So what is an engagement pod? This is a group of users who band together to help increase engagement on each other’s content. This can be done through likes, comments or follows. Each pod has it’s own rules but most include:
- Drops: The predetermined time when users are allowed to share their content for likes or comments
- Do not use the group to chat, purely business
- Do not leech, where your posts are liked and commented but the effort is not reciprocated
Now many digital marketing agencies have been using Instagram pods, engagement groups and bots to try and work around the algorithm but this strategy is not really beneficial to any brands as the engagement is not organic and does not translate to sales. These agencies, which try to pass this action off as beneficial are not only misinformed but also merely in it for a money grab. There is no substitute for organic growth and great content when you’r trying to build a brand. Some of the negative side effects that you aren’t told about are:
It’s time consuming
You need to spend on average 3-4 hours a day just looking for pods to join. While searching for new pods you also need to keep active in your current pod. This takes at least one person to be dedicated to this task, just to get the benefits.
Produces useless results
Nobody in these pods actually cares or is interested in your content. They are doing the same thing you are, trying to better their own reach. This is pointless for brands, you should be using social channels as a way to connect with your audience and boost sales and loyalty. While pods and groups will increase your engagement, it is pointless as it is not the right people, i.e your target market. Influencers are now privy to this aswell so they use pods to boost their own reach, then charge brands more to collaborate, be sure to inspect this.
Results look suspicious
Current and new followers coming to a page can see if a pod is manipulating the page. This could include the follow count of the brand rising and falling, agencies call this a “proactive” strategy. It’s nothing but a facade that is used to take money away from businesses. Be careful when you see pages like this.
You have to like and comment on irrelevant pages
You usually have to engage with content of low quality which has nothing to do with your brand. Your interactions can be seen with your followers and you must consider the effect this will have on your own brand.
If your social media channels are being managed by an agency or outsourced to someone and you have some suspicions please get in touch and we can perform an audit on your account to let you know whether you have been placed in a pod.