You work all day on your social media accounts and those of your clients. Perhaps you’re a content manager, social media manager, entrepreneur or even a digital media producer. Whatever your title may be, it’s important to keep a close eye on your work. You don’t want to put in a ton of effort and execute all your plans without knowing what is performing well and what isn’t, right? Exactly. So that’s where auditing comes in.
A social media audit is a pretty in-depth examination of everything related to your brand’s social media efforts. This covers what people are saying about the brand online, what your competition is up to and, mainly, what the brand is doing itself. All of this has an effect on your bottom line so you can understand why performing an audit like this is actually one of the first things we recommend anyone to do when they start working for a new social media account. All your social media channels deserve an audit like this one, but for the purpose of this blog, we’ll be focusing solely on a brand’s performance on Instagram.
Goals, Goals, Goals!
Before diving into your content, we think it’s important to start at a more strategic level and analyze your goals. Your main task is trying to bring the purpose of your Instagram account to the forefront of your mind. All too often, it’s easy to just get into the rhythm of things, and post nice content without remembering why you’re doing it in the first place. But keeping your (marketing) goals at the center will help you immensely in figuring out how to manage your account more effectively.
Once you re-establish your goals, the next step is looking at how you’re measuring your results related to them. Note down the progress of your key progress indicators (KPIs) over the last period, and maybe add some new ones that you will start tracking. If your goal is to increase brand awareness, then your KPIs are likely to be number of followers or overall reach of your posts. If you work in commerce, your goal for Instagram may be generating leads which you can convert into paid customers later on. So the KPIs for this goal is definitely different from the first one. More focus would be placed on how much traffic gets generated to your lead capture page, or the number of subscribers that come from Instagram. Whatever it may be, it’s important to take a step back to remember the ultimate goal and how your Instagram account is playing its part in realizing them!
Examine Your Profile
This is the first thing that people see when they discover your Instagram account, so you have to do your utmost to make sure it’s on point! There are some general things to keep in mind when it comes to your profile. The first is being consistent with your other platforms by having the same username or profile picture. We recommend this since it’ll help make you discoverable, and it builds into your overall brand identity. If your accounts are the same everywhere, it’s much easier to put more concrete and consistent associations into the heads of consumers. Now, if you choose to have different handles on your Instagram, that’s also fine. This could happen if for example, your brand name is already taken on Instagram. You can opt to contact the account to see if they would let you get the name, or adjust your account accordingly. You can go for something like @yourbrandname.com or @itsyourbrandname for instance. Just ensure that it supports the identity you are trying to bring forward, and also something that’s just as easy to find as searching for the name of your brand!
Next, is to take a look at your biography. It may have been a while since you’ve edited the brand’s bio, so take a moment to see if the information that you have there is still relevant and accurate. Once people read the bio, there shouldn’t be any question left in their mind about what the account is about and what they should expect. Be creative in explaining what your brand is, and communicating the identity that is associated with it. If you have a branded hashtag, you can also include this here if you have space. A good example is @adidas, with their hashtag #SPEEDFACTORY present in the bio. Users can easily explore what others are posting surrounding the brand.
Last but not least, is the profile link. Has your brand always had one static link up? Is it still relevant? If not, update it! Besides checking for the accuracy of the link, this could also be a good time to try out new strategies with your links. It’s pretty common now for brands to change their Instagram profile links to direct people to their latest blogs or promotions. You can also direct them to a lead capture page. Once you’re examining this part of your profile, it’s nice to start considering how you can experiment with new ideas.
Checklist for profile auditing:
- Is the username searchable and ‘on brand’?
- Does the profile picture reflect the brand’s identity?
- Is the profile picture high quality and properly sized?
- Does the bio precisely explain what the brand is about? Are there any branded hashtags to add here?
- Is the profile link accurate and effective? How can this link be used differently?
