Before we dig in this post, I totally realize that not everyone is going to agree with me on this one. That’s okay. I recently got caught up in the world of Instagram Comment Pods after several members of my blogging groups started buzzing about them. Washingtonian even wrote an article explaining the practice, and framing it as a “support group.” Ultimately, I realized that Instagram comment pods really didn’t help with my engagement at all, and that it wasn’t for me.
What the heck is a “pod” you ask? It’s a way for bloggers who have a similar niche to beat the Instagram algorithm. They’ll start an Instagram DM group with around 10-15 members, and each member shares their photos to the group. Each member of the group will then leave a comment on the photo you shared. These were mainly started as a way to boost someone’s photo and to “beat” the algorithm.
I tried about three Instagram comment pods before stopping all together. Here’s why the whole system didn’t work for me, and what I do instead to drive engagement!
It’s my job to drive engagement
The first thing I hated about Instagram comment pods was the forced comments. My pods had a minimum word requirement of 3-5 words to cater to Instagram’s algorithm, and some of the comments I received just seemed out of place and forced. Not surprising since you’re in a pod that requires you to leave a comment!
If people aren’t commenting on my photos, I can’t blame an algorithm. I only have myself to blame. If the photo is bad or if I don’t write out a caption that’s compelling enough, that’s on me. By leaving the comment pods and really focusing on getting the right shots and captions, it helped me step up my ‘gram game and drive organic engagement.
I was spending a lot of time commenting on the same 14 accounts
Pretty much all of my time on Instagram was spent commenting on photos from people in my Instagram comment pods. I didn’t have the energy or motivation to scroll through my feed and leave thoughtful comments on other people’s photos, which was a major problem.
Honestly, I have the most success on IG when I sit down and comment on random people’s photos. I’ll pick a hashtag that’s relevant to my niche, and comment away on photos I like. Some people return the favor, some people decide to follow me, and some don’t do anything in return (which is okay!) My time is better spent commenting on other people’s feeds and exposing myself to a new audience!
The likes to comments ratio was out of place
To be perfectly honest? I didn’t notice any real change in my like count either when I was participating in Instagram comment pods. It just inflated my comment count to an unrealistic number. And sadly, it’s kind of obvious when I see other influencers who are in comment pods. It’s pretty farfetched to have 60 comments on a photo that’s only getting 120 likes. Brands aren’t oblivious to pods either — I’ve seen in multiple PR pro groups that they’re on to the practice and it is something they consider when selecting influencers for campaigns!
Long story short: keep it real, and hold yourself accountable
I totally get that we all want to support each other. There’s nothing wrong with supporting a fellow blogger with a like or a comment. Instagram comment pods just bothered me in general because it was so blatant that the same ~14 girls were leaving lengthy comments on every single one of my photos.
At the end of the day, it really is my job to make you, my follower, want to interact with one of my photos. If I’m not engaging my audience, I’ve failed as a blogger. Relying on inauthentic engagement isn’t going to help my account grow. Trial and error is the only thing that will push me to be a better, more engaging blogger!