Recent changes to the Instagram algorithm in the past year has seen influencers scrambling for new ways to increase their engagement – introducing Engagement Pods.
An engagement pod is a group of users ranging from 5 people to 3,000+. Once a member of the pod posts, the other members of the group engage with that post with likes, comments and reposts.
The pods can be successful at increasing engagement but does it really help your brand?
They come riddled with problems that could impact your authenticity. Here are some ways that pods can hurt your brand.
An Influencer’s Value is Uncertain
If you’re looking at partnering with an influencer and they’re in a pod, you should tread with caution.
Influencers are meant to do just that – influence. If a page is getting 2,000 likes per post but 95% of likes are from engagement pods, what are you likely to get in return? Most likely, not much.
Pods can cause an influencer’s likes and engagement to inflate and gives a misleading representation about their authority on a particular topic.
Pods Kill Authentic Engagement
What happened to social media being social? Engagement pods go against that! It’s like paying someone to be your friend, wouldn’t you rather someone be your friend because they genuinely like you. Same goes for social media!
You should be trying to carve out your community of people that genuinely like your content.
A great example of a user that has truly created his own niche is @kirbyjenner. His content consists of photoshopping himself into the Kardashian/Jenner’s lives. He has grown his profile to 1 million followers and gets some crazy authentic engagement – his pics even grab the attention of Kim Kardashian!
How to detect Influencer Pods?
A sudden increase in followers can be a sign of a group or the influencer purchasing followers. Most accounts will observe a fairly consistent increase in followers, so a sudden spike can warn you that something may be up.
We’re pretty good at spotting cons. If an influencer has noticeably inauthentic engagement with their posts, then it’s likely that it’s a pod. It can sometimes be difficult to spot, given how crafty the other influencers are, but a host of generic comments can allude to a pod being involved.
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Overall, Engagement pods have a negative effect on Instagram and brands. Instagram will continue to combat this behaviour, while influencers will continue to try to find loopholes to increase their engagement.