Instagrammers today are increasingly turning towards Instagram engagement groups to enhance their account’s following and reach.
With more and more brand managers and starry-eyed individuals joining Instagram in the hopes of making it big, organic reach for new entrants has become a challenge.
This is why engagement groups have mushroomed as a means of survival.
These Instagram engagement groups, aka Instagram Pods, quickly gained widespread popularity, and for a reason – they are essentially a straightforward method to enhance your Instagram account’s engagement.
But are these Instagram engagement groups safe and trustworthy? Are they a foolproof trick to game the system? Can Instagrammers finally have their cake and eat it too? Read this article to find out!
What Are Instagram Engagement Groups, aka Instagram Pods?
In its most primitive sense, an Instagram engagement group or pod is a group of Instagrammers who commit to interacting with each other’s Instagram posts to increase their overall engagement and reach.
Instagram is the most prevalent site for these groups/pods to spring up. A maximum of 32 persons may be added to an Instagram DM (direct messaging) group. Each member can announce their post’s update to start receiving likes and comments immediately from other group members.
Outside the ambit of Instagram DM groups, pods can host as many as 1000 members. Instagram engagement groups are frequently built on third-party networking sites such as WhatsApp, Telegram, Reddit, Facebook, or similar ones (more on this in the upcoming sections). They usually have a fixed time when members can contribute posts for engagement.
Every pod has its own set of regulations, although they generally have the following common ones:
- Honor the moment when the pods “drop” (“drop” is pod parlance for a specified time when users may share their posts for immediate engagement).
- Most importantly, thou mustn’t leech (making use of the advantages of a pod without contributing similarly at your turn).
- Do not use the chatroom to converse casually (DMs for Instagram engagement groups are exclusively designated for strict business discussions).
Other regulations you’ll encounter may include:
- Having a specific follower-count for being granted permission to enter
- The type of posts you share (e.g., photography, fashion, lifestyle, trading, etc.)
- The minimum duration for which you must stay (may span several hours to days since your content is dropped)
What Are The Different Types Of Instagram Engagement Groups?
A variety of traits define Instagram engagement groups. The most preferred categorization is based on the comments given by users. There are several other characteristics that define the types of Instagram pods, as written below.
1. Depending on the preferred reaction
- Only likes
- Only comments
- Both comments and likes
The group category is usually mentioned in its rules, and some groups enable participants to pick their reaction or restrain them to a specific kind.
2. Depending on the group/content specificity
- Niche: Members of such a group have some common interests in one area. They may be of the same age, gender, location, profession or share some other common attribute.
- Broad: Such groups contain members from diverse areas, and the only thing they have in common is a desire to increase each others’ engagement rates in return for their own. Typically, such groups have a more significant number of members. But, Instagram’s algorithm doesn’t value the engagement they receive since they may appear a little fraudulent.
3. Depending on a predefined follower count
- Dependent on follower count: Certain engagement groups will allow only those account holders to become members who have a certain number of followers.
- Independent of follower count: You can get accepted in such engagement groups regardless of the number of followers your account has.
4. Depending on rules of engagement
- Drop groups: These groups give their members a set list of accounts that must be engaged with for a specific period. Failing to do this may result in warnings and ultimately, eviction from the group. This is demonstrated by a message from one such group below:
- Rolling groups: A member must interact with a specific number of previously published posts before contributing their own.
- Undefined groups: There are no time or post limitations in such groups. A member can create a group post at any moment, and other members can interact with it whenever and however they see fit.
5. Depending on the platform
Groups on different networking platforms (usually social media sites and messaging platforms) have other guidelines specific to them. Given below are three of the most popular platforms where Instagram pods run.
Telegram engagement pods are arguably the most prevalent today among all networking platforms. They are formed through Telegram’s group messaging feature.
Most Telegram groups can run on an automated schedule nearly every hour, 24 hours a day, or even seven days a week. At every turn of the schedule, members are presented with a “round” of a large group of Instagram accounts to like and comment on.
