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An eye for an eye; it’s a saying that goes back centuries, and it’s the idea behind Instagram engagement groups.
Engagement is how Instagram grades the quality of your content. The more people Like, view, comment on, save and share your content, the more stellar your contest is in the eyes of Instagram.
Instagram likes when you make stellar content. It likes it so much that that it puts your stellar posts on the Top Pages for their respective pages, as well as on people’s Explore pages.
What it means to be a Top Post for your hashtag:
When you search a hashtag on Instagram, you get a screen that looks like this:
These posts are the posts that Instagram has deemed to be the most popular for your hashtag at the time of searching.
While the exact formula for getting your posts into the Top Post grid is unknown, engagement is a very large contributing factor. Almost as important as the amount of post engagement is the speed at which a post acquires its engagement.
For example, a post that receives its engagement within the first hour is more likely rank as a Top Post for its hashtag than a post that receives the same amount of engagement over the course of a couple days.
Regardless of how Instagram calculates its Top Posts, having your post appear as a Top Post means WAY more visibility for your post and for your Instagram channel. More visibility from the right kind of people means more followers for your channel.
As mentioned before, the most widely-accepted method to get your post featured as a Top Post is by getting lots of quality engagement on your post in a short amount of time.
There are plenty of ways to do this, as outlined in our article 62 Proven Ways to Grow Your Instagram in 2018, but one particularly effective way to get more engagement is by using Instagram engagement groups.
What are Instagram engagement groups?
Instagram engagement groups, also known as Instagram pods, are groups of people who have agreed to comment on, view, and/or Like your posts in exchange for you commenting on, viewing and/or Liking their posts.
By using these groups, you’re ensuring that every time you post a piece of content, in addition to the regular amount of engagement you might get from your followers, you also have the added engagement from the members of your Instagram engagement groups.
In addition to just providing your content with more engagement, engagement groups also provide the added benefit of timely engagement.
Here is typically how engagement groups work:
- drop your post into the group at a designated time (usually called “rounds”)
- everyone in the group will begin Liking and viewing and commenting on your post, usually around 30 minutes to an hour after you share your post
- you do your part and like and comment and view everyone else’s posts
Funnily enough, most Instagram engagement groups operate outside of Instagram, primarily on Facebook, Telegram and Whatsapp. This is because Instagram groups on Instagram are limited to 15 people per group. This means that if you are only part of one Instagram engagement group on Instagram, you can expect a maximum of 15 Likes per post – not exactly what you need to rank as a Top Post.
Groups on Facebook, Telegram and Whatsapp, however, don’t have these limits. The number of members in these groups can far exceed 15, often containing member counts in the hundreds if not thousands, which means that you can expect far more Likes, comments, and views on your posts from each group.
Joining Instagram Engagement Groups
The kind of engagement group you want to join is going to depend on the theme and size of your Instagram channel.
Joining Instagram engagement groups can be as simple as reaching out to similar channels on Instagram and asking if they belong to or are aware of any engagement groups that are accepting new members.
For example, if you are a travel photographer with 10,000 Instagram followers, you would want to reach out to other travel photographers on Instagram with around 10,000 followers.
You can do this manually by reaching out to channels one-by-one, or you use an automation tool like TagScout, which you can use to target and connect (DMs, comments, likes, follows, etc.) with other Instagram photographers based on hashtag-use, location, and competitor connection.
Another option is Google:
- Instagram Engagement Groups 2018
- Instagram engagement groups list
- Instagram pods to join
Any of these searches will provide possible engagement groups for you to join.
While any engagement group will undoubtedly help get engagement for your posts, it can look suspicious if most of your comments come from Instagram users completely outside the theme of your channel. This is why you should join theme-specific engagement groups. This way, all engagement you receive is coming from people who are actually involved in your industry and therefore looks more natural under your posts.
If you want to narrow down your search to theme-specific groups, here are some popular searches:
- Instagram pods for photographers
- Instagram pods for artists
- Instagram pods for business
Or you can simply search “Instagram engagement groups/Instagram pods/ for *your theme*“.
