your marketing channels. A potential follower should be able to look at your Instagram account and immediately get an idea of who you are and what you have to offer. From your Instagram handle to your Instagram bio, every touchpoint should be consistent and on-brand.

So to begin: is your Instagram handle the same as your brand name, and is it consistent across other social channels?

Using the same name or handle across all of your social channels is a great way to boost your discoverability. If one of your Twitter followers knows you by one name but you use a different name on Instagram, you could be losing out on potential followers, which is a big deal if you’re a small business.

That being said, sometimes it’s okay to use different handles across your channels! But the reasoning should be obvious to your audience. So ask yourself: if your Instagram account isn’t your brand name, is it easily discoverable and understood to be connected your brand?

Now, on to your Instagram bio! While only a few words long, 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 your Instagram bio accurate and the same across other digital properties?
  • Does your Instagram bio succinctly explain what your brand is?
  • Think about the words that describe your brand’s voice. Are these descriptors obvious when you look at your profile, overall content, and bio?

As with your handle, your Instagram bio should be consistent, on-brand, and use your business’ tone and voice. If it isn’t or you aren’t completely satisfied, try brainstorming some new options! Write a few variations of your brand statement, your tagline, and ask someone else who’s connected to your brand for their thoughts. You might be surprised with what you come up with! And remember: as with all things social media, it’s important to keep it simple. The more difficult you make it for people to grasp what your business does, the less likely they’ll be to tap “follow.”

Finally, you should take some time to review your website link! Because Instagram only gives you users one clickable link, which is the link in your bio, it’s a very important piece of real estate. Take a look at the your current link and ask: is your destination URL effective and up-to-date? If you’re confident in your ability to keep the link in your bio fresh and current, consider swapping the URL now and again to promote your latest content or promotions, like a link to a product page or blog post.

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Instagram Audit Step #3: Content and Aesthetic

In order to truly grow your Instagram account, you need to post great content and be consistent. Of course, consistency doesn’t mean posting the same content over and over again! Consistency really means creating a consistent story: telling a clear and obvious story to your audience. They should understand who you are and what you have to offer, without needing to tap through more than just a couple posts.

By @ritual

Rather than digging deep into your feed, start by reviewing what your audience sees for the first time they visit your profile page: your latest 9 posts.

Looking at your feed, do all of your posts have a consistent color palette or aesthetic?

Depending on your brand, this could mean highlighting one color (à la Glossier pink, for example) or it could be several similar colors. Whatever direction you decide to take, just make sure that you’re consistent!

By @glossier

Do all your posts fall on either the cool or warm side of the color spectrum?

This is a little less obvious than color palette, but choosing a specific tone for your feed is a great way to build consistent aesthetic, no matter what you post. There are plenty of charts to help you visualize different tones, but at its most basic, warmer colors will have a yellow undertone while cooler colors will look slightly more blue. By taking the time to plan out and curate your Instagram content, you can easily take your feed from great to amazing!

Do you have an overarching theme that fits your brand and voice?

Not only should your Instagram feed have a connected theme that makes sense for your brand, but it should be a guiding force for all the content you create. This will make deciding what content to post way simpler!

By @aleksandrazee

Is your theme immediately identifiable as belonging to your brand and no one else’s?

It’s fairly easy to create a theme for your account, but it’s a lot more difficult to have a theme that’s unique to your business specifically. Having a unique theme is key if your business operates in a highly competitive market, such as beauty and fashion. Your content needs to stand out from the crowd but still align with your vision.

Is it immediately obvious what your business does based on your latest 9 posts?

This one might be a little easier for ecommerce businesses as you have actual products to showcase, but no matter what your business offers, it’s extremely important that audience immediately understand what you’re selling based on your latest 9 posts. If you have a physical product, make sure it stands out in your content mix! Your followers shouldn’t have to open one of your posts to understand what it is.

Does your content have a varied mix?

Basically, are you keeping things interesting for your audience? It can be tempting to only showcase your product over and over again, but mixing up your product posts with inspirational shots or lifestyle content is really important. Your content mix should be well-rounded and be a holistic representation of your brand.

By @herschelsupply

Now that you’ve reviewed your content from a bird’s eye view, it’s time to dig into your individual posts!

Are your photos and videos good quality (no pixelation or low-res imagery)?

It might seem easy to simply pull an image off your website and post it directly to Instagram, but optimizing your content for the platform will do wonders for your engagement. That means no low-res imagery or blurry photos. Instagram recommends that all photos uploaded be at least 1080 pixels wide with an aspect ratio between 1.91:1 and 4:5.

Are you testing out new formats like Carousel posts, Instagram Stories, Boomerangs, and more?

You should also treat this Instagram audit as an opportunity to try out new features on Instagram! If you haven’t had the chance to test out Carousel posts, Instagram Stories, and other new features on the platform, now is the time! Not sure where to start? Check out our Ultimate Guide to Instagram Stories for all sorts of tips to help your business stand out.

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Are any individual posts underperforming? Can you identify why? Are any individual posts over-performing? Can you identify why?

