Engagement pods? Is it cheating?
Today we're going to chat all things engagement pods. They've become pretty popular within the blogging community over the past year or so, despite some negativity that surrounds them. There's a lot of bloggers who don't wish to use them but don't see the problem with those that do, and there's some others who see them as a complete cheat of the system which is understandable in some ways. I'm discussing the pros and cons in today's post so get sat down with your cuppa and keep reading!
What are engagement pods?
An engagement pod is generally a group of bloggers created by another blogger on a social media platform where they can post content and exchange likes and comments. They're most popular on instagram where you share your latest insta posts and it's basically a thread where you have to like and comment on every bloggers post before you post your own to receive the same engagement back. They can also be found on twitter where you share the links to your latest blog posts and again, it's all in a thread where you comment on every post in order to receive the same amount of comments on your own blog posts.
Is it cheating?
Some people think engagement pods are a way of cheating as the engagement isn’t authentic but in my opinion, it depends on who you’re in a pod with and what kind of engagement you’re getting. At the end of the day, you’re in a pod with real people and real bloggers. Not robots. Whilst I do agree to some extent that people should be leaving likes and comments because they want to rather than feeling forced to, this is where it all comes down to being real.
We all known engagement, particularly on Instagram can be so up and down so I completely understand why people choose to make and take part in engagement pods. Even blog comments are dying out because of platforms like bloglovin that are going extremely downhill. I feel like this forces people to feel the need to use pods to keep up that interaction and that’s okay - to some extent. I've been involved with all kinds of pods during my time as a blogger and I actually ended up leaving all of my Instagram pods because I stopped enjoying Instagram because of them. I stopped scrolling through my feed and felt like every time I posted I had a duty to catch up with my pods and it became such a chore. I made the decision to leave them and it was the best thing I did. My engagement didn’t drop at all and got better and I was actually browsing my feed again and seeing posts from all the people I followed. I leave comments because I want to, and I found that all the genuinely nice bloggers tend to return the favour so instead of being in a pod full of people almost being forced to comment, I’m now genuinely engaging and I’m getting the same engagement back on my own posts. I don't comment just for it to be reciprocated of course but don't you think that it's just nice to show the support and interact? I try and return the comments now to every single person that comments on my instagram posts and most days I do, it takes up such a little amount of my time and I enjoy doing it - so why not?
However, with my actual blog I’ve found it to be the complete opposite to Instagram. I used to comment on so many blogs and these bloggers would return the favour which was lovely but over the past 6 months that’s completely died out. I still love reading blogs and leave comments whenever I can but I find bloggers don’t bother to return the favour anymore for some reason? This is why I made the decision to join and make my own twitter pods for blog comments. Again, there is a couple of people who just can’t be bothered and you can tell from their pathetic attempt at a comment that they’re doing it for their own engagement alone. HOWEVER, the other 90% of the group leave genuine, lengthy comments and you can so tell they’ve actually enjoyed reading your post and that makes it so worthwhile.
I feel like rather than viewing blog comment pods as a way of getting comments, they’ve become a group of people who have an excuse to sit down every few days and actually have a read of some blog posts. Something I love doing and don’t find enough time to do, so these pods give me such a good reason to actually do it more often. I don’t see them as a chore in the slightest - sure I’m not perfect and some days when I’m busy I feel like giving it a miss, but usually I just wait until I’ve got a chilled morning and get sat down with my cup of tea and then I’ll catch up. It’s such a relaxing and enjoyable thing to do, I read up on all things beauty, lifestyle, parenting and travel, leaving a friendly comment here and there, all whilst drinking my morning tea or coffee.
Social media is so fast paced these days and there’s SO many bloggers and different platforms that your posts can get lost in a minefield, therefore there really isn’t anything wrong with starting a group with other bloggers where you can all keep your posts stored in one easily accessible place and enjoy reading and commenting on each other’s posts every week. I realise that pods aren’t for everyone but if they’re for you then that’s great. As long as you’re not faking it then there really is no issue!
Facebook groups are really good to use as there’s engagement threads rather than pods and you can choose to join in with whatever you like rather than feeling like once you're in that's it. You literally don't have to do anything until you choose a thread to join in with, so even if that's only once a month, great! You also get notifications every time a new person leaves a comment on the thread so it’s super easy to be able to keep up with them. I personally like a mix of both, the twitter pods I have for blog engagement have a rule that you only have to leave as many comments for each person in the group as many times as you post. So even if you're super busy and only blog once a week then you only have to leave one comment per week on each member, even if they post every single day! It works out great and it's much easier to keep up with, plus it makes it fair for everyone. I cannot be doing with these bloggers who create pods and have super strict, unfair rules, like please just get a life? They're supposed to be fun and sociable groups!
The pros and cons.
So basically to sum up what I've already said, I think the engagement is only fake if you're in a pod with a group of people who's content you aren't interested in. If you're leaving comments because you feel that you have to rather than because you want to and vice versa, then it's clearly false engagement and who wants that? The best way to get involved with engagement pods is to create your own with a group of bloggers who's content you actually enjoy. That way it will never feel like a chore to keep up with and in some respects, it means you won't miss any of their posts with these ridiculous algorithm changes 24/7 - so win win right? However, they aren't for everyone and that's completely okay too!
What are your thoughts on engagement pods?