Alternatively, you can just read any of our following three articles:
- 190+ Instagram Pods to Join in 2018
- 10 Instagram Pods for Photographers in 2018
- 8 Instagram Pods for Business in 2018
What to consider when choosing Instagram engagement groups
Once you narrow down some Instagram engagement groups, here are some other things you want to look for:
- type of engagement
Look at how active people in the group are. Was the last post two months ago? Best to look elsewhere.
Engagement groups that have set rules are bound to produce better results than engagement groups than don’t. For example, look for engagement groups that have set round times (example – 2PM, 6PM, etc.) throughout the day. When a group has set round times, you can expect your posts to receive all of its engagement shortly after you upload it.
Groups without set rounds will still produce engagement for your posts, but it won’t necessarily be close to when you upload. This is important because, as mentioned earlier, the closer to posting time that your posts receives it engagement, the more powerful that engagement is, and the more likely that your post will show up as a Top Post for its hashtag.
Type of Engagement
There are a number of different types of engagement:
The three main forms of engagement could be argued to be Likes, Comments and Views. Of these three, comments carry the most weight in the eyes of Instagram. With that in mind, when choosing engagement groups to join, you should prioritize comment engagement groups.
7 things to help you succeed in Instagram engagement groups
Use multiple pods and switch them up once in a while
While Instagram engagement groups are perfectly legal on Instagram, if used incorreclly they can produce behavior that may seem suspicious to Instagram. For example, if you receive comments from the exact same people at the exact same time every day that could be seen as suspicious. To avoid this, it’s important that you don’t rely on one single engagment group for long periods of time. Take advantage of multiple groups and/or switch them up over time.
Get the best quality engagement from your engagement groups
Another thing to consider the the quality of the comments being left on your posts. “Nice job!” or “Love it!” not only looks suspicious, but lower quality comments like these actually do less for your engagement than other quality, authentic comments. Remember, the main reason you want to use engagement groups is to gain quality engagement so that your posts show up in the Top Posts for their hashtags. If you’re consistently having poor comments left on your posts, this isn’t necessarily helping you accomplish this goal.
An easy way to avoid these types of spammy comments is, if it’s allowed in your engagement group, to ask that people comment something specific about your post.
Don’t rely solely on engagement groups for your engagement
Relying solely on engagement groups for your engagement is a risky move. If for whatever reason Instagram disallows engagement groups or you stop using them, your engagement is going to drop significantly. This will not only lessen your chances of getting your posts in the Top Posts for their hashtags, but the sudden drop in engagement may lead your followers to think you bought your Likes and comments.
This is why it’s crucial to combine other, more conventional ways of getting engagement with the use of Instagram engagement groups. Listing all possible ways to get engagement for your posts is would require another article in and of itself. Fortunately, we wrote one: 62 Proven Ways to Gain More Followers on Instagram.
Take note of your engagement before you begin using engagement groups
For those who like to track the progress of their growth on Instagram, the use of engagement groups also makes analytics more difficult. As Instagram can’t distinguish Likes and comments that come from engagement groups from Likes and comments that come organically,
To get an idea of how well your engagement groups are working, take note of your engagement before you begin using them. This way, you at least have a before/after metric.
Respond to all of your comments
If you’re in a comment engagement group, be sure to respond to all comments. This not only looks good from a community nurturing standpoint, but by responding to all of your comments you are essentially doubling the amount of engagement on your posts. When you respond to your comments, 10 comments become 20 comments.
If you don’t have the time or energy to respond to your comments manually, use a tool like TagScout to automatically respond to all comments left on your most recent posts.
Share posts with less popular hashtags
When choosing what posts you want to share with your engagement groups, you can increase your odds of showing up as a Top Post by sharing posts with less popular hashtags. This is because smaller hashtags have less posts and therefore less competition.
Don’t be a leech and read the rules
If you’re going to put in the time to find and join a working engagement group, the least you can do is follow the rules. Look for pinned posts or ask other members to make sure you understand the rules before anything else.
One very easy rule to follow is to actually reciprocate the Likes, comments and views other people are giving your posts. If you don’t return the favour for their posts, be prepared to get kicked out and banned.
Here are some helpful resources to help you easily find and connect with relevant Instagram engagement groups:
Instagram engagement groups are one of the few certain ways to immediately gain more quality engagement for your content. Use the guidance above to find and join the right Instagram engagement groups for your channel.
Have your own experience with Instagram engagement groups? Drop your tips in the comments below!