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How to Use Instagram Pods to Increase Engagement and Growth

  • Blog
  • How to Use Instagram Pods to Increase Engagement and Growth

With 1.478 billion active users, Instagram has been attracting numerous businesses since it offers an excellent opportunity to promote your brand to a wider audience. The app’s image-based layout allows you to create simple yet powerful marketing campaigns that can easily catch the attention of the users and cause them to like and comment on the content, which may sway them to become your future customers.

Unfortunately, the rules of the game had completely changed in 2016 when Instagram introduced a new algorithm. It was the end of the chronological feed, and from then on, the order of posts has been decided based on the engagement. The update significantly decreased the reach of less popular businesses who now have a much harder time promoting their products, unless they strike a deal with popular influencers (you can read more about affiliate marketing on fintelconnect.com).

But as always, necessity is the mother of invention, and clever entrepreneurs came up with a solution – Instagram pods. While some think that the pods are a genius idea, others see them only as a useless trend with no tangible results. But what is the truth, and how do you use them to grow your business? That is what we will try to answer.

What Are Instagram Pods?

The idea behind the pods is quite simple – a group of Instagrammers, bloggers, or businesses create a secret group chat where they inform each other about the picture or video they posted. Members of the pod are obligated to interact with the post by liking, commenting, following, and sharing it, increasing the engagement rates. This way, Instagram’s algorithm receives a signal that this particular post is of ‘value’, and the chance that it appears in somebody’s recommended or search section is increased.

Instagram pods

Image source: https://www.pexels.com/photo/hands-smartphone-technology-faceless-6963602/

The Instagram pods come in all types and sizes, and not all of them are equal. For example, there are groups as small as 32 members (that is the limit of group messages with Instagram Direct), but there could also be pods that have over 1,000 active participants who gather on a third-party site. The smaller ones might be centered around a particular niche, whereas the enormous groups tend to be more general.

The pods can also be divided based on the rules of engagement. Some groups might require you to only like or comment on the post, whereas in others you will have to do both. You might also encounter:

  • Drop groups: You will receive a message with a list of accounts you have to engage in a specified amount of time. If you fail to do so, you will be warned multiple times until you are removed from the pod.
  • Rolling groups: Before posting your own notification in the pod, you have to engage with a specific number of previously published posts. It may be 5 or 10 of them, but there are also groups that say you have to interact with every post that has been linked in the last 24 hours.

Of course, each Instagram pod has its own rules that you have to follow to avoid being kicked out. Some of those might concern the number of followers you have or the content you post. However, in most pods, you will find general rules such as:

  • Respect the drop time, that is when the members share their posts for immediate engagement.
  • You must not leech, so no reaping the benefits of the pod without contributing the same to the community.
  • No casual conversations in the group chat – the pod is a business partnership and should be treated as such. What is more, it is easy to lose an important link to a post among irrelevant spam.

How to Join Instagram Pods

So you know how Instagram pods work, but how to join them? That might be a little bit tricky. The smaller pods that you usually find on Instagram are secretive and they do not broadcast sign-ups on the platform. You will have to ask around and drop subtle hints that you would like to join, or you could create your own group and invite other people from your particular niche.

Luckily, you can easily find pods on networking platforms, be it social media or messaging software. The three most popular sites are Facebook, Telegram, and Reddit. Usually, they are much easier to join because they are a third-party site and they allow a greater number of members in the group.

Telegram

Probably the most prevalent among networking platforms used to create pods, Telegram is a cloud-based instant messaging service that you can operate on both your mobile and desktop. The app is so popular because it allows creating group chats with up to 200 000 members, without the need to invite them to your contacts. Telegram has the most mass-pods, and you will quickly find one after Google searching ‘Telegram Instagram engagement groups.’

Another distinct feature of Telegram pods is that they can be easily automated with a bot ‘modmin’, so that it runs the group chat 24/7. When it is time for a new drop, the bot will notify the members to share their content. Then it will generate a list of users and links that other members have to engage with.

When the list is ready, you will have a set amount of time to leave a like or comment on those posts. It might be quite time-consuming, each round taking even up to an hour. If you do not meet the deadline a few times, you will be removed from the pod.

Facebook

On Facebook, you can easily find numerous engagement groups by typing ‘Instagram pod’ or ‘Instagram like for like’ in the search bar. Still, they may be hard to join since most groups are private, and you will need either a request or an invitation to join. Furthermore, your content might be verified by other members to decide whether you make the cut or not.

Instagram pods - How to Use Instagram Pods to Increase Engagement and Growth - 1

Image source: https://www.facebook.com/search/top?q=instagram%20like%20for%20like

The members of the pods on Instagram are not likely to make a ‘drop’ or share their Instagram content directly on the platform. As you probably know, Facebook owns Instagram and nobody would want to alarm the system that they are rigging the algorithm. Instead, you are expected to engage with a number of previously published posts.

