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Instagram “Pods”: what are they and what’s happening to them?


MAY 30, 2018:

ICYMI, Instagram is cracking down on “pods”. These are essentially groups that Instagram users can join as a way to increase their (and therefore their posts’) reach numbers. Here is how pods work: when a user of a pod (or group) publishes a post, the rest of the group is alerted and prompted to “like”, comment, or engage with it. In a roundabout way, this allows users to “beat” the Instagram algorithm which favors popular posts (with the most engagement) to be shown.

The real question is, do pods actually work? The short answer is not really. First, they take a ton of work. You essentially need to interact with every pod members’ content in real time, as it’s posted. Secondly, while some short-term success is viable, there are no long-term business consequences as a result. Essentially, they serve to satisfy short-term visibility, but it’s debatable whether its minimal effects are really worth it in the long run.

Facebook has already started cracking down on these types of groups and Instagram is likely to follow in its footsteps. Pod users are likely to have their accounts suspended — or worse yet, removed — in the coming months as social channels continue to closely monitor and minimize to bots, fake accounts, and other questionable social practices. Measuring and monitoring the real reach of your content and any business results that accompany it still remains the most accurate (and realistic) way to measure the success of your social platforms.

 

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