Have your Instagram engagement rates been dwindling? Perhaps your performance flatlines no matter what strategies you try. That’s when you need to take a good look at your profile and figure out what is or isn’t working for your brand. An Instagram audit helps you do just that.

Even if everything seems fine with your Instagram marketing efforts right now, an occasional Instagram audit still makes sense. It helps you get ahead of the curve and prevent issues before they arise. Are you seeing a sudden spike in fake followers? Is your posting frequency just not working anymore? You’ll get answers to all of these questions with a thorough Instagram audit.

This guide shows you how you can audit Instagram performance in various aspects. Let’s dive in.

Before the audit

Before you begin your Instagram audit, there are a few things you need to take care of. First, you have to be clear about why you’re using Instagram for your business in the first place? What is it you want to get out of your business Instagram account? In other words, what’s the goal of your Instagram account?

Your Instagram audit should help you determine how well you’ve been meeting those goals. And for this, you also need to narrow down on the key performance indicators (KPIs) that align with the goal. Perhaps you want to look at follower growth, interactions, traffic, etc. depending on what’s most important to you. And you could also have different goals and KPIs for different campaigns.

Figure out which KPIs matter to you for this specific Instagram audit so you know what to look for.

Audit your Instagram content

The key to Instagram success is sharing content that resonates with your target audience. So an Instagram account audit needs to start with a thorough assessment of your content. The goal is to figure out what kind of content works best for your Instagram strategy.

1. Check your content quality

Are you posting high-resolution images and videos? Or do you have too much blurry and low-resolution imagery? This could significantly drag your whole aesthetic down, not to mention your account credibility.

Following the recommended image sizes for Instagram could fix and prevent a lot of quality issues. Ideally, your images for feed posts should be 1080 x 1080 pixels and 1080 x 1920 pixels for Stories.

2. Assess your content relevance

For your content to resonate with your audience, it needs to be relevant to them. Does it align with their interests or address their pain points? Find out by going through comments to see what people are saying about your posts.

You can also check out your most successful posts and compare those posts to the rest of your feed. The native Instagram Insights tool will show you your Top Posts and Top Stories. Using this information, you can determine what type of content engages your audience the most.

3. Examine your posting frequency and schedule

Timing matters, especially when it comes to social media publishing. Are you posting too much or not enough? And most importantly, are you posting at a time when you’re most likely to reach your audience?

According to a Sprout Social analysis, Wednesday is the best day to post on Instagram. As for timing, 11 a.m. on Wednesdays and 10—11 a.m. on Fridays are the best times to post.

2021 Instagram overall best times to post

Does your current posting schedule aligns with this? It would be wise to conduct an analysis of your own account to see when your followers are the most active and which posting frequency works best for you.

4. Check your overall content mix

Are you publishing a good mix of content types? Your Instagram feed should have a balanced mixture of promotional and non-promotional content as well as user-generated content. This helps create a well-rounded feed that accurately represents your brand.

Remember to switch between different content formats as well instead of solely focusing on photo posts. Videos, carousels, shoppable posts and IGTV previews should also be a part of your feed.

The Sprout Instagram feed consists of a good mix of employee highlights, useful tips, relatable posts and more.

The Sprout Instagram feed features a good mix of different content types, from images to carousels to video.

5. Go through your captions

Your captions give more context about your Instagram posts, so they should be consistent while aligning with your brand voice. During your Instagram account audit, make sure you go through the captions of your top-performing posts to figure out what’s working.

Do you keep them short or go a bit more in-depth? Are you asking questions? Do they have emojis? How many hashtags do you usually use? All of this will help you figure out what makes your posts engaging and how to replicate the results.

6. Analyze your hashtags

With hashtags playing a critical role in the Instagram algorithm, it’s crucial that your Instagram audit report also includes hashtag analysis. The idea is to figure out which hashtags you’re using and which ones are working for you. You can then use these insights to optimize your content strategy and future posts for better visibility and engagement.

Use Sprout’s Instagram Analytics tool to run a thorough analysis of your Instagram hashtags. This tool gives you a detailed breakdown of your most used hashtags and hashtags that drive the most engagement on your posts.

Sprout Social Reports dashboard highlighting Instagram hashtag performance

Audit your Instagram followers

An Instagram follower audit is another critical aspect of your Instagram audit. Auditing your followers helps you understand them better, so you can figure out how to share more relevant content.

1. Study your audience’s interests

To conduct an Instagram follower audit, first find out what your audience likes. What are their interests and preferences? Again, you can get demographics data from your Instagram Insights. This should give you some basic idea about what your audience might like.

To complement this, you can also conduct polls through your Instagram Stories or ask them questions in your captions. Don’t forget to check out the other accounts your followers are following. This can also help you make sense of their other interests.

2. Weed out fake/bot followers

A fake followers audit is another critical step. There are entire businesses that make money out of creating bot followers that people can buy to ramp up their following. These bot accounts often follow other accounts to seem a bit more authentic. And whether you like it or not, you could be a victim of fake follower invasions.

This means you’ll get disproportionate amounts of followers compared to actual engagements on your posts, further damaging your numbers. Tools like Fake Follower Check from Modash and the Instagram Audit Tool from Influencer Marketing Hub can help you spot these fake followers and weed them out.

Audit your Instagram profile and branding

Your Instagram account audit can’t be complete without an audit of your profile and branding. Make sure your Instagram profile aligns with your brand visual identity and that you maintain consistent branding throughout.

1. Check your overall feed aesthetic

Are you maintaining a consistent aesthetic throughout your Instagram feed? Some brands try to keep things consistent with brand colors or themes that align with the brand personality. So take a closer look at your feed and see if visitors can instantly get a feel of the visual identity you want to portray through the aesthetic.

2. Review and refresh your bio

Is your Instagram bio reflective of your brand identity? Does it have all the info you want your followers to know? Does it have updated links to your profile or landing pages? It’s good to occasionally review your Instagram Business Account bio to keep things fresh and relevant.

The Sprout Instagram bio explains what the brand is all about and what’s shared on Instagram.

Sprout Socials' Instagram bio clearly explains the brand's purpose

3. Check for branding consistency

Is your Instagram branding consistent with your branding across all social platforms? For starters, make sure you’re using the same profile image across all your social media profiles. And what about consistency in your profile name and handles? All of these factors play into your overall branding strategy, so make sure you occasionally review them for consistency.

Additionally, you should also use Instagram Highlights cover images that align with your brand’s visual identity. For Sprout, colors and graphics help maintain a consistent visual identity in the cover images for our Instagram Highlights.

The cover images for Sprout's Instagram Highlights feature colors and graphics consistent with the brand's visual identity

Gear up for growth with Instagram audits

Running an Instagram audit provides you with valuable insights of your marketing and content strategy. It’s the key to fueling Instagram growth and boosting your performance. And don’t forget to start out with a clear goal before you begin your audit so you know where to focus your efforts. If you need a little help with this, read our guide on how to set social media goals.