In this blog, I’ll explain to you what Engagement pods are, and why they don’t work. Last year, I successfully finished my pre-master year. For my thesis, I decided to research how Dutch online entrepreneurs deal with the Instagram Algorithm.
I was quite shocked on the outcome, as it showed that most entrepreneurs were vulnerable to algorithmic gossip. Sounds complicated? Thankfully, it is not as complicated as it sounds. Algorithmic gossip are all tricks which ‘help’ you to rank higher in the algorithm.
I can explain to you why this is gossip: nobody, but really nobody, knows if this actually works. The only persons who do know this work at Instagram (and I think not even all employees there know the exact details). Instagram will never share these kinds of insights, because it goes against their values. They have arranged an algorithm to structure their content for their users. The usage of an algorithm was a choice by Instagram. Therefore, Instagram dislikes when you try to go against this system.
One of these algorithmic gossip methods are Engagement pods. In this blog I’ll explain what it entails, and why you should avoid these at all costs.
What are engagement pods?
Engagement pods are groups of Instagram users, that often use an Instagram DM group. The idea is quite simple: when you post a post, you share this in the group and ask others to engage with the post (like, comment, share or save). When someone else shares their post in the group, you do the same. These groups vary in size: some include 20-30 users, others consist of 100 users. They mainly get used on Instagram, but exist for other platforms as well.
Sounds amazing right? Well, I can tell you that it is too good to be true.
Why you should avoid engagment pods – Entrepreneurs
The people who are in an engagement pod often are in the same industry as you are. Think of lifestyle influencers, online shops, etc. Of course, it is nice to receive a comment on your content, but think about the following question: would you like to receive a comment from a potential client, or a comment of someone from your engagement pod?
I hope you chose the potential client. Which makes sense! That’s why you are using Instagram as a marketing channel right? To attract your target audience, and convert these to paying clients. Focus on this group, and interact with them instead of using engagement pods. By using engagement pods, you are not working towards your goal: connecting with your target audience.
Furthermore, there is an essential element why you should avoid engagement pods: Instagram dislikes these types of tricks. By being a part of an engagement pod, you are risking your account, as it could get deleted.
Why you should avoid engagement pods – Influencers
When we look at engagement pods from the perspective of influencer marketing, it is even more dangerous. Brand managers and influencer marketeers can recognize engagement pods easily. Do the same people comment to someone’s posts over and over again? Engagement pod. Are the comment quite superficial from these people? Engagement pod. It is clearly visible, easy to recognize, and a huge red flag in the influencer selection process.
Instagram shared the following on the algorithm:
This means your feed is based on the following:
Accounts with whom you interact the most
When the post is posted
How often you use Instagram
How many people you follow.
Therefore, try to focus on these points to increase your engagement rate, instead of using Engagement pods. Would you like to learn more about engagement rates? Read this blog.