instagram audit

Instagram Audit: The Only Checklist You’ll Ever Need

Conventional wisdom tells us the importance of going to the doctor for a regular checkup, or to the dentist to have your teeth inspected and cleaned. Well, the same principle applies to your Instagram account. So today, we’re going to talk about how to run an Instagram audit.

It doesn’t matter if you’re running an Instagram account for a major brand or business, or if you’re a self-employed individual trying to do your own thing and make it big on the platform. You’re sure to encounter the same challenges and issues in your Instagram account, especially if you’re not maintaining it well.

For instance, you might already be communicating messages that are off-brand. Perhaps, the overall quality of the images you regularly post is diminishing, and you just haven’t noticed yet. Even worse, you might actually have a ton of fake followers, which would explain why your business isn’t generating the numbers you’re hoping for.

The question, now, is simple: What should you do? Why, run an Instagram audit, of course!

What Is An Instagram Audit?

Simply put, an Instagram audit is a thorough, step-by-step inspection of the various aspects of your Instagram profile. These aspects include your design and branding, your copy, the level of engagement you have with your followers, the hashtags you use, and even your overall marketing strategy.

Not surprisingly, this may sound like a lot of work on your end. Unfortunately, all of this is necessary; after all, you won’t know exactly what the problem is if you don’t take the necessary steps to identify it in the first place.

Now that you know the importance of running an Instagram audit, it’s time for you to actually start doing it on a regular basis.

Since you’re reading this guide, there’s a pretty good chance you’ve never done one before. In fact, you’re probably not even sure where you should begin.

Don’t worry, though, as this simple checklist’s got you covered.

Step 1: Set Your Targets

This first step works regardless of whether you’ve already created your business Instagram account or if you’re just planning to make one. After all, auditing offers you a chance to identify the aspects of your strategy that aren’t working, and effectively start over. 

As with any business venture, you need to start with a set of goals in mind. You shouldn’t just go off and start without knowing where you want to be at the end of it all. This is especially important when you’re using Instagram for business, as a simple misalignment with your objectives can lead to catastrophic consequences.

Additionally, an Instagram audit gives you a refresher course of sorts on what you want to achieve in the first place. This prevents you from posting content that strays from your objectives in a mad rush to reach your daily quota.

One thing to remember is that your business objectives and marketing objectives must be aligned. If what you’re currently doing isn’t helping you achieve your goals, then you’re just wasting your valuable resources on something that’s almost certainly doomed. For instance, under most circumstances and unless your strategy actually calls for it, you should definitely avoid posting content related to your personal life or leisure activities.

Step 2: Set Your KPIs

Setting your goals is one thing — measuring them is another thing entirely. 

Key performance indicators (KPIs) are measurable values that show how effectively you are achieving the objectives you’ve set. In the case of your business Instagram account, your KPIs tell you what you need to do on the platform to reach your goals, based on how far along you are in your Instagram journey.

If you have a newly created business Instagram account, for example, one of your first goals would definitely be to increase your follower base. In this scenario, your KPI would be measuring the number of new followers you’re getting. You can do this in terms of raw numbers of percentages.

On the other hand, if you feel that you already have a sizable audience, your objective would be to boost your engagement rate on your content. Your KPIs here would be the number of comments, heart reactions, or regrams that you get within a set period of time.

The important thing to note about KPIs is that they must make sense in terms of measurement. Avoid setting abstract concepts and stick to things that you can count.

Step 3: Check The Tone Of Your Messaging

Earlier, we mentioned the importance of keeping personal posts off your business Instagram profile, unless it’s part of your actual strategy. That’s because the overall tone of your content will determine how your followers perceive you.

It may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s certainly worth stating. The way you communicate needs to be consistent with the image you’re projecting.

instagram audit
Apple certainly excels at projecting its carefully crafted image, both in terms of its brand and its products: Simple and story-driven.

Some businesses work by projecting a strictly professional image, which reflects in their choice of words and imagery.

Conversely, others try to be more casual and laid back to better appeal to their audience. This means a warmer, informal, and congenial approach.

Step 4: Use Your Instagram Audit To Assess Your Aesthetics and Branding

In this step of your Instagram audit, you just have to answer one simple question: Does your Instagram page look like your brand?

Basically, you’ll want your audience — your followers, as well as people who are just discovering you on Instagram — to be able to look at your account and instantly associate it with your brand. That means having a look and feel that’s consistent with your image.

