Instagram comment pods became a big thing when the Instagram algorithm changed and, suddenly, people got a fraction of the Instagram engagement they had before. Today, I’m looking at the truth about Instagram comment pods and whether they work (or if they’re just a waste of your time). I also share my own experience with comment pods on Instagram.
The truth about Instagram comment pods
What is an Instagram comment pod?
Instagram comment pods became a big thing somewhere around the end of 2016/start of 2017 when Instagram changed the algorithm and, suddenly, people were getting a fraction of the engagement they had before. Comment pods are little groups of around 10 – 20 Instagram users who comment on all of each other’s posts in an attempt to game the algorithm and trick Instagram into thinking that their posts are super popular, which in theory should result in the Instagram algorithm showing the post to more people.
I’m all for guinea-pigging new trends, so I decided I would join an Instagram comment pod at the start of last year. Do Instagram comment pods work? Sit tight and I’ll tell you a little bit about my experience with them shortly.
But first, here are five truths about Instagram comment pods…
Truth #1: Instagram comment pods are a lot of work, and there are much better ways to spend your time
The time commitment is going to depend on how many people are in your comment pod and how many times a day they’re posting, but if you’ve got 20 members posting 2 – 3 times a day, that’s 40 – 60 posts you have to comment on each day. I don’t know about you, but I have a business to run — I definitely don’t have time for that! Some comment pods are pretty strict in that you have to comment as soon as possible after the person shares their post, which means that you’ll have your phone buzzing with notifications all day. And, when you’re getting distracted all day, you’re not going to be getting much actual work done.
Truth #2: Instagram comment pods skew your engagement metrics
Your Instagram analytics are a great way to see what content is resonating with your audience. But, if you’ve got a comment pod adding comments to every single post, how are you supposed to know what’s performing well and what’s not? And if you don’t know what’s performing well and what’s not, you can’t create more content like that.
Instead, look to create a content marketing strategy that will get you real results – not just vanity metrics.
Truth #3: Instagram comment pods are unethical
They’re unethical in a few different ways. Firstly, if you’re working with brands as an influencer, then it’s definitely not okay to use comment pods. The brands that you’re working with will be looking at your engagement stats to see whether you’re truly influential or not. Even if you’re not collaborating with brands, it’s still so deceptive to your audience.
The worst one I’ve seen, however, is social media managers running comment pods for their clients. It might make the client think that they’re getting great engagement and great results out of working with you, but chances are, they’re not getting any real sales from it.
(Thinking about working with a social media manager? Here are some things to look out for before outsourcing your social media).
Truth #4: The engagement looks fake because it is
Comments from a comment pod tend to look so fake because people don’t have the time to spend reading your post and genuinely engaging with it, and that’s because they have 40 other posts to like and comment on. Fake engagement isn’t a good look for any brand. It can really affect whether a potential customer or client trusts you, and as I’ve mentioned a few hundred times, if they don’t trust you, they’re not buying from you.
Truth #5: Instagram is smarter than you
Of course, Instagram knows that comment pods exist, and they made it pretty clear they’re not happy with them by removing Facebook groups that encourage people to join comment pods. So, at best, the algorithm might decrease your reach even further. At worst, Instagram might delete your account altogether. Is it really worth it for a few extra comments and likes?
Okay, so the big one…
Do Instagram comment pods work?
Here’s my experience with them: I joined one ages ago with my old business’ Instagram account, and I think I was a member for about a week before I realized that way too much time was going into it and that I wasn’t getting a whole lot out of it. I honestly didn’t notice much of an increase in engagement, if any at all. I wish I’d written down the results, but honestly, the only noticeable engagement I got were the 20 or so comment pod comments that I was getting each day – none from people who were actually going to be potential customers. The comments were so fake that I found myself deleting some so that people wouldn’t think I paid for comments.
So the moral of the story here: If it seems to be too good to be true, it probably is. You’re better off spending your time creating content that resonates and that people want to engage with.
November 20, 2018