Did you know that I used to run my own engagement pods back in the day?
If you’re not sure what these are…
An engagement pod is a group filled with Instagram users that will collectively share and engage with each other’s posts.
The purpose of this is to con Instagram’s algorithm into thinking that your content is really good and that it should push your posts to the top of people’s feeds – or even the explore page.
Well like I said, I used to run quite a few of these groups.
And after working with over 8,000 pod members, the majority of which were engaging with each other every single day…
I can tell you that using Instagram engagement pods and groups is a bad idea.
- How I Gained Over 100,000 Followers On Instagram (Organically)
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Why you shouldn’t use Instagram Engagement Pods or Groups
Although joining an active engagement pod will likely gain you a lot of momentum in the beginning, it won’t take long for Instagram and its algorithm to sniff you out.
Reason being that Instagram’s algorithm can figure out whether the engagement that you receive is genuine or not.
One way that pod owners try to get around this is by creating rules, such as…
- You can only join groups within your chosen niche
- You have to include at least 4+ words with your comments
- You must follow the account that you’re engaging with
I mean, these are all smart attempts at making your engagement seem more genuine, but unfortunately, Instagram’s just too smart for that.
One would have to assume that the IG algorithm can detect which members are in which groups, who’s sending links to who and all of the other patterns people follow each and every day.
I mean, you give me a few hours and I could nail down the pattern on my own.
So what luck do people have against a multi-billion dollar giant like Instagram?
Fear the shadow-ban
Say Instagram catches you red-handed, trying to cheat their algorithm.
What do you think they do?
Just let you off easy and give you a whimpered… Don’t do it again!?
Of course not.
They ban your sorry ass. No questions asked.
Now I don’t mean an outright ban where you can’t login to your account every again.
But instead they’ll stop your content from being seen by any new followers.
Potentially some (or most/all) of your existing ones too.
And if you couldn’t tell… that’s not good for growth.
This type of ban is called an Instagram Shadow-Ban. You can read more about it here.
If you’ve already been struck by this type of ban, you should read the following article…
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You also have to consider the devastating effect that ‘bot comments’ have on your account.
Sure, those fire emoji comments might not seem so bad right now.
But later down the line, when you try to monetize your account you’ll realise that you’ve wasted your time (and potentially money).
Because even though this process helps to increase your likes, comments, shares & saves…
It’s purely aesthetic.
These people don’t care about your content one bit.
They’re only in it for themselves.
There’s no substance to their engagement and when you try to leverage the following that you’ve amassed, either by selling products/products or advertising for others, you’ll find that getting meaningful results is very difficult – if not impossible.
Because yes, in the short-term these fellow pod members are great for pushing your content to the top of people’s feeds and potentially onto relevant explore pages…
In the long-term, when they’re no longer around, you’ll be left with an account that’s riddled with ghost followers, dead engagement and a sales conversion rate that will give you nightmares.
What you should do instead
Well, the first step is simple.
Stop using Instagram engagement pods and groups.
After that, if you really want to grow your Instagram account – the right way – then I would suggest following a structured engagement plan to gain new followers that actually give a s*** about your content.
The most popular engagement strategy is the $1.80 Strategy, made famous by Gary Vaynerchuk.
It requires only 10-15 minutes of work per day and is much more rewarding than an engagement pod ever will be.
Aside from that, being successful on Instagram really is a matter of showing up every day and consistently posting content that provides value to others.
Simple as that.
Engagement pods and groups may seem great in the beginning, but it won’t be long before Instagram finds out what you’re up to and hits you hard with a shadow-ban.
My recommendation is to avoid using them altogether, not least because you actually realise how pointless it is once you come to monetize your account and realise how near impossible it is.
Your best bet is to leave these groups and use more organic methods of growing your account, such as the $1.80 Strategy, and attract followers that genuinely want to hear from you, engage with your content and pay for your products & services.
Have any questions or feedback on this article? Let me know in the comments below!