Consistency is something that we cannot stress enough. This is why many businesses have a style manual or branding guidelines on hand; it serves as a bible of sorts for anyone who is tasked with creating content for the brand. It ensures that the words, colors, images, and everything else associated with the content remains perfectly aligned with what you’ve already established as your brand voice.

instagram checklist
The official KitKat Instagram page has a clearly defined aesthetic quality. The color red is prominent on most of its posts, and it features excellent shots of the product in carefully arranged displays.

Step 5: Make Sure That You Have A Well-Written Bio

Your Instagram bio can be up to 150 characters long. Imagine having to cram your entire brand identity — who you are, what you stand for, what you can deliver — into such a limited space. It’s a daunting task, but it’s not impossible.

Of course, it has to not only be complete, but also sound like it came from your brand. It must have the right tone, and must say everything that your audience needs to know about you. Remember that your bio must also be carried over to other social media platforms, which makes it doubly important to keep your messaging tight and on point.

Instagram checklist
TIME Magazine’s official bio is a good example of this. It’s brief and well-written, it tells the reader everything they need to know about the brand, and it includes a link.

Again, it’s not about the length of your description. Rather, it’s what you say in it that matters.

Step 6: Upload Your Business Logo

This one is pretty straightforward. Have a high-resolution version of your updated business logo, and upload it as your profile photo. The preferred dimensions are 180×180 pixels, as it looks good on both mobile devices and desktop computers. Don’t worry about a cover photo, as you don’t need one on Instagram.

Other things to take note of when you run your Instagram audit are your username and page name. These are above and below your profile photo, respectively. If you can use your brand name as your username, your page name can be whatever you want to connect to your brand. Otherwise, if someone already beat you to your preferred username, you can use your page name to display your brand name instead.

Step 7: Check Your Website Link

Unlike other social media platforms, you cannot add links to your comments or captions. However, you can put them in your bio or your Instagram Stories. You should definitely take advantage of this feature to enable your followers to directly visit your home page, shop, blog… basically, wherever you want them to go.

Step 8: Evaluate The Quality Of Your Content In Your Instagram Audit

What’s the strategy driving your Instagram posts? Are you simply posting whatever comes to mind, or are you following an editorial calendar? Without a clear sense of the story you want to tell on Instagram, you can’t communicate your main message. 

Your Instagram account isn’t just a daily thought dump. It’s a long narrative that tells your audience everything they need to know about you. They should be able to know that when they look at your account as a whole.

instagram marvel

Again, this is where the various branding elements come into play — the colors, the shapes, the fonts, and all the other aesthetic characteristics that you want to be associated with your brand, as well as the overall tone and language you use in your posts.

Another benefit of running an Instagram audit: You can pinpoint which of your individual posts worked and which ones didn’t. Take note of what you did that made your posts successful. Also, determine the practices you should avoid based on the posts that didn’t get much engagement.

Step 9: Check If You’re Using The Right Hashtags

The importance of hashtags on Instagram cannot be overstated. They allow you to easily monitor your posts and group them by relevance or subject matter. They also enable other users, especially those who aren’t part of your audience yet, to find your posts.

The recommended number of hashtags to add in an Instagram caption would be 20 hashtags. You can definitely put more, but it might make your caption longer and more cumbersome to read.

Also, you shouldn’t just put random hashtags in there to get more people’s attention, especially when the hashtags aren’t even related to your actual content. Trend-jacking — which is basically hijacking a trending topic with your own brand-related spin on it — is a fairly popular marketing technique, but it can go both ways. You might find success with it, but it could also mean disastrous results if not executed properly.

One more thing: Don’t overload your posts with branded hashtags. You’ll lose the authenticity of your brand and turn off a lot of your followers.

Step 10: Do A Fake Follower Check Alongside Your Instagram Audit

Fake followers provide the most superficial and potentially harmful “bonus” to your account. While they do increase your raw follower count, they contribute absolutely nothing to making you look reliable and trustworthy. Not only are they not going to comment anything worthwhile on your posts, but they also certainly won’t convert. If your audience is full of fake followers, then you’re better off talking to a wall. Make sure to get rid of them by doing a fake follower check during your Instagram audit.

So, how can you tell if you have fake followers?

  • The account’s profile or bio section is empty.
  • There are few to zero posts on the account itself.
  • The account owner spams irrelevant or suspiciously spam-looking comments on your posts.
  • The account has a lot of followers, but doesn’t engage with any of them.

Step 11: Assess How You Interact With The Community

The final step in your Instagram audit is assessing how you engage with your followers. Have you been responding to comments? Are you answering their questions properly and promptly? Are you also following the right people and sharing relevant content from them to your own followers?

After you’re done with your Instagram audit, you can modify and improve your strategy and get better results.