There are over 1 billion users on Instagram, over 2.45 billion on Facebook and 145 million daily users on Twitter. This can make it difficult to stand out. Producing great content isn’t always enough to earn new followers, and advertising can get expensive quickly.
One of the best ways to get more brand visibility is through increased engagement on your social media posts. Even if someone follows you on Instagram or Facebook, they may not see your posts if you aren’t getting any reactions or comments. (That dang algorithm!) So how do you boost your engagement if no one is seeing your content?
Get more engagement and grow your following faster by participating in a pod. A pod is a group of 10 to 15 people in a niche who agree to engage with each other’s content. People in the group alert each other when they post something new, then the rest of the members comment on, like, and/or share the post. This creates authentic interactions, which boosts your brand visibility.
The concept started among influencers on Instagram, but has expanded to other social networks. There are even pods for Medium and Quora. But usually a pod is platform specific. For example, a Facebook pod member would never ask other members to engage with a post on Twitter or Instagram. That means you may have to join multiple pods in order to get interaction on different platforms.
Unfortunately, there’s no way to go searching for a pod to join, at least not ones that are worth your time. Authentic pods are invite-only, so unless someone asks you to participate, you can’t just go out and find one. The solution is to create your own. The pros are that you can set your own rules, but the cons are that it will require some extra time and management on your part.
How to Create an Engagement Pod
- Decide on a platform. Choose one where you have the most followers but aren’t getting enough engagement. Or pick the platform where you need to grow your following the most. Look at your business goals and then decide what social media strategy is going to help you meet them.
- Set rules. Decide how many posts per day or week members are allowed to ask for engagement on. If you don’t set guidelines, ‘Social Media Sally’ could ask you to engage with 17 posts per day! That’s too much of your time. Set a post limit and set a rule for the length of time to engage. Hardcore pods only give their members 10 minutes. For the best results, commenting between 15 and 60 minutes is ideal, but you have to decide what’s best for you and your lifestyle (and frankly your business).
- Identify who you want in your pod. Find other professionals in your industry, people who share your target market and some influencers (nano or otherwise) you want to include. Choose 10 people to start. This leaves room for a little growth in case someone wants to invite one or two others to join.
Make sure that the members are relevant and have a following. Having people in your pod who don’t fit your brand, or share your values or audience won’t help your social presence the way you want it to. Plus, it will look spammy.
- Message your pod prospects. Ask if they’d like to join your pod. Explain the purpose for the group, the perks of joining and why you think they’re a good fit. Tell them why you love them, their business and their content.
- Create a group for your pod. Some people use DMs to communicate with their Pod. Others prefer using Telegram, WhatsApp, Skype or another messaging service. Decide what works best for you and send an invite to the group along with a welcome message that clearly explains all the rules.
- Start posting. When you post something new, send a message to the group. Their job is to “like” your post and leave an authentic comment (aka, more than 4 words). You’ll do the same for them.
Over time you’ll get to know your group better, find other ways to support each other, and share ideas for growth. One upside to this strategy is that you’ll probably learn something new to help your own business. If nothing else, you’ll gain another perspective on how to build your network and brand.
Want more ideas on how to grow your business? Message me for a free 20-minute consultation. I’m happy to do it on Zoom, so you can actually see the person behind the pen. That would be me.