Are you searching about engagement pods? Well, we all know that the Instagram algorithm changes as often as the moon’s position in the sky, right? And obviously, the algorithm is the main deciding factor on how many people see your posts.
The most recent algorithm change saw Instagram move away from the chronological order of posts. Instead, it began assessing what kind of content people like based on their past behavior, and started showing them more of the same. Your post is also more likely to get highlighted if you already have high engagement.
This is not good news if you are just starting out on Instagram because it makes it harder for small businesses and brands to build a following and gain interaction.
But what if there were something you could do to increase your engagement with very little effort on your part? You would immediately jump on that train, right? And no, this is not something that sounds too good to be true. That ‘train’ exists, and is known as an engagement pod.
What Is An Engagement Pod?
An engagement pod is a group of people who share their posts within the group and boost each other’s engagement by liking, commenting, and sharing each other’s content.
These groups (or pods) can range from having anywhere between 20-30 to thousands of people. The most common are Instagram engagement pods, although they exist for other social media platforms as well. Pods may either be all-encompassing, or cater only to a specific niche (say, fashion or photography).
But what is the rationale behind these engagement pods? How and why do they work?
How Do Engagement Pods Work?
When you engage with others’ content from within the group, you get engagement in return. When your post receives more traction, Instagram gets the message that this is content that people want to see. Therefore, your post gets boosted and you get even more organic engagement! A win-win situation for all!
However, this is going to work only if everybody in the group cooperates. So most pods have some ground rules that the participants need to follow.
The first rule is to not use these pods for chit-chat. Their only purpose exists in sharing content, so stick to it!
The second – and arguably, the most important – rule is do not leech (i.e. don’t be selfish). What do we mean by that? Leeching is when you share your content to the pods and get engagement, but don’t like or comment on others’ posts.
Third, commit to engaging properly. An example is commenting more than four words to signal to Instagram that you are an actual person, and not a bot generating random comments. So simple one word comments like “beautiful!” are not going to cut it. You need to actually spend time on the post and comment something meaningful.
How To Find An Engagement Pod
Social media engagement pods are usually easy to find. Simply searching for variations of ‘Instagram Engagement Pods’ across Facebook or Telegram will give you tons of results. Reddit also has a subreddit called r/IGpods where you can join existing pods, or even create new ones yourself.
Finding an engagement pod is easy. Finding a quality engagement pod, on the other hand? Not so much.
These are usually niche pods which have around 10-20 members. Chances are, you won’t even know the existence of these pods unless you have an inside source. Joining them often requires an invitation as well. The key to finding such pods is networking with others in your niche.
Why Engagement Pods Might Be a Bad Idea
These pods sound like an easy way to get around the Instagram algorithm, right? Well, they may not be as effective as you think, not to mention the various drawbacks..
The main criteria that the Instagram algorithm uses to judge whether or not to boost your post is organic engagement. Engagement pods are NOT organic engagement.
Yes, they give you an exponential rise in likes and comments. But these pods tend to fizzle out after a while. As soon as you stop using these pods, your engagement levels are going to drop back drastically. The algorithm is designed to be smart. So this sudden spike and drop will send signals to Instagram that something sketchy might be going on. This may put you at risk of getting your account activity limited.
Another major drawback of these pods is that the engagement you get is not real engagement. The other pod users don’t actually care about your content. This is just a chore that they have to do in order to grow their account. In the end, you do not get loyal followers, which will be detrimental to you in the long run. This is especially true for businesses because they run on having a loyal customer base.
Even though engagement pods might seem like a lot of bang for a buck, they are very time consuming. Imagine having to comment on tens of hundreds of posts every day. By the time you look up from your phone, this would have eaten up hours of your day. Your time and efforts would be better spent on creative marketing strategies that yield actual results.
Forced engagement can only go so far, and that is exactly what engagement pods provide. You are forced to interact with others regardless of whether their page is in your niche or not. The more you engage with other accounts in your niche, the more Instagram identifies your account as being in the same niche. This means your account is more likely to get recommended to people who follow others from your niche. If you are a fashion brand engaging with food accounts.. well, that is just useless.
Moreover, the other users from the pod are not likely to follow you. So your page ends up having 5000 likes with only 700 followers. This seems very suspicious. I don’t know about you, but I am unlikely to purchase from brands that show signs of suspicion.
The bottom line is that engagement pods hardly lead to meaningful results. So you are better off making good content and networking the old way.