About a year ago I foolishly abandoned all social media networks, and dove in head first to Instagram. All the social media gurus were telling creatives like me that Instagram was the new Facebook, and that we should be focusing more and more time and effort into sharing “authentically” and gaining followers (through any means necessary). So thats what I did. I created an entirely separate feed for business purposes and created a beautifully curated feed that was strictly aligned with my brand. I posted sometimes three times a day and gained followers slowly but steadily. I even got a few inquiries and booking from couples who found me on Instagram, so all in all, I would say, the strategy was working.
Then something changed. While new features were coming out nearly everyday (Snapchat all but disappeared and the 24 hour stories with cute filters to boot found their way to the IG), my engagement and reach slowed to a near halt. After some research, it appeared as though the culprit was this nasty thing called an algorithm. And although, I still don’t really understand it, I know its responsible for hiding my posts under bigger more popular feeds because, lets face it, most of us can’t compete with accounts that have tens of thousands of followers. So What did I do? I did what the same “pros” who told me to put all my eggs in the Instagram basket in the first place said to do. I joined a pod.
For those that don’t know what a pod is, basically, its a way for a group of creatives to beat the algorithm by helping boost each other’s posts by group commenting with 3-5 words in a short period of time. This practice tricks the Instagram bots into thinking that the post must be very popular and therefor allows it to “skip the line” per se so that more users are able to see it. Most pods are made up of 10-15 users, so in short, I was guaranteed at least that many comments.
Well, today, I quit them. All 6 pods that I am in, and no. I’m not crazy. I’m just tired of spending hours a day feeling forced to comment on the same 15 – 20 feeds. Don’t get me wrong, I have really come to love the work of the users that I have been following, but I just don’t feel like our interactions are exactly authentic. So here is why I’m quitting:
Engagement is up to me
At the end of the day, its no one’s responsibility to drive engagement but mine. And although its great to have my circle of wedding pros commenting on me daily posts, they aren’t really the ones hiring me. So its up to me to post engaging and interesting content that will drive traffic to me. And mainly that happens due to reason #2…
If I don’t Engage With My Target Audience, They Won’t Engage With We
I know that in order to get people commenting, liking, sharing, and engaging with me, I need to be commenting, liking, sharing and engaging with them. The magic golden rule is engaging with 10 users for every 1 user who comments with me. This, to be honest, is not something I have been very good at. The truth is, pods had me in a never ending circle of posting and commenting only on the users that were in my pod. No wonder I wasn’t seeing any new traffic. In fact, I have actually seen a decrease in traffic according to my Instagram Insights. No bueno!
Slow and Steady Wins the Race
If there is one thing that I have learned, that is “nothing worth having, comes easy”. And the same is true with social media. Is it nice to gain followers by the dozens a day? YES! Would I love it if every post I wrote got tons of authentic engagement? Of Course! But the truth of the matter is, that just isn’t the way building a small business works. It works off of past clients loving the work I post of them AND other couples. It happens when friends and family comment and share and tag people they know so that my name gets out there, and most importantly, it happens by me getting out there and hustling Every. Single. Day. to make my dream happen.
So bye bye pods, its been nice. And its totally me, not you… I promise. But this thing between us has come to an end.
How do you feel about Instagram Pods? Love ’em? Hate ’em? Let me know