You’ve probably heard of (or been invited to) Instagram Pods, Instagram Engagement Groups or Telegram groups. These are groups that can be found in Instagram DMs or Telegram or Whatsapp and their main purpose is to help combat the recent drop in engagement that a lot of accounts have been experiencing as a result of the new Instagram Algorithm.
They are, essentially, a free and easy way to increase your engagement on Instagram… At least, that’s the idea behind it. But are they worth your time? Do they actually work? I’ll break it down for you below.
What are these pods, exactly?
Basically, they are a group of people that are part of the group that promise to like and comment on each other’s posts in an attempt to improve the overall engagement on your post and hopefully make it to the top section in hashtags or make the post go viral.
You’ll find most of these groups in Instagram DMs. Each DM can have about 15 people per group and you have to like and comment on each of the posts BEFORE you can post your own picture and receive likes in return. While this sounds awesome, some groups don’t have a limit on how many pictures you can post, so many people post 3-4 pictures a day.
Since Instagram messages only allow 15 people per group, a lot of people have taken their groups offline to an app called Telegram which allows more members to be involved (upwards of 1000 per group). There are downsides to these groups as well (but I’ll talk about that a little bit later).
Do Instagram Pods ACTUALLY help increase my engagement?
Well, that depends.
a) If you really want to see a difference, you have to be in multiple groups- lets say you have 15 members in your group and you each post once a day. Simply getting 15 more likes and 15 more comments on your post isn’t going to make that much of a difference. You need to join multiple groups to get a lot more engagement in order for it to be worth your time. Now, the downside to this is that you actually have to spend time liking and commenting back to all the people in the group so make sure you actually have enough time to commit to doing this daily.
b) You need your group to have members that have a similar target audience to you – if you’re a personal trainer but you’re joining a group that shares all memes, you probably aren’t going to be targeting the same people. It is important to find people that share a similar target audience because when you engage with each other, the algorithm tends to show your content to their followers (through suggested posts and the explore page). If you don’t share the same target audience, their audience won’t care about your fitness posts and vice versa and you’re losing visibility.
c) A lot of these groups have leechers- leechers are people that post but never actually comment and like back. As part of my experience with groups, the larger the group = the more leechers there are. It’s easy to get away with because nobody actually takes the time to reinforce who liked and commented and ensure that everybody is doing their part. In my opinion, this was one of the biggest downsides.
d) It is very time consuming- If you really want to see a huge difference in engagement and visibility, you need to be in multiple groups. At least 4-5 with each group consisting of 15 members. Now, let’s say each person in the group posts once a day and you have to like and comment on each of those posts BEFORE you can even share your post. That’s 60 posts that you have to like and comment on before yours gets any engagement. This is assuming that you don’t have leechers, that the group only posts once a day (some groups allow each member to post 3-4 times a day) and that each of your group has only 15 members. This is A HUGE time investment. If you’re part of a telegram group, you have to invest a lot more time engaging because your group has hundreds (if not thousands) of people. See where this becomes time consuming?
e) The comments don’t always make sense- One of the biggest things I noticed in these groups were that the comments didn’t always make sense. For example, I would post a picture of a workout and I would get comments like “That looks really delicious” or “How cute is that dog!”. We didn’t have any leechers in the groups I was in but people would just copy paste the same comment onto ALL the posts in the group. I completely understand why they would do that. They are probably in 10 groups and they don’t have time to write out individual comments for each post so they just copy paste the same comment over and over and hope that nobody notices.
What’s my final verdict?
Instagram pods were not my cup of tea.
Not only were they a HUGE time investment (I was in 4 groups with 15 members each that posted 3 times a day).
I would spend close to 2 hours everyday just liking and commenting on pictures and posts I didn’t care about, that weren’t in my target market and that I viewed as spam.
I also noticed that the comments I received were so terrible sometimes (like the example with the workout video and the delicious comment) that I had to delete them because I didn’t want brands and companies assuming I was buying comments or likes.
I also didn’t really notice a significant difference in engagement or follows. My followers didn’t sky rocket and my posts didn’t do much better or worse than before I joined the group.
Lastly, once I left the group, all that engagement that I had while I was in the group disappeared. My visibility and engagement dropped back down to the same numbers I had before I joined the group. This showed me that there aren’t any lasting effects to being in any of these groups. Once you leave, your numbers go back to what they were before you joined the group. This is something that I’ve seen (and read about) plenty. Other pod members that decided to leave the pods experience the same thing.
So unless you have hours on end to invest in liking random posts and sorting through comments to ensure they make sense with your post, I suggest you avoid Instagram Pods all together.
What should I do instead? I NEED more engagement on my posts!
I found that engaging efficiently and authentically is MUCH more beneficial than using Instagram Pods to gain engagement.
Engage with posts that you care about, accounts in your niche and people you think would like your content. That WILL have a long lasting effect on your page because you will gain followers that are actually interested in your content and you will get visibility from accounts AUTHENTICALLY that can later turn into potential customers for your business.
I hope this helped you make a decision about whether you should join pods. Comment below and let me know your thoughts!
If you want to learn how to engage EFFICIENTLY and get hundreds of new followers to your page weekly– join The Instagram Guru course here.
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