Really take the time with this one and review your Instagram content post by post — you’re sure to come away with some new insights into what kinds of content perform best for your account. If you find that one kind of content does particularly well, don’t take this as a queue to only post that type of content from now on. This step is more about identifying the triggers that cause your audience to engage (or not). The more you familiarize yourself with what works and what doesn’t, the easier it will be to create engaging content moving forward. If you’re looking to get even more insights into your Instagram success, sign up for an account to access Later’s Free Instagram Analytics.

instagram analytics

Is your content relevant to your audience?

The most important question of all. No matter how beautiful your content is or how on-brand it is, if it isn’t relevant to your audience, it won’t help you achieve your business goals. So make sure that your audience is on-board with your content!

Once you determine what kind of content resonates most with your audience, it’s important to plan around that content. You need to be continuously collecting relevant photos and videos, and posting consistently to your Instagram account. One of the best ways to plan and schedule your Instagram posts is with Later’s Visual Instagram Planner.

Later’s Visual Instagram Planner shows you exactly what your Instagram feed would look like with your scheduled posts, and let’s you easily re-arrange or swap out photos to find the perfect balance for your Instagram feed.

plan your instagram feed for free with later

Instagram Audit Step #4: Community and Followers

It’s time to talk about your community and how you engage with them. Engagement means different things to different accounts, but ultimately, it comes down to having a two-way conversation with your followers. Your community should feel like you care about them and that they’re being listened to. Let’s dive into what this means.

Are you responding to comments and DMs in a reasonable amount of time?

A reasonable amount of time will definitely depend on the size of your team, but really what you’re trying to determine is whether or not your community is being listened to. This includes looking at older posts for new comments and culling through your DM requests every once in awhile.

Are you following the right accounts (accounts that are currently connected to your brand and your aspirational brands/individuals)?

For small businesses, this is a great way to get your brand out there and connect with potential advocates and influencers. It also shows that you’re actually active on the platform and not just using it as a way to drive sales. So take the time to review your current following list, trim it down, and add some new relevant accounts into the mix.

Are you liking and/or commenting on tagged and hashtagged photos as they appear?

Like responding to DMs and comments on your own content, it’s equally important to respond to tagged and hashtagged 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!

Are you reposting user-generated content (UGC) from your community to show your audience some love?

When repurposing user-generated content, it’s important to make sure that it not only looks good, but also that it fits your goals for Instagram. Give your fans some extra attention by reposting their content onto your feed. As your community grows in size, these reposts will increase in value to your community, so use them appropriately.

Are you keeping track of your most engaged followers? How are you engaging with those followers? Is there any way you can elevate your engagement with them and make them feel even more connected to your brand?

This is a multi-part question, but it’s worth working through it point by point. Your Instagram community is likely full of fans of your brand, but it’s those super fans you should be leveraging and offering extra support to! What this means for you will depend on your business goals, but don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Can you send them a physical gift in the mail? Can you create something custom for them? Offer a discount? Or maybe you want to use this special group of highly engaged followers for trying out new products? The opportunities really are endless!

Instagram Audit Step #5: Hashtags

Whether you love them or not, hashtags deserve your attention on Instagram. After all, posts with at least one hashtag average 12.6% more engagement than posts without hashtags, and they’re a great way to help grow your following. With engagement on Instagram dropping, you need all the help you can get! Let’s start with a few basic questions:

  • Are you selecting relevant hashtags that both fit your brand and your audience?
  • Do you have at least one branded and owned hashtag that you consistently use?
  • Are you selecting hashtags that are more niche than broad?

Really what you want to look into is whether or not you’re using the right hashtags for your business. Additionally, you want to make sure that your content is actually discoverable and not lost in a sea of #food or #travel hashtags. Not sure where to start? Check out our Ultimate Guide to Instagram Hashtags in 2017 for tips on choosing the right hashtags for your account!

Are any of your hashtags blocked or broken?

Once they’ve created their hashtag list, a lot of Instagram users fail to review that list to make sure none of their hashtags are blocked or broken. This is a vital step. If you’re using the right hashtags but no one can see your content, you may as well not be using them at all! And while it can be difficult to parse out which hashtags may be blocked, the easiest way is to immediately check a hashtag after posting to it. If you don’t see your post in the recent activity, it’s possible your account has been shadowbanned. But don’t worry — it’s not permanent. Our recent guide on the Instagram shadowban has a ton of tips on how to avoid this in the future.

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Are you posting your hashtags in a new comment or spacing them down with emoji?

With your hashtag list free of blocked or broken hashtags, now is the time to review your usage. Ultimately, the number of hashtags you use comes down to personal preference, but as with all things Instagram, it’s super important to be consistent.

You’ve made it! Now that your Instagram audit is complete, go back and review any questions you responded “no” to or felt uncertain about. Use these questions as a starting point to take your Instagram account to its fullest potential!

Written By

Breanne Thomas

content strategist by day, filmmaker by night // available for freelance // previously @bigspaceship@foursquare@birchbox