We all want to grow our Instagram accounts. Whether we’re after the coveted swipe up feature, want to secure more brand sponsorships, or just up our credibility, we’re all chasing higher numbers. But to get there, we have to fight confusing and frustrating algorithms, bots, follows and unfollows, and the general stress of achieving that perfect aesthetic. It can be incredibly overwhelming at times, and we’ll often go to great lengths to grow our accounts.
I’ve tried just about everything short of buying followers (which I refuse to do), but realized there was one thing I really needed to stop doing: participating in pods.
I know I might take an unpopular stance on this one, but hear me out:
They’re difficult to keep up with
The stress of keeping up with pods became such a headache. Depending on how many people were in the group, I found myself struggling to keep up with liking and commenting on everyone’s new posts. If I missed a day or two, trying to catch up was enough to make me want to spike my phone of the ground and curse the day I created my account. Being part of more than one pod was even more frustrating and left me wondering how people juggle pods on top of everything else that comes with blogging, running a business, and just keeping up with daily life tasks.
Not everyone participates
Ever join a pod only to realize just a handful of people actually participate? Been there, done that. When you join a group, you go in bright-eyed and busy-tailed, expecting your engagement to skyrocket — but that’s not always the case. You might have a handful of active and loyal participants, but there are always going to be a number of people who go radio silent and don’t engage with your latest posts. Frustrating, right?
It’s not confirmed whether or not pods are flagged by Instagram
Rumors are always circulating as to whether or not Instagram recognizes and monitors pods and participants’ activity. Some people claim there are ways around this, like sending an emoji or a short message rather than sending a new post directly to the group, but there’s always conflicting information regarding these practices. Your best bet is to just ditch pods altogether if you’re concerned it’s going to hurt your account.
You’re obligated to follow, like and comment on accounts that might not fit your niche
If you’re trying to reach a specific target market or audience through your Instagram, the people in your pod might not be aligned with your niche. That means you could potentially be attracting the wrong audience by engaging with the accounts in your group. If you’re hellbent on joining a pod, make sure it’s with a group of users in your niche.
Comments aren’t always genuine or relevant
You simply cannot control what anyone is going to say in the comments of your posts, whether they are part of your pod or not. Some people claim comments need to consists of at least four words to boost engagement — emojis not included —and the reality of pods is that not everyone follows this “rule.” Again, there’s conflicting information as to whether or not this is a actually best practice for higher engagement, so just keep that in mind. There can also be a lack of authenticity behind some user comments, who are just commenting on your post out of obligation. Plus, if you have a caption paired with your photo, some comments my be completely irrelevant, and again, only posted out of obligation.
Despite these personal issues I have with pods, they can be a good place to form connections with other users. You might find new accounts you enjoy following, form bonds with other influencers, and learn from other people on this platform. All that being said, that isn’t enough of a reason for me to jump back into the pod-craze.
If ditching pods means my account grows slower than others, I’ll take it. I prefer a much less stressful approach to Instagram, and forgoing these groups helps eliminate a lot of that stress. I fully believe in organic growth, and while I realize that method isn’t going to satisfy everyone, it’s what I feel is best for myself and my brands. If you want to learn more about how you can up-level your Instagram account, you can check out this post here.