Several Telegram groups also employ an automated bot “modmin” to moderate the group. These bots notify members about when to “drop” their posts, which is the cue for handles to introduce their @username and desired post into the discussion.
The bot will then construct a list of Instagram handles and their posts to submit to the chat group.
Once the list has been generated, the members’ responsibility is to visit every Instagram profile and engage with the allocated posts (usually the last 1-3) as per the group rules. It is vital to understand that each scheduled round takes around 45 minutes to last. If a member fails to participate in a round or several continuous rounds they risk their position in the pod.
Upload your posts around 5 minutes before the Telegram event you wish to participate in for the best results. Telegram group rounds are usually conducted at around 9 am, 12 pm, and 4 pm PST.
- Instagram DM pods
Instagram’s direct messaging feature is another popular hangout for those intending to create and reach engagement pods of their choice. However, they are structured differently than other engagement pods.
Due to Instagram’s platform restrictions for maximum permissible members in a group DM, Instagram DM pods tend to be a little smaller than those created on other platforms.
The DM groups might be a little perplexing at times because members will often send links to specific posts all day on which they desire likes and comments. But since these groups have limited capacity, you may be eliminated from them if you fail to remain active and engage with all posts.
It might also get tough for you to remember with which posts you have already engaged. However, if you want to maintain a specific engagement niche, such DM pods might be helpful.
You may also join different engagement groups on Facebook. But, unlike Telegram, these are often private and require either a request or an invitation to join. Members’ content is reviewed to verify that it meets the group’s standards. Furthermore, these groups don’t ‘drop’ Instagram posts like it’s done on Telegram. They expect engagement from several hours to days on each of the posts shared with the group.
These engagement groups are merely a few of the numerous varieties of pods available today. However, regardless of the type of pod you decide to join, it is critical that you obey their guidelines. Otherwise, you will become liable for penalty or expulsion by the group admin/moderator.
Do Instagram Engagement Groups Actually Work?
Well, the answer is not so simple. Different people who have been within engagement groups experience different outcomes; some of which are categorized below:
- Benefit of interactions with like-minded professionals
When you commit to engaging with businesses within your niche on Instagram through pods, the platform’s algorithm picks up on your interactions to display posts from similar businesses in your feed and Explore page. You then get a better overview of competitors and prospective collaborators within your business’s domain.
- Improved visibility
Members of pods operating within a single time zone often report improved visibility of their posts after sharing them in the pod. The engagement received within the initial 30 minutes of a post going live is crucial in determining its success. Pods help in providing the immediate boost to improve a post’s visibility.
- Restricted usage
Most pods allow engagement for only a limited number of posts from a single member. You cannot rely on an Instagram engagement group indefinitely to promote your posts every time.
- Lack of time
If you think you can enter multiple pods to cast a wider engagement net, then you may as well bid farewell to your free time for innovating on other business strategies. Keeping track of all posts in a pod with their unique group rules will heavily tax your mental resources. Ultimately, you might get ejected for failing to engage with other members’ posts since you were busy with a different group altogether.
Should Your Brand Use An Instagram Engagement Group?
Instagram engagement groups/pods sound fantastic in theory — the more likes or comments your posts get right away, the more readily you convey to Instagram’s algorithm that your content is appealing for the platform. So, when you post the next time, your account will be visible to a lot more of your current and future followers.
After all, it might seem like a challenging endeavor to organically expand your follower count while also generating engagement on each of your posts. Thus Instagram engagement groups might look like a tempting option to boost your reach.
But there are several downsides to joining such groups, which are:
1. They do not yield relevant results
This is especially true of the larger engagement groups. The members in such pods are not particularly interested in your content or your brand. They decide to become a member to secure their interests.
Brands should instead use social media to interact with their customers and establish connections that promote sales and brand loyalty.
While pods may enhance your reach and interaction, they will not be with the proper people, i.e., prospective buyers.
