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The Problem with Instagram pods

Over the past 5-years, Instagram Pods and Follow Trains have become increasingly popular as the social media giant changes it’s algorithms, making it harder than ever to get your posts seen.

What is an Instagram Pod? A “Pod” is where a group of people agree to like and comment on each other’s Instagrams – either every post or a set amount of posts per week or month.

While we write this post, we also focus on some positives that an Instagram Pod can bring. Not everything is doom and gloom 🙂

 

The Negatives

  1. It’s faked engagement. You’ve entered a like for like agreement with one or more other IG friends, and in return for bumping their stats, they’re bumping yours. Yes, you may genuinely enjoy their Instagrams posts, and as more people join the pod it can be a good way of getting to know profiles you’d not previously heard of. But, it’s still completely inorganic, it’s an agreement with targets to meet. It’s also deceitful as brands might think your engagement is organic and want to work with you on the basis of it.
  2. It’s a chore. Whenever I’ve seen people say they’ve quit an Instagram pod it’s always because they got bored of it, and it was starting to feel like work. As if scheduling posts and going through emails wasn’t boring enough, now you’ve got a whole heap of Instagram pictures to go through and like, and you’re obliged to leave comments on posts you wouldn’t normally be arsed reading.
  3. It’s taking the fun out of your feed, and the social out of social media. You wouldn’t go to a party and say to someone – okay, you promise to talk to me and laugh at my jokes if I promise to laugh at yours? – so why would you do it on social media? What happened to genuinely engaging with posts and scrolling through social platforms for the sheer enjoyment; being inspired and entertained and awed as the mood strikes?
  4. It’s taking the fun out of your feed, and the social out of social media. You wouldn’t go to a party and say to someone – okay, you promise to talk to me and laugh at my jokes if I promise to laugh at yours? – so why would you do it on social media? What happened to genuinely engaging with posts and scrolling through social platforms for the sheer enjoyment; being inspired and entertained and awed as the mood strikes?

 

The Positives

  1. Instagram doesn’t have any rules about pods, and there’s proof that they do work in challenging the platform’s newer algorithm. The more engagement you have on a post, the more likely it is to be seen by people not following you, so pods work to make sure those posts stand a bigger chance. You need to write comments longer than five words, ones that don’t have generic messages (“love it!”, “great photo!”), and emojis on their own don’t count, apparently. In a way, it’s great that smaller fish can take on a huge platform’s algorithm and get results.
  2. It’s community building. Sticking together in a group and pledging to support one another is kind of nice, even if it is problematic in this context. You might get bored and check out, but you might also form a tight-knit group with a nice bunch of creators, and who knows where that could lead? Chances to make friendships in the community are potentially wonderful things.
  3. Having a list of profiles you’re obliged to comment on can be a chore, but look on the bright side. You might discover information or advice in a piece of content you wouldn’t have read otherwise, and you can leave your comments in the post, potentially drawing people over to your corner of the world (try and leave a funny/interesting message if you’re hoping for that). If regular followers of that profile see your comments enough, they might be curious to check out your own stuff.

 

 

So, what do you think? Are you in an Instagram pod? How do you find it? 

Maybe it’s time you take up the $1.80 strategy and grow your account the most authentic way possible!

Cheers,
Dollar.Eighty

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