In this blog, I will share my experience with an Instagram Engagement group and the reasons I joined and after a while left again.
One day I received a private message from a member of an engagement group from Canada. I was intrigued but not quite sure at the time what an Engagement Group was. The member of the group asked me to join the group. A quick google search revealed: Engagement groups define a number of social media users who meet through messenger services like Telegram to exchange comments and likes on each others posting on Instagram or Facebook. Sometimes these groups are titled as comment pods or engagement pods. (Source: InfluencerDB).
After setting up my account on Telegraph, an app for private messaging, I was all set. Telegraph was an essential tool for the group to communicate with the members about the change in hashtags, time of drops (I'll explain further down what this means), new members and to announce the members who got kicked out. The first task was to follow all the group members, at the time I joined it was roughly 200. Once that was done I was all set to 'engage'.
The group rules were that you had to like all new post from each member within 24 hours of them posting the photo. As I live in Australia and the group had the majority of members from the United States and Canada most new photos were posted during the night. That meant, each morning I had to like roughly 100 photos. At the start, I could easily keep up with liking all new photos. The group also organised drops. Drops are when the group posts and like their member's contents at the same time. As said before, the group was based in Canada and all of their syncronised drops were scheduled at a time which was in the early morning hours here in Australia and I didn't have a chance to participate in it.
Then over time, the group recruited more and more members. It ended up to be over 600 members. That had its pros and cons. More members meant the photos I posted gained more likes and therefore my engagement was increased, which in turn is favourable to the Instagram algorithm. The not so good side of the increased members was that there were quite a few people not engaging, which meant that they received all the likes from everyone else but did little to nothing in return. That sounds maybe good for that individual but it frustrated me over time more and more.
Over a few weeks, I monitored the people in the group which didn't engage back and reported them to the admins in the group. The response was mixed. You have to know that the admins of the group do it for free and for the engagement as well. After a while and crunching the numbers, I decided to leave the group. That was after I was a member for over 6 months. By then the daily task for liking all new posts, making sure that I was following every new member took quite some time.
The question is, are the received likes and follows real or just received because everyone had to. For me, the aftertaste of 'fake' likes didn't really disappear. Since I left, I (hope to) know that all likes are from people looking at the photos and genuinely like them.
Another common way to increase your followers:
I have come across quite a few Facebook group post in which a member of the group asks everyone to post their Instagram handle. This is in the hope to receive more followers which might work. Another tactic to gain more followers or like is to comment on an Instagram post 'Like for Like' or 'Follow for Follow'. I am not a great fan of these kinds of engagements either as you only receive a like/follow if you like or follow. It is not a genuine appreciation of your work, it is only so the other party can soar the status ladder of social media.
I do like or follow accounts which speak to me, it might be the unique style of photography or same/similar interests. On a regular basis, I do check the accounts of people who started following me, if I like what I see I follow back...