But what about Instagram marketing done by pod-boosted influencers?
When selecting micro-influencers to collaborate with, you may seek them within established Instagram pods. But, if an influencer is utilizing pods to inflate their stats, you will not receive as much (or any) value from collaboration with them.
Scrutinize the influencer’s content. Did they see a sudden increase in engagement? Are their engagement rates consistent across all posts? Is their comment: follower and follower: like ratio credible? If not, reaching out to pod-boosted influencers might be a futile attempt.
2. You’ll be forced to engage with irrelevant content
Unless you’re in a specialized engagement group where the quality of members is excellent, you’ll frequently have to like and comment on low-quality irrelevant content. Since your followers can view your interactions, you should think about how they will respond to the random stuff your brand will be engaging with.
However, with quality engagement groups, you may disguise your behavior by creating a phony account to ‘engage with,’ while using your existing account to have the others in the pod to engage on.’ But then, will it be worth all the time and effort? You may as well engage organically on Instagram with your real account.
3. The outcomes will look questionable
Any new or existing followers who visit a brand page that has recently employed a pod will notice that it has been altered. Especially, if your account’s follower count does not justify a large number of likes or comments on specific select posts. This may upset your authentic fans since they want transparency from your brand in return for following it on Instagram or elsewhere.
4. Instagram will notice something’s fishy
Instagram (and its parent company Facebook) spends a significant amount of money, time, and effort refining its algorithms to monitor its users’ interaction with the site. A rapid increase in your engagement is likely to trigger a warning in their algorithm, which might lead to an adverse treatment of whatever organic content you may want to upload afterward.
‘Disengage’ to Grow?
For those new to the game, Instagram engagement groups might seem like a brilliant marketing tactic that may help you reach excellent engagement rate sooner for negligible costs.
And, why not!
It probably takes a half-hour of your spare time to like and comment on other people’s content to gain a heightened engagement yourself. But you might want to be cautious while seeking long-lasting cooperation since most pods – regardless of their quality – cannot ensure that.
Although they may appear to be an appealing quick-fix to assist in an engagement boost on your brand’s Instagram account, it’s never a bad idea to analyze and check whether they’d be beneficial in the long run. The call to use such engagement groups is ultimately yours to make.
Now, when it comes to boosting your engagement on Instagram, nothing works quite as well as using analytics and automated post scheduling. These features can work wonders in delivering unimaginable results for your Instagram marketing efforts. Luckily for you, SocialPilot boasts these features and more!
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Frequently Asked Questions
Instagram follows a harsh approach towards those who trick and manipulate its algorithm for personal benefits. In November 2018, Instagram announced its willingness to crack down on what it called “inauthentic activity.” It included spam bots, fake followers, and engagement groups under their radar. Soon after their announcement, Facebook found and suspended ten big Instagram engagement groups.
To disable group request alerts on Instagram, visit your Profile, and click on “menu” in the top-right corner. Then Settings > Notifications > Direct Messages. Click on “Off” under Group Requests. At the very least, you will no longer receive a notification whenever you get added to a group.
Alternatively, you can also try Settings > Privacy > Messages. Under “Allow others to add you to groups,” tap the radio button for “Only people you follow.” This way, you cut down on getting added to Instagram groups by random strangers on the platform.
Instead of joining an engagement group, the best solution is to connect with other brands and personalities within your niche through organic methods. You won’t get immediate reciprocal interactions as pods promise, but they will be honest and from individuals who are genuinely interested in your content.
Although there are several reasons why your Instagram engagement may start to decline, the three listed below are cited to be the most common of them all:
- You post too many, irrelevant and non-contextual Stories every day
- You do not use any of Instagram’s features (stickers, hashtags, captions, etc) before uploading
- You only post about yourself all the time
You should ideally be posting 1-3 times in a day. This range exemplifies a fine balance that you must strike between under-posting and over-posting on Instagram. Otherwise, you will risk losing your meticulously built brand presence on the platform.