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How Effective are Instagram Pods?

Ever since Instagram changed its algorithm and started showing posts based on your past behavior instead of showing it in chronological order, people have been trying every single engagement tactic that comes to mind. If you have a reasonable engagement rate, Instagram thinks your content is valuable and will show it to more of your followers. The opposite is also true: Poor engagement will bury your content in your followers’ feed.

Here come Instagram pods which some people are either swearing by, or swearing off. What are Instagram pods, and how do they help in improving Instagram engagement?

What are Instagram pods?

How Effective are Instagram Pods?

Image: Instagram Pod. Photo taken from Deemly

When I first heard about these engagement hacks, I immediately thought they were some variety of podcasts. I was wrong. 

Instagram engagement pods refer to a group of people who help each other increase engagement — follows, likes, or comments. 

If you belong to a pod, each of you will take turns “dropping” or sharing their content so that other pod members can like and comment on it. Each pod has its own set of rules and the most common ones are:

  • No leeching: You have to like or comment on other member’s content after you’ve enjoyed the pod’s engagement benefit. 
  • Follow the time: There is a predetermined time when the pods drop, and you have to obey that.
  • Follow deadlines: There’s usually a specific number of hours for you to fulfill your end of the agreement. For instance, you have to like or comment within one to five hours from the time the content is dropped. 
  • No chatting: Pods exist for business purposes only, so there’s no chat to chat allowed.
  • Follower count: Some pods have follower count requirements that you need to comply with to be able to join.

Some pods cater to specific niches, so your content must also be similar to what others are creating. The number of pod members can range from 20 to more than 2,000. Obviously, it’s easier to meet the engagement deadline if there are only a few members, but what happens when there are 2,000 members? Even when only half of them are active, it’ll be difficult to engage with every piece of dropped content in an hour or two. When you can’t comply, most pods will block you and will send you a message that says you can join again if you pay a certain amount of money.

Are Instagram engagement pods effective?

When you join a pod of, say, 500 active members, you will get 500 likes and comments on your new post. Some pods require their members to also engage with the last five posts on each member’s profile, but this is rare. In this point of view, Instagram pods are definitely an effective engagement tactic.

However, when you dive in deeper, there are some things about pods you may not like.

  • The spike in engagement will be dubious: When your normal post engagement is only less than 100, and suddenly you’re getting 500 to 1,000 likes, this will look suspicious. People who have used pods will definitely notice, while people who haven’t will still become suspicious especially when your Instagram follower count isn’t increasing too. This can discourage real fans of your accounts. 
  • It takes so much time: This is especially true when you join multiple pods. You will need three to five hours a day liking and commenting on other posts, some of which you aren’t even interested in. If you have a team, you need to assign one team member solely to work on engagement pods.
  • The engagement doesn’t create value: Aside from impressing Instagram’s algorithm, another reason why brands want engagement is to build a community that can later be converted into sales. With pods, you only get engagement from people who are only looking to increase engagement for themselves, and they are not really interested in what you have to offer. Brands also need to look out for influencers who use pods as you may end up paying them for engagement that is not really of value. 
  • Instagram’s algorithm might notice: Facebook invests a lot in its algorithms, both on Facebook and on Instagram. A sudden increase in your engagement may alert them and will raise a red flag about you in their system. You can get shadowbanned or worse when this happens. 

You have to be careful when joining Instagram engagement pods for the reasons listed above. However, there are some ways that these pods can work to your advantage: 

  • One is by looking for a niche pod that is related to your brand. If you’re selling fashion accessories, for example, you can look for pods whose members are into fashion, clothing brands, and jewelry. 
  • Instead of just joining these niche pods for the sake of getting engagement in return, you can learn from them, especially those members who are already established. 
  • You can improve your content and make sure that they are what your target audience really wants to see. 

You also would want to join small pods instead of bigger ones. Members of small pods tend to coach each other and give tips on how to improve the content, so you can get insights and not only the required engagement. 

Where to find engagement pods

Whether engagement pods are effective or not is ultimately up to you. If you join them to spike up your engagement, then the other members are also thinking the same thing. The result is that the engagement isn’t worth anything as they can’t be built into a community, and they can even be detrimental to your account if Instagram’s algorithm detects it. 

However, if you go for niche and smaller pods and take to heart the coaching and tips that are given by the other members, then you can get the most out of them.

Instagram pods are found in:

  • Reddit: There’s a subreddit called IGPods where pods post about needing new members. Members of these pods often use Instagram to message other members when it’s time to drop their content.
  • Telegram: This is the primary source of pods, but you will usually find larger pods on Telegram.
  • Facebook: There are hundreds of groups on Facebook that you can join, like the Instagram Marketing Mastermind pod, but most of them are on an invite-only basis. They are also stricter since they review your content first before you can make the cut. 

Of course, there are pods that start within Instagram itself, but they are incredibly hard to find and join. You need to get invited, but it’s difficult to find a pod member since most of them don’t want to admit that they are using pods. 

Date: August 30, 2019 / Categories: Engagement, / Author: Disturbinsilence


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