Why You Shouldn’t Join An Instagram Pod

Why you shouldn't join an Instagram pod

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Instagram pods or engagement groups are not a new concept, but I feel like recently I keep seeing them everywhere. Designed to grow your Instagram account by improving your engagement rate, joining an engagement group could do you more harm than good.

What Is A Pod?

An engagement group or pod is a group of Instagram users who agree to comment on and like all of each other’s Instagram posts, usually within a specified time after posting. These groups can range in size from around 15 users up to 1000 users or more.

Pods first became prominent in 2016 when Instagram dropped the chronological feed in favour of an algorithmically-curated feed which prioritises content from the accounts which you engage with the most. Many people feel that since then, their engagement and reach have dropped so they want a way to overcome this.

The (unproven) theory behind pods is this; if your post receives a lot of engagement immediately after being posted, Instagram will then show it to even more users, improving your reach and ultimately leading to an increase in followers.

Why Shouldn’t You Join A Pod?

Instagram will know (and they could limit your reach)

First and foremost, if you join a pod it will be obvious. If the same users always like your posts and comment on them within 30 minutes of them being posted, Instagram will notice. Instagram do not approve of people trying to cheat the system and so if they think you’re part of a pod, it’s likely that they will reduce the reach of your posts rather than increase it. It may well become that your posts are only shown to people in the pod and not to any outside of it, completely defeating the purpose of being in a pod.

You might put off genuine followers

Not only will Instagram notice, your other followers might too. If you have a low number of followers but a high number of likes and comments, that will look suspicious. Most Instagram users have a relatively low engagement rate, with the average being around 1% (although this varies by industry). The comments left by other people in your pod could also give the game away. Because they are not genuinely interested in your content, the comments will often be generic, consisting of only emojis or a couple of words. If your genuine followers notice this, it could negatively affect the way they view you. Lots of comments which look like spam can be off putting.

Your Instagram insights won’t be accurate

Joining a pod makes it difficult to measure which of your posts are popular with your followers and which are not. Having a set of people who engage with everything you post will skew your analytics and make all of your posts seem more successful than they really are. Your priority on Instagram should be creating content which provides value to your followers. If your analytics are not a true reflection of what your followers want to see, then how will you know if you’re creating the content that they want from you?

Being in a pod is time consuming

Something else to consider is the amount of time required to be a member of an engagement group. If you’re in a pod with 1000 other people and you’re obliged to engage with every post within a specified time frame, you’re going to be spending hours on Instagram. Now, you won’t ever hear me saying that social media is a waste of time but you have to spend your time wisely. It is much better to spend your time interacting with potential customers and accounts that you genuinely love, than it is to interact with a lot of irrelevant accounts who have no interest in what you’re offering.

 

The bottom line is that people and businesses who have built up loyal, highly engaged followings are not, and never have been, members of engagement groups. Success on Instagram comes from consistently creating useful content which will attract an audience who are genuinely interested in what you do. Although it might sound boring, sometimes you need to be patient when it comes to growing your Instagram account. Once you’ve built an engaged following of potential customers, it will be worth it.

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