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How to Evaluate Your Instagram Profile Performance Unlocking the power of Instagram starts with learning to see what works and what doesn't.

By Lesya Liu Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Thomas Trutschel | Getty Images

If you're using Instagram seriously, you need to track and evaluate your results on this platform.

If you've claimed your profile as business account, you will get great insights on Instagram itself. Click into Analytics, and you will be able to see statistics on your post engagement, audience, Stories and any paid promotion you have running.

Start with a Posts section, as there are a few important metrics you need to know. First of all, because algorithm changes and performance of your recent posts affect your reach, average out the reach of your posts. See whether it decreases, increases, or stays consistent, on a weekly or monthly basis. Then, do the same thing for an average number of engagements and see what trend it has. Finally, what's most important, find out your average engagement rate by dividing the average number of engagement by the average reach.

Related: 10 Proven Ways to Make Millions on Social Media

Also pay attention to your top posts. They will give you a great insight into content preferences of your audience. If you see some trends and specific content that perform well every time, definitely leverage that knowledge and post more of similar content.

Now, go into followers and see what trends you can discover there. First of all, you want your following to grow. So, negative number means that you've actually lost more followers than you've gained.

This is usually a bad sign unless you were off the platform for some time, or you dramatically changed your branding. This is not to say that you can't take the time off or change your branding, just be prepared to lose some followers. Simply see it as an opportunity to get crystal clear on your new path and gain new followers that will love your new positioning.

Also, while we're on the topic of audience, check their gender, age, and location. This basic demographic data will help you understand whether your Instagram audience roughly aligns with the target audience you've set for your business.

While huge following on Instagram might seem awesome on the surface, we want these people to go to your website and convert into paying customers. And if they're a wrong audience with completely different needs and life stages, than it will be hard -- if not impossible -- to convince them to purchase something from you.

Related: 10 Social-Media Trends to Prepare for in 2018

Finally, get your insight into the performance of your Stories. While Stories might not be so vital to your business performance, they're great for seeing what your followers like and what types of content they prefer.

Use Stories, and its performance, as sort of a test lab for new content, new angles, more casual content, and see what your audience responds to best. If you're able to uncover some bigger trends, like preference for a more casual content, or more promotional content than you can slowly introduce more of such content into your traditional feed.

So, this is all great, but what do you do if you didn't claim your account as Business and don't intend to do it? You can get most of the information from a variety of other tools and apps available in the market.

There are free tools, such as Hootsuite, Websta, UnionMetics, SimplyMeasured free report and SquareLovin. Yet, one thing to keep in mind with free reports and tools is that they'll give you a rather big overview snapshot of your Instagram presence.

If you want to track your Instagram efforts better, you will have to invest into paid offerings as they provide much more information in real time. IconoSquare provides a lot of dynamic data on engagement and focuses heavy on your community-building efforts.

Related: This Instagrammer With More Than 2 Million Followers Literally Cooks Her Content

Analyzing the performance of your Instagram account is the first step in making it an effective marketing tool. Smart marketers not only know exactly how their account performs and how many followers it attracts, and how engaging on average a given post should be, but they also look for bigger trends like the right audience and content preferences.

Finally, if your engagement rate or your following is not where you want it to be, knowing your statistics will help you fix the course with better, more targeted content.

Lesya Liu

Social Media Strategist at The Social Media Current

Lesya Liu helps entrepreneurs create a meaningful and profitable Instagram presence that feels right for their creative businesses. Born and raised in Ukraine, she is a social media strategist and a photographer. Her passion lies in combining art and marketing to create compelling storytelling, both visually and textually. Most days she roams the Interwebs, looking for fresh, inspirational ideas or testing things out on her own social channels.

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