As you attempt to expand the reach and appeal of your business, social media is one of the best tools for you to use.
Instagram, especially, is an amazing asset for your business to leverage.
But keeping your engagement rates up on social media tools like Instagram is never an easy task.
And ever since Instagram removed the option of chronological posts, users have been trying to find other ways to boost engagement.
Comment pods, for one, are a tactic many users have employed.
What are Comment Pods?
Essentially they are a group of like-minded people on Instagram who collaborate to increase each other’s engagements.
They like or comment on practically every post that any of them shares on Instagram, on a regular basis.
The proposed result of this is an increase in post engagements, genuine comments, and as a result, a better rank in the Instagram algorithm.
All of this activity will help these pods appear more often on Instagram’s Explore tab, resulting in more visibility.
They usually have groups on Facebook or Instagram to alert the pod members about a new post.
These pseudo-engagements have the most impact if there is a deluge of comments or likes right away.
The way Instagram works, a bunch of engagements in a short while affects your ranking more positively than the same number spread across a few weeks.
The idea is to “hack” Instagram’s ranking algorithm by fabricating increased engagement on your posts.
This may trick Instagram into showing more posts from you in your followers’ feeds.
But there’s a problem with that.
Instagram determines the algorithm as per an individual user’s interaction.
In other words, if I interact with particular accounts, their content is more likely to turn up at the top of my feed.
Even if the content on some random account is incredibly popular, but I don’t interact with it, it won’t show up too high in my personal feed.
Basically, if you had 1000 “Pod People” engage with your content, it will have no bearing on the feeds of those people that follow you but who don’t interact with your posts.
How to Identify Them?
Well, pods are generally very hush-hush and underground affair.
Typically the only way to join one is through an exclusive invite from an existing member.
You might even find some compiled lists of Instagram pods online – each with their own set of rules.
Given that pods are essentially trying to “cheat” the Instagram algorithm, people won’t be very forthcoming about information regarding them.
That makes it quite the herculean task to find any, let alone identify any members.
Although if there’s one thing that can be said with certainty, it’s that most Instagram pods use an app called Telegram for their communications.
One rather tedious way would be to spend a considerable amount of time digging on Instagram itself.
To verify whether or not the account is part of a pod, perhaps check 5-6 of their recent posts.
If you notice any repeat accounts of a similar status liking and commenting consistently on the posts, chances are they are part of a pod.
Moreover, you’ll notice that the same users appearing at the top of the comments section.
You can take this a step further by messaging the alleged pod people and expressing your interest in doing the same.
Depending on their response, you’ll know for certain.
Are They Worth it?
Well, yes Instagram comment pods will get you a lot of engagement, and will, to a degree, help you feature higher in feeds.
But that’s all it is – more engagement from people possibly not even interested in what you’re marketing.
For a user just looking to gain some popularity, comment pods could help you get more likes – albeit inorganic and unauthentic ones.
For brands looking to sell something?
It will give you a false sense of security, a confidence boost that people are liking your content.
And then it hits you – despite all of your perceived engagement, it won’t translate into an increase in sales.
These pseudo likes and comments are altering and skewing the metrics you use to check the performance of your social media marketing.
And they can hurt your brand’s image.
Consumers value authenticity and any weird comment or activity on your page may turn them off.
Let’s not forget that Instagram is well aware that Instagram pods are a thing.
They are opposed to the inauthentic engagement and are trying to put rules in place to stop it.
There are limits on the number of times you can like or comment during a certain period of time.
Instagram has already started to shadow ban users they believe to be involved in pods.
Basically, your post won’t show up when particular hashtags are used.
This, of course, means a decrease in your overall brand visibility and potential engagement.
Instead, you should rely on the quality of your content and its ability to captivate audiences.
One way to spruce up your Instagram feed is to use try out different feed themes to make it stand out from others.
In light of all of this information, quite frankly I believe Instagram pods aren’t worth it.
From a brand perspective, you shouldn’t want to be a part of a pod nor collaborate with influencers that are part of one.