Running an Instagram audit is something all account owners should do, from time to time. However, we realised that now more than ever, people need to assess the quality of their account.
Like all best stories, this starts a bit further back in time…
For the ones who may not know, HypeAuditor is the Instagram analytics and fraud detection tool, created with content creators in mind.
If you are wondering why Hypeauditor was born, let me share some data with you: whilst doing marketing research for our marketplace, we asked a poll of 500 health and wellness brands how highly do they rank the quality of their influencers’ audience over the quantity.
We ran the same survey two years in a row, and the results were fascinating: in 2018 30% ranked quantity and quality on almost equal grounds, whilst in early 2019 the same survey saw 75% of brands ranking quality of followers over quantity (based on 500 brands surveyed in 2018 and 2019, Creative Impact Marketplace).
Why the quality of your account may be at risk
Some influencers may force the growth of their accounts by using ambiguous methods, which means, in the best case scenario, they won’t reach the desired goals. In the worst, their account will be flooded with the tonnes of bots, who drop your reach and damage your reputation as an authentic influencer.
That said, every account attracts a degree of ghost followers (bot or inactive accounts) – and as we decided to apply specific benchmarking principles to any new applicant for the Creative Impact Marketplace, we decided to equip our influencers with a simple 3-step guide to improve engagement rate, follower growth behaviours and media value, 3 of the 8 markers we use to benchmark our influencers.
We wanted to create a guide that would cover both the way your account looks and feels, as well as the quality of your own engagement.
Step one: the look and feel of your account
Let’s start with the fun stuff, shall we? This is the best time for you to have a hard look at your own profile and feed.
Developing a cohesive visual style for your brand is the most effective way to communicate what your Instagram is all about. Consistency is what embeds your brand into people’s memories. That way, rather than having to tell them who you are and why you’re valuable, you actually show them.
“If someone were to receive an email from you, see your Instagram, and visit your website, would they know all of those channels are part of the same brand?”
The number one mistake people make on Instagram is that they don’t create a great looking feed that truly expresses what they do and who they are in a way that is pleasing to the eye and draws people in.
I strongly believe that if you don’t get this right first then you are wasting a lot of time and energy trying to build your account and your tribe on Instagram.
You only have 3 seconds to make an impression so when you have an account that looks amazing and echoes the truth of who you are it will speak directly to the hearts and minds of your audience.
A lot of people also forget about their bio and picture, as well as their link in bio. It’s essential to take the time to routinely check that your profile, best links and highlights are representing your current brand.
Step two: go on a follower clean-up spree
How can you detect ghost followers? Obviously, there are different aspects you’ll need to look at, as these people are fake or inactive users on Instagram who don’t engage with your content. The accounts rarely have any content on their profiles and are often created by bots. Their handles are usually combining a string of names, numbers and are often private and have no profile photo. Once you recognise them, it’s time to go through your own account and see who follows you – fun, right?
Obviously, it can be daunting to scan through all of your likes, so looking at your follower list is a great alternative. You can either remove the followers or block them – with some of them, you won’t even need to check their profile.
I’ve searched long and hard for a program that not only identifies ghost followers but can remove them in bulk without fear of blocking those real followers who don’t post regularly. Deleting people manually seems to be the way to go.
We are using this manual principle for the @creativeimpactco Instagram account, and the “quality” of our followers – as per Hypeauditor ranking – is increased (as well as our overall engagement, by 1.5%!) On the upside, by doing it manually you are slowly shifting through your followers, instead of bulk deleting. Bulk deleting can be seen by Instagram as an “automated” activity, and that can also affect your overall account visibility.
Let’s say you do your full “account spree”, how do you make sure you do not get back to square one?
Implementing a day-to-day practise is essential: check in your latest followers, and delete anything that looks suspicious or simply not your right fit.
It sounds counterproductive to delete someone who follows you, but you should know what type of audience wants to engage with you – and their accounts can give a clear snapshot of whether they are a good fit.
Step three: engage with your followers
If you like structure for engagement, I am a big fan of the 5-3-1 technique: “once you find an account you like and would want to follow you: “Like” the last 5 photos they posted. Comment on their last 3 photos. Get 1 new follower.” (Kicksta)
Commenting on other user’s content, liking relevant pictures, or following similar accounts is a great way to slowly build a following – that we knew already. Truth is, making sure you also engage with followers who engaged with your content is a lovely surprise for them. Find a way to keep your content in their feed.
The fact that followers can see your content means that the algorithm still perceives it as relevant to them – and that also requires them to engage with it in the first place.
The bottom line
Keeping your Instagram account healthy is not a “one time job”. In social media, pretty much nothing is really. It’s a mix of consistent work, and booking in the time to go through your account.