Study Your Content
Content is king; especially on a platform like Instagram. When you’re planning your content on Instagram, it’s crucial that your feed is cohesive and that you’re telling your brand story in a way that offers value to your audience and resonates with them. The visual content that gets posted on a brand’s Instagram account is the factor that makes or breaks it. Profiles and captions can be great, but if the photo or video itself doesn’t make the audience stop to take a look at it, then it all goes to waste.
The first thing you need to consider when doing an audit is checking if the content that you post does a good job at communicating the brand identity and reaching the desired audience. Take the airline company @KLM for instance. Instead of only posting pictures of their product (planes), they also post destination photos taken by travelers. This helps to communicate a traveler mindset and connect their brand with like-minded people: their ideal target audience.
If you’re posting the right pictures, then the next aspect to consider is if the visuals are up to par when it comes to their quality. Instagram really isn’t the place to post a highly pixelated picture. So scope out the content that has already been posted. Are there any pictures that just don’t make the cut? We’d say archive these so you can preserve your feed.
Staying in line with preserving the feed, the last thing that you should pay attention to is whether there are elements at play that hold your photos together. You can accomplish this by using one color palette or always using the same editing and filter on all the visuals. This will give your feed a much more polished look, and help you to meet your goals on Instagram. People are more drawn to profiles that show off this consistency!
Pro tip: Before posting a visual, use Preppr’s feed preview feature to see beforehand how it will affect the feed. This will make it much more efficient for you to plan your content out.
Checklist for content auditing:
- Are your pictures/videos in line with the brand’s identity?
- Is the content aesthetically pleasing, relevant and high quality?
- Does your feed properly reflect your chosen content themes?
- Is there a consistent editing/filter style at use? Do the visuals stick to the color palette?
- If someone looks at the first 9 pictures, is there a story connecting the content?
Get the Details on Your Hashtags, Captions, and Followers
Your visuals steal the show on Instagram, but your supporting acts deserve some love and attention too. Crafting the perfect caption takes some copy skills, ability to maintain one tone of voice and honestly, a good bit of luck. Take some time to check out the captions of your top performing posts. When performing an audit of them, you should focus your efforts on identifying any trends that appear. This can be a bit of a time-consuming process, but the payoff is great. If you noticed that captions with a particular type of question, or with particular emojis get the most engagement, then you should use them more in the future.
Next to captions are your hashtags, which play a big role in getting your posts discovered and growing your account. Browse your posts to see which hashtags have been used in the account and make a list of all of them. A general rule of thumb is to use hashtags that are specific and niche. That way you’ll attract people who are really into your offerings, and are more likely to follow you and engage repeatedly! We suggest you note down the frequency of the hashtags your brand uses by searching them on Instagram or by using Preppr’s hashtag suggestions feature. If there are only broad hashtags being used, or not enough niche tags, then it’s time to reevaluate the brand’s hashtag strategy.
The performance of your hashtags and captions depends on you trying your utmost to understand your followers. You can’t give them what they’ll enjoy without first knowing who they are and what they are into. While research into your consumers isn’t a part of the audit, it is something that should be performed at some point to get even better at your job!
Last but certainly not least, consider how you interact with the Instagram community. In order to build engagement, you have to start and continue conversations with your audience. This includes responding to the comments that appear under your posts, following users who fall into your niche, and even liking and commenting on the posts of others. If you have a branded hashtag, you can interact by reposting photos from users who use your tag. Interactions can occur in many different ways on Instagram, so pay close attention to what you already do and take a point of those that you’re not yet taking part in.
Checklist for post auditing:
- What types of questions receive the most engagements?
- Is there a consistent tone of voice present in the captions?
- Are emojis being used?
- Is there a mix of broad and niche hashtags? What are the branded hashtags?
- Are the hashtags relevant to the audience?
- How interactive is the account? Are comments and likes left under the account’s images and the accounts of others?
- Does the brand make use of user-generated content?
The point of an audit is to be critical about everything that happens on the Instagram account and that’s why it involves asking yourself a ton of questions and going into detail when answering them. Your answers to them are what you can use to motivate your Instagram strategy going forward. We hope that this blog helped you pick out some points in your strategy that you can optimize and make you an even better Instagrammer in the future!