Some have turned to joining Instagram engagement groups in order to increase their organic reach and following. It sounds like a decent idea, until you really explore how Instagram works, and the impact such groups have on your posts. Here’s why Instagram engagement groups are a bad bet.
Engagement Groups Are Bad
The idea behind engagement groups or PODS is simple; a group of Instagram users get together and agree that everyone will Like and comment on everyone else’s posts, in exchange for the same in return. This fake engagement is thought to fool Instagram into increasing the reach of posts and lead to more engagement and followers from outside the group. The problem is, it doesn’t work well, and will likely hurt you instead.
Let’s get this out of the way now. Instagram is well aware of engagement groups. There’s information about them all over the internet and they’re no secret. Some companies even claim to offer them as a paid service (which is really silly since most are free). Instagram has taken steps to prevent them from being successful, so don’t count on them really working out.
Posting To The Choir
The average user follows too many people to be able to see everything that everybody posts each day, that’s why Instagram went to an algorithm-based feed rather than chronological back in 2016. In these groups, the same small subset of users is constantly engaging with each other. Instagram sees this and will increasingly show them posts from the others, as clearly they like what’s being posted. Prepare for nothing but your engagement group friends in your timeline.
But while you’ll see more from your engagement friends, you’ll also see less from others, and they’ll see less from you too. To limit the success of engagement groups, Instagram has limits the reach your posts have to those outside the group. They’re aware of what you’re doing and limiting the reach of this disingenuous tactic from being successful.
The comments most engagement groups leave are usually irrelevant to your posts. “Awesome.”, “🔥🔥🔥🔥”, “Love this post.”, and other crap like that.
Most of these comments look like they’re posted by a bot and don’t appear genuine. These spam type comments also often scare off others from legitimately engaging with your post.
Something’s Not Right
Users with a low follower count and really high engagement just don’t look right. It doesn’t take a genius to know something is going on. Engagement groups have the potential to make your engagement numbers look off and that stands out like a red flag for real followers.
Put yourself in the shoes of the potential follower. If you see someone with a couple hundred followers but thousands of likes on a couple of their posts (and nearly nothing on the others) wouldn’t you be suspicious?
We’re unlikely to follow a suspicious account and others are too. When your account doesn’t look right, people simply move on.
Non-genuine engagement means analytics issues.
Data needs to be accurate if you’re going to learn from it but engagement groups mean you’ve got a bunch of inauthentic engagements throwing your analytics off. How do you know who’s genuinely engaged and who’s not? It’s no different than having your analytics made inaccurate by bots and it means you won’t know which posts are truly engaging and which are not.
What A Waste Of Time
The effort required to participate in engagement groups simply isn’t worth it. They take a lot of time to be part of and produce pitiful results.
That’s time you could be doing much more impactful things to boost your following and engagement, like creating awesome content real followers actually want to see and engaging with your audience in a meaningful way.
Don’t Fall In With The Wrong Group
At the end of the day, engagement groups aren’t nearly as successful as they want you to believe. Like a multi-level marketing scheme, a few might benefit but most of the members end up losers in the end and never see the payoff promised.
If you want to build a large and engaged Instagram following, do it the right way. Big influencers didn’t do it through engagement groups, they did it by posting high-quality, unique content that their followers love, and then engaging their following. Take the time to invest the proper way and you’ll see far more return on your investment.