There have been rumors that members of Instagram Engagement groups are going to be penalized by Instagram or the bloggers that use comment-pods, their Impressions or reach would drastically reduce OR you will just be on a shadow ban…
Being the curious monkey I am, I did some digging.
Let’s start with the basics first (for the newbies)
What is an Instagram Engagement Group aka Comment Pods?
It all started after the death of Instagram’s amazing chronological order feed! Globally, bloggers and influencers started creating these groups on WhatsApp, Telegram, Facebook and most-commonly Instagram Direct Messages with the intention of sharing each other’s posts daily to get more comments (aka “engagement”). A WhatsApp, Telegram or Facebook Messenger has no restriction on how many people can be in a group (few have over a whopping… 500) whereas Instagram DM’s are restricted to 15 people.
These groups are important since bloggers engagement rates have been reducing drastically and we need comments to exhibit engagement, plus, beat the algorithm.
What is a shadow ban?
Some users have found their engagement to be significantly low. Everything looks normal from their end, so it’s hard to figure out why – until they log out, or check for their posts from an account that don’t follow them. Then they see that their post is not showing in any of the hashtag grids that they have posted with. They’re essentially invisible.
Click here to read more from my previous article.
Members part of Instagram DM groups are worried they’re getting penalized because Instagram can detect they’re “sharing” images to several groups.
The Reality – Indulging in engagement groups does NOT get you penalized. Why?
Based on my research on how to increase engagement on Instagram, one of the most common point is: create Instagram pods.
- Unlike bots, pods don’t explicitly break any Instagram rules. There’s no artificial liking of thousands of image, no spam comments, and no need to plaster your photo with the 30 most appropriate hashtags. Photographers wanting to build a solid following on Instagram have very little reason not to do this.
- From Instagram’s point of view, comment pods are no bad thing – anything that gets real users commenting and liking more, and logging in more often, is a good thing for Instagram’s growth. They can show ads to those users. Their activity counts towards evidence of the platform’s exponential growth.
- If Instagram didn’t want people to share their posts in DMs, they would simply take away the ability to do so. A system where engagement via DM (direct message) was somehow systemically discounted sort of defeats the point of having the option there in the first place. They put that little airplane icon there because they want people to share their posts more, and to keep the platform active. It would be odd to punish their community for using it, noh?
- You will definitely see an increase in followers. By commenting on other posts, other users see your comment and they will click on your profile. If they like your content they will follow you.
Disadvantages of being in an Engagement Group/Comment Pod
- If you share your content with the same pod(s) every day, it becomes quite obvious since the same user comments on almost all of your pictures. There will definitely be an initial hike in engagement, but eventually, it will flatten out than causing continuous growth. This way you’re definitely cheating the system, but not the marketers or influencer agencies.
- If you’re in multiple pods with people you have nothing in common with, this becomes far less of an advantage. In fact, the more you engage with and interact with these people, the more Instagram will think that’s the sort of content you like, and shape your platform experience to fit this. So, if you’re in a pod or six with a bunch of mediocre travel bloggers who can’t take a decent photo, don’t be surprised if your home feed and explore pages begin to show you more of the same.
- It is best to be a part of 3 to 4 groups. Anything more is literally a waste of time since you’re commenting on over 50 images daily. This is firstly too fake, and a waste of time and energy.
What will get you penalized?
Using automated programs, otherwise known as Spambots, to do your following/unfollowing, likes and comments. These tactics to go against their Terms. Instagram now wants to develop a community that promotes authenticity aka organic growth.