• Meriem Belhiba

Instagram Pods: What you need to know!


If you’re on Instagram, you have surely heard about instagram pods and read a few excited marketers raving about their usefulness. But, if you missed the hype, we’re here to give you what you need to know about instagram pods.


So, what the hell is an Instagram engagement pod?




Instagram pods are micro-communities on Instagram where users trade likes, comments and shares.


Members of these communities have to engage with other members' posts in order to receive the same type of engagement on their content.


Obviously, the main goal of taking part in instagram pods is to improve engagement rates of each member. With all Instagram algorithm updates users are forced to think about solutions to enhance their engagement rates in order to gain more visibility and trick algorithms to rank in the explore part.


Each pod has its own rules, restrictions and specificities. While some pods are instagram accounts with thousands of followers, other pods are only small instagram accounts with only a handful number of followers.


As instagram allows up to 15 users in DM groups, participants in pods usually create groups on whatsapp or telegram to communicate easily and seamlessly.

But wait, joining instagram pods isn’t as easy as you may think. You need to embark in a journey of researching to pinpoint some pods. Not everyone is open about being a part of a pod group. Only a few of participants can indulge in boasting about tricking instagram algorithms.


How to use an Instagram pod?



Remember when we said it’s not easy to join a pod? We bet you’re wondering why it is a hard mission. The answer is simple: a pod should be joined by honest and discrete participants. You need to invest time to build strong bonds with the community in order to gain a little bit of visibility, credibility and authority. These efforts will eventually make you able to find useful contacts. But, you need to pay attention to all the platforms where your community is active. Facebook groups would be a great source of contacts as they are brimming of discussions. Telegram is also a good place to find big and active communities.


If you’re taking this seriously, you need to be strategic. Join pods dedicated to the same business activities as yours. This allows you to interact with audiences similar, in a way or another, your marketing audience. Being selective is good for effective long-term results. But; you need to know that joining a single pod is barely sufficient to achieve your goals and improve your engagement rates.

Later, you will have guidelines to follow in a strict way to partake in this game. Each group has its own guidelines and rules, but here are some examples:

  • Like and comment on the posts of other members.

  • Write comments with a minimum of number of words, like at least 5 words.

  • Follow the accounts of the admins of the group.

  • Interact with posts within a specific range of time, like within 24H.


Beware!


In case you breach the imposed rules of the community, you will be quickly kicked off and even labeled as a “leech” . This is how they refer to users who take advantage of shares and don’t respect the rules in counterpart.

Some users head to telegram messenger in order to protect themselves from being penalized by Instagram. While Facebook groups are still active, some prefer using Telegram messengers in order not to be flagged. A good way to protect your account and not to disclose your gaming strategy is to use other platforms like Reddit, Whatsapp and Telegram.


Investing all these efforts, is it really worth it?


What are you putting at stake by partaking in Instagram pods?


Manipulating algorithms and increasing your content’s popularity using this tactic can underlie some risks. Called reciprocity abuse, this technique generates fake engagement coming from users that are neither your prospects nor your marketing audience. And, with the use of machine learning, Instagram can detect these practices and take strict measures against manipulating accounts.


Let’s talk about the risks you’re taking when you use Instagram pods!


Shadow banning:



Shadow banning, referred to differently as ghost banning or stealth banning, is applied once Instagram detects a bizarre activity in your profile.

In fact, when you share a direct link towards a post, instagram detects the inbound links. Instagram would hide your content at first. Then, you can be shadow banned if you continue collecting fake likes and comments.

Zero credibility = Zero trust:

Can you guess the impact of commenting and liking content that has nothing to do with your brand? Let’s count them!

  1. Dull comments that show nothing but the lack of honest exchange of opinion.

  2. Poor quality of interaction.

  3. Enhanced reach but without any direct impact on your business

  4. Long term impacts on your Instagram content strategy/

These are the most blatant negative impacts of leading a poorly elaborated instagram strategy.


Time wasting:


Joining and partaking in pods would turn out time-consuming. You would be spending a lot of time interacting with the community by liking, commenting and sharing their content.


When you’re a brand owner or entrepreneur this can be very frustrating and difficult to do on a regular basis. Without consistency you would never reap the advantages of pods. Worst, you can be banned from the group for not being active. Being active is the pillar of this concept. Without it, you’re clearly breaching the strictest of rules.


Automatization ruins it!


Yes, not every comment is manually written. A lot of users tend to use automatization tools to automatically comment on posts. You may have mass-liking whenever you post a piece of content and have to deal with tens of comments that are poorly written with excessively positive feedback.

Sometimes, you would find yourself forced to like and comment on posts that run counter your brand values.

This is quite dangerous if you’re taking your business seriously and you embrace a business mindset.

Recently instagram marketers are engaging in various debates over hiding likes on instagram. If Instagram decides to carry on these updates, pods should be put into question. What would be the use of pods if likes are no longer public?


In the end of the day, isn't it more accurate to spend your precious time on brainstorming, creating, and optimizing winning content? If you’re working your way towards improving engagement rates, we highly recommend channeling your efforts in interacting with prospects accounts.


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