Reddit

If you want to quickly find Instagram pods, you should visit Reddit and its dedicated subreddit called IGPods where people promote their engagement groups. You could either join an already existing pod or create your own by calling for members.

Instagram pods - How to Use Instagram Pods to Increase Engagement and Growth - 2

Image source: https://www.reddit.com/r/IGPods/new/

Reddit can be treated as a recruitment site since most of those pods operate in Instagram’s messaging system. The members notify each other when they put new content on their profile and the rest have to interact with it.

How Instagram Pods Might Help You

We have said it before, the pods are here to help you beat the algorithm that might be decreasing your brand’s visibility so that you can reach a broader audience. The more people see you, the higher the chances you will encourage someone to make a purchase from your business.

While mass-pods will give your post an instant boost, niche pods might provide more genuine interactions. However, you need to remember that the Instagram-based groups are only limited to 32 members. Such a number of interactions might be insufficient for the algorithm to pick up your post.

What is more, Instagram pods create a perfect opportunity for networking since you will interact with other professionals. Networking has always been an important aspect of the business world since it enables the exchange of ideas, the creation of long-term relationships, and sustaining of mutual trust. Though the rules emphasize the business aspect of pod partnership, some smaller pods may encourage the exchange of valuable knowledge.

Instagram pods - How to Use Instagram Pods to Increase Engagement and Growth - 3

Image source: https://unsplash.com/photos/Ebb8fe-NZtM

The Downsides of Instagram Pods

With the dozens and even hundreds of likes and comments gained just like that, engagement pods do sound like a tempting offer. But before you sign up for one, you have to consider the negatives. Unfortunately, there are quite a few pitfalls to Instagram pods, and after some time you might realize that it is more than you were ready for.

The Engagement Is Not Meaningful

The key to fostering the growth of your business is in creating meaningful connections with your audience, so they feel compelled to buy your product or service. While pods do broaden your reach, a part of all that engagement is from people who are not interested in your business in the slightest. After all, all they want is to boost their own statistics – which is fair because it is the whole purpose of the pods.

This is especially true for the mass-pods with thousands of members. The chances that some of the members will make a purchase are scant because they are rather focused on completing their list before the deadline, so they are not kicked out of the group.

There is also the case of measuring the real growth of your business. Since part of the engagement comes from pods, you will not know who among those people is really curious about you or came here to complete the task.

It May Look Questionable

You have to remember that honesty is crucial for establishing long-term relationships with your followers and customers. If you suddenly receive a great number of likes and comments and there is no change to your follower count, people will quickly notice that there is something fishy going on here. Fans of your brand who genuinely enjoy your products might feel disappointed since you are manipulating the system to grow your business.

Moreover, a lot of comments left by the members of pods are either very general or downright grammatically incorrect. When people see a comment section that is just the same people repeating a few words, they may become discouraged to engage with you in the future.

You Have to Interact With Irrelevant Content

When you are a member of a mass-pod, you more than likely will have to interact with very broad content that is not always the best quality. Your followers might see your interactions and the random posts might cool off their enthusiasm for your brand. In the worst-case scenario, you might have to interact with content that is against the values of your company.

It Violates Instagram Policy

Instagram’s goal is to provide users with quality content that is relevant to their interests, which is why the algorithm was updated back in 2016. Since pods are trying to rig the system by creating fake engagement, they are banned.

If you are not careful enough, the sudden spike in your interactions could easily flag the algorithm or be reported by a different user. In that case, your future organic content might receive detrimental treatment, and your account could be suspended or even deleted.

It Is Time Consuming

Finding a quality pod that fits the needs of your business will certainly take some time and effort. Since exposure might end up in a penalty, more affluent groups will be very careful about who knows about their existence. Therefore, you will have to ask around and browse through different options until you find the right pod for your business.

There is also the case of managing your pod responsibilities. If you are in several groups that have a drop more than once during the day, each of them taking an hour, you will quickly realize that you need a dedicated member of your team who will keep up with everything.

How to Successfully Use Instagram Pods?

Now that you know more about the inner workings of Instagram pods, we should consider how to use them for your business growth. Everything depends on the pod that you choose. As you know, a smaller one might generate more meaningful engagement, but the number will be smaller, whereas with a big one, you will have that boost while risking being under suspicion.

If you have never participated in the pod activities, it might be hard to select one group among the sea of others. To ensure that your company will benefit from your choice, here are some tips that might help you:

  • Look for your niche or at least a group whose profiles might be of interest to your brand to avoid irrelevant content.
  • Medium-sized pods might be better, or a few smaller ones for a meaningful engagement.
  • Try to become a member with quality profiles to ensure their engagement will maintain a level of professionalism.

If you are a start-up that has only a handful of followers, it will be hard for you to join the best pods out there. Therefore, you still need to look for ways to increase your following organically.

In the end, the Instagram engagement pods are an additional tool and they should not be the driving force behind your growth. Your main focus will always be on delivering the best product and consistent content that is relevant to your audience, so you can show your brand in the best light possible. Good luck!

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