Instagram Engagement Pods 101
If you have spent enough time on social media — especially Twitter and Facebook — you probably have, and may even have stumbled upon one or two.
Instagram engagement pods (note: there are pods even for Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and other social media, if you’re wondering) often take the form of engagement threads started by someone in a certain niche, other times they’re groups or chats on either social media or forums.
No matter what you think about these pods, they’re mostly used by influencers and bloggers and they come with some benefits.
As well as some dangers.
Whether you decide to use them or not, we suggest that you read this article start to finish before making a decision.
We’ll start with the basics.
What Are Instagram Engagement Pods?
An Instagram engagement pod is a group of people (a ‘pod’ indeed) who join forces to help each other boost engagement on Instagram.
Examples of pods include Instagram Posse and IG Engagement Space on Facebook:
Usually engagement boosts take the form of comments, follows or likes, although the latter is rarely encouraged compared to the other two.
There are Instagram engagement pods that are generic for all types of Instagram channels, and then there are niche-specific pods that unite instagrammers who are devoted to a single niche (e.g. beauty, lifestyle, mental health, books, etc.).
Generally speaking, pods come with rules. Usually they have daily threads for promotion and they come with the prerequisite that you can take only if you’re open to giving (e.g. people comment your content but you also have to comment other’s content). You can’t only take. So for each link you drop in the thread, you should comment/follow/like at least another Instagram account’s content.
The Pros: Are Instagram Engagement Pods Beneficial to Your Brand?
Instagram pods can be a good idea for three reasons:
- They are free to use
- They get you involved in the niche
- If used well, they create real engagement on your Instagram content
There is no fee to participate in (or create) a pod and you can join as many as you like. This is definitely a plus for all instagrammers and brands who work with a low budget and can’t afford advertising.
Secondly, especially if you’re a personal brand or an individual instagrammer, pod activity can get you personally involved with other accounts in your niche or industry and creating connections can become extremely easy. The truth is that pod activity can be a great way to build initial relationships with others in your niche.
Finally, if the pods you join don’t require that users mindlessly like or comment other accounts that are not related to theirs, the engagement created on posts is real and may come with opportunities for growth (e.g. encouraging comments that also suggest ways to improve the content).
The Cons: Are Instagram Engagement Pods Dangerous?
Sadly, there are also cons to using pods.
It can be easy to get flagged as cheating in the influencer world and lose trust and campaigns, because other brands might see your engagement numbers as merely a result of your pods activity, not spontaneous engagement.
That’s why it’s important to use pods with caution and to always work on your organic reach first: pods engagement should be a ‘plus’, not the entirety of your engagement.
And it’s why it’s also important to encourage people in pods to only like and comment on your content if they’re genuinely interested in it, not just to return the favor or to follow pod rules. The key is to avoid reciprocity abuse.
The rule of thumb is to chose high quality pods that encourage genuine interactions rather than the mere boosting of numbers.
Also, we have to give you a word of warning about a nasty phenomenon: some pod users follow or like only for a certain period of time, then they will remove their ‘vote’ once they have obtained their share of the cake. In that case, the benefits you obtained are lost.
Watch out for this phenomenon and be ready to report the user to the pod administrator.
Finally, using Instagram pods is time consuming and not very scalable in the long term. It’s much better to come up with smart promotion strategies to organically increase your engagement.
Using With Caution: Mistakes to Avoid on Engagement Pods
There are 4 mistakes you better avoid when you use engagement pods, that follow directly from all we’ve told you about pods so far:
- Avoid pods that ban easily for not completing activities or for not doing it within a given time frame.
- Avoid pods that are low quality and unmoderated.
- Don’t fake your interest: because this is a time consuming activity and it risks to not be relevant to your brand, only engage with accounts that are similar to your own or closely related, and encourage genuine engagement from these accounts on your own.
- Be careful to not overdo it on pods: social networks improved their algorithms to watch any sudden spikes in engagement that might look suspicious, so don’t risk it.
Now that you know the pros and cons of Instagram engagement pods, you may have decided to give them a try. In that case, read the following section to get yourself started with pods.
What Instagram Engagement Pods to Join to Get Started?
Below is a list of pods and pod hubs you may want to try:
- Instagram Posse – “We’re all about growing together on Instagram. Through targeted research and experience, we work together to develop and employ Instagram marketing tactics that are catalysts for growth.” (cit. group description)
- IG Engagement Space – “This is a group to help you boost your Instagram engagement. We want this to be the place where you can ask other IG users about your engagement concerns, collaborations and mainly support each other to grow your social media. Daily like, comment and follow threads!” (cit. group description)
- Instagram Daily Engagement Group – “This is an engagement group for Instagram users looking to connect with other users and increase their engagement.” (cit. group description) Publishes 3 engagement threads a day.
- Instagram Visiblity Pod (WhatsApp chat)
- IGPods (Reddit)
- Instagram Pod by Wolf Global
- Instagram Marketing Mastermind PODS – “Here you can find like minded Instagrammer’s to create ‘pods’ or ‘engagement groups’ with.” (cit.group description)
How to Join and Engagement Pod:
- Find a pod (for example, one from the above list)
- Follow the instructions to join (every pod has signup instructions and rules, make sure you read every document thoroughly)
- Join and follow the rules to enjoy the activity
You can also find Instagram engagement threads on Twitter if you search the #bookbloggers hashtag for Instagram related tweets. An example:
There are also blog promotion channels that have Instagram engagement threads, like Blogging Babes RT:
The key is encouraging genuine interactions on your channel and to use Instagram pods sparingly and only to add a ‘plus’ to your existing engagement.
Working on your organic Instagram growth is paramount.
Do you have any experience with Instagram engagement pods?
Share in the comments below.