There are many legitimate ways to grow your account on Instagram, and hopefully we all know by now that engagement is a much better factor to work on than followers.
This post will take you through IG engagement pods; what they are, are they legitimate and whether you should use them.
What is an engagement pod?
Essentially, a pod is a group of people, sometimes in the same broad niche, who support each other with engagement on each other’s accounts. You can have many types of engagement pods; some focus on likes & comments and others are about increasing your following. The rules of each pod differ so you just have to read the pod rules when you join one.
The way pods work
Time specific threads
Generally, the way the pod will work is that the admin of the group says that they will do a thread at a certain time, and at that time, a thread appears in the group with its rules. So you link your latest IG picture into the thread –which is the first (and easy) part! Now there’s the arduous task of reciprocating the engagement. So your next 20 mins, depending on how many people join the thread, will be spent liking all the other photos that have been linked. So at the end, you have given 100 likes and gained 100 likes (or comments, whatever the thread is for).
From what I can see in these types of pods that I have been part of, the admins are very hot on the case and ask you, as the user, to be too. That means no one wants to be called out for not reciprocating and make every effort to reciprocate (and not link drop and run).
*NB this type of pod works really well for IG’s algorithm if you time one of your posts to come out just before the thread starts, because IG will see it’s an engaging post and show it to more users.
Link Dump and (almost) run
Sometimes, engagement pods can be link dumps; you drop your link to the post you want engagement on in the thread at any time. Depending on the rules, you will have to reciprocate the last 24 hours worth of posts, which means the people who link drop in the following 24 hours will have to like your post. The downside with these pods are that you may have to reciprocate 10 posts but only get 5 likes back, and the admins might not be checking to see if everyone is playing fairly.
The last type of groups I have come across are literal link dumps. You post your link in the group at any time you want, and people follow you, comment to say they have followed you, and you have to follow back. The admins are definitely not checking up on anyone here, and most groups like this aren’t niche-specific so you could get 3 followers overall, but none in your niche. Who probably unfollow you 3 days later.
Pods are usually on the following platforms:
Seems silly to have a Facebook group that creates Instagram engagement, but Facebook does provide a really good tool for this type of activity.
The better groups to go for are ones that drop threads at specific times, everyone comments on those threads and you reciprocate.
More information below on how to search and find Instagram Engagement Pods on Facebook.
Telegram group messages
Telegram, if you haven’t heard of it, is a messaging tool like WhatsApp. If you get invited to a telegram pod, you will have to download the app on your phone and you will be put into a group with others.
Instagram messenger groups
Just like with Facebook Messenger, you can have multiple people in a group on the messaging system of Instagram. This is the least popular way of creating engagement groups because of the limited functionality of the message system.
So everything you’ve read so far sounds pretty good, right?
Let’s delve into the negative side of pods
Although time-sensitive pods can be very good to show IG your latest post has some great engagement, the concept of engagement pods is a little frowned upon by IG. However, it’s not something they can easily detect to penalise you for, especially if you use Telegram.
It’s hard to find a good engagement pod that works for you. In an ideal world, it would be great to have a pod that is full of people posting in your niche – but there aren’t many niche-specific pods out there. A quick search on Facebook reveals there’s pods for travellers, fitness gurus and photographers, but I haven’t found a pod for pilates instructors, cat trinket sellers or jewellers yet!
Some engagement pods are invite only, meaning you won’t even be able to find them online. Start asking some of the smaller influencers in your niche, or perhaps some of the more active people in your favourite Facebook groups to see if they know of any pods or use them themselves.
Depending on how good the pod is, the reciprocation might be poor. As mentioned earlier, you might get less likes back than you gave out, or if people aren’t motivated to use the pod, you will find that it’ll be just you and 3 other people sharing likes with each other all the time. My advice when you try a pod is to try it for a week, and if it’s not getting growth in engagement for you, politely leave and move onto the next.
How do you find engagement pods?
Start by searching on Facebook. Type in your niche name, followed by the search term “Instagram engagement pod” and switch the results to “groups”. If you can’t find anything for your niche, try something similar, and see if you can find a group with more than 200 members and less than 2000 in it. Read the “about” page which should have the rules in it, and see if the pod resonates with what you want. Some can be country specific too, which really helps in this situation so that you know people are in your time zone and you don’t get confused with the time of the threads.
If you know enough people in your niche, you can create your own, and find others to join you!
So there you have it – the ins and outs of Instagram engagement pods. Now it’s up to you to decide whether to find a couple to use, or whether it’s not really for you.
If you want to learn more about Instagram and how you can build your engagement legitimately, join my Facebook group: Instagram Myths Debunked by Charlie Garnham.