'Instagram engagement groups' (formerly known sometimes as 'pods'), are small groups of influencers, creators, and any manner of other accounts, who have banded together over the one, eternal truth.
engagement = growth on Instagram.
'Engagement' in this context, of course referring to the 'likes', 'saves', 'comments' and 'shares' on Instagram, that if we get enough of, will somehow skyrocket our posts into viral instagram success.
These groups, who base their tactics on this idea alone - therefore vow to always 'engage' on each other's post.
Now let me get one thing straight before we start. Achieving higher engagement on your posts, does give you algorithmic favour on Instagram. The algorithm wants to push the highest quality and most valuable content to the explore and hashtag pages of its platform - in order to keep its users on the app for longer. When a post achieves high engagement, especially within a timely manner, the algorithm will flag it as 'valuable', and in turn show it to more people - improving your reach.
So with that being said, how could these engagement groups possibly be bad?
Groups = engagement
Engagement = Growth
So Groups = Good.... right?
Well, not exactly.
Group chats are a great short-term solution to growth, and they can be amazing for all manner of things beside it, such as sharing tips and tricks, and meeting new people!
But they can also damage your growth negatively. Here's how.
You're not reaching anyone new
Thin about it. if the only people who are commenting on and liking your photos, are people from those specific accounts, then how do you expect to reach anyone new? You are constantly engaging in a small group of people - which limits your access and discovery of the outside world. It may feel like you're getting killer engagement, but it's only ever from the people you are asking from engagement from.
The algorithm is a smart cookie. It can tell when your engagement is disingenuous. It can also tell exactly where it is coming from. If the majority of your engagement is consistently coming from a third party app, such as WhatsApp, or is coming from DMs - then Instagram will know it is not organic. You need to be achieving organic engagement directly from the home feed, for Instagram to push you through hashtags and explore.
Your content isn't evolving
If everything you produce gets a decent amount of engagement (because you are consistently asking for it) - then you have no incentive to adapt or change your content to be better. When your engagement is organic - you will be able to tell when a certain type of post isn't doing so well due to that engagement dip, and will be motivated to change it or make it better.
Your statistics suck
In the same ballpark - if your engagement is inauthentic, then your statistics, or 'insights' will be as well. Your insights are the most powerful tool that you have when it comes to strategy planning, and learning what is and isn't working on your account. You can't learn anything about an audience whose engagement you can already predict.
If you're creating quality content, you shouldn't have to ask
Content that is high quality, and consistently creates value for the target audience will be engaged with, without having to ask anyone to do so (beyond a nifty CTA in the caption of course! If you have to ask... maybe you should think about why.
Spending your hours outside of the engagement groups, and focusing on creating more value in your posts, will increase your engagement and reach, and benefit your account far more in the long run!
Instagram hates engagement groups
Okay, final one here. Instagram hates engagement groups. It's even in the Facebook and Instagram community guidelines that accounts who use engagement groups will be penalised.
According to Instagram, if you are to:
"Engage in, or claim to engage in Coordinated Inauthentic Behaviour, defined as the use of multiple Facebook or Instagram assets, working in concert to engage in Inauthentic Behaviour"
(a big fancy long-tailed way of saying, being in engagement groups), then you will be subject to account penalties and restrictions (i.e. shadow ban and action block), and even your account being disabled. In other words just, don't.
What to do next
Leave group chats that you're only in for engagement
Stay in groups which are community focused, commit more to community building and sharing information, and do not require engagement.
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Alright peace out,
Your Instagram BFF
Abigail Frances x