The name of the game in blogging and social media is engagement. Above amount of followers and readers, engagement (and quality engagement) is the number one thing that brands look at when they decide to partner with an influencer. It’s how the new Instagram algorithm decides which posts to feature in the Popular page. And now, it’s why so many bloggers have turned to Instagram comment pods to garner the quality engagement to get them noticed by brands and increase their engagement rate.
I was in 2 Instagram comment pods for approximately 3 weeks. So why did I decide to leave?
The engagement isn’t actually real.
First and foremost, when brands are looking to partner with you as an influencer, they expect you to have influence over your audience. The goal of these comment pods is to share your picture with a group of like-minded bloggers and have them leave a meaningful comment. In turn, when anyone else shares their photo to the group, you are expected to return the favor and comment on their photo. Therefore, this means that your photos are flooded with “quality” comments from other influencers, not from your audience themselves. The bloggers in your Instagram comment pods are only commenting on your photos with the expectation that you will do the same on theirs.
Brands and agencies are catching on.
My full time job is in the influencer marketing space. My colleagues and I have conversations daily about how bloggers “juicing” their numbers muddies the waters and makes it more difficult to tell what is real and what isn’t. Honestly, it isn’t good, no matter which way you slice it.
I recently worked on a campaign where the brand wanted to know the unique monthly site views of the bloggers we were presenting, as that is the only number that you can’t easily fake or pay for. Many bloggers we initially had on our list for the program were dropped off because their only “real” numbers were on Instagram. Both brands and agencies are getting wise to the ways of bloggers!
What if Instagram dies?
As with everything social media, apps and platforms all have a lifespan. Viners with tens of millions of followers made upwards of $80k per sponsored Vine. Now Vine is dead. If you spend all your time working on your Instagram and one day, IG goes bankrupt and shuts its doors, you will have nothing. As a blogger, the only certainty you have is your own website. Working on cultivating that and bringing in new readers will cause your social network to grow organically.
It challenges me.
If my followers aren’t commenting on my photos, I really only have myself to blame. Maybe the photo is bad. Maybe my caption is boring. Either way, if I’m not getting the amount of comments I want on a photo, that’s on me.
Sure, I can take the easy way out and do what so many others have done before me and buy a bunch of Instagram followers, join some comment pods, and reap the benefits of a large following. Or, I can choose to forge my own path and constantly come up with interesting and unique content to keep my followers engaged and hopefully attract new ones. In the end, I can sleep at night knowing I gained my followers organically and my sponsorships authentically.
Of course, these are my opinions on the subject, but there may be some information in here that you hadn’t considered before. I’m always interested to hear your point of view, so leave me a comment below (lol) if you’re in agreement or if you have a difference of opinion!