In this video, (from a Facebook live), I implore you to not use this terrible strategy of an engagement pod!
What’s an Engagement Pod?
This post was inspired by a group admin I saw encouraging everyone to engage with each others pages and posts. Now, this strategy might work for local restaurants, mommy pages or DIY pages. But the group was filled with real estate agents and by participating in an engagement pod, you’re not doing your page (or posts) any favors.
Engagement pods can be found at the PAGE level or at a POST level. Both are bad ideas.
A PAGE engagement pod would be exactly what this group admin was perpetuating. She had a post that encouraged agents to drop a link to their Facebook business page so that other people in the group could go LIKE their page. And of course if you drop a link to your own page the expectation is that you like the links that other agents drop. I’ve seen these pods for Instagram profiles too.
A POST engagement pod would be where you share a link to a social media post (Facebook or Instagram) and other people in your engagement pod like, love or comment on your post.
The problem is the people you’re encouraging to engage with your page or post – are NOT your target audience.
The reason people start engagement pods is to try to game the algorithm. So if you and all of your real estate friends said, “Okay, I’m going to like your page. You like my page. I’m going to like your post. I’m going to comment on your post.” So thinking you’re going to essentially trick algorithm by making it seem like your post is super engaging and they’ll show it to more of your audience.
The algorithm is smarter than you think.
Facebook’s algorithm is pretty smart. And, Facebook owns Instagram so you KNOW they also use the same smart algorithm. (Or a smart variation specific to Instagram anyway.)
Essentially, the algorithm is going to see that you have real estate agents from several other states liking your page and commenting on a post. Being a smart little algorithm, it’s going to deduce that you WANT to share your content with people JUST LIKE THESE OTHER AGENTS.
But that’s the WRONG target audience.
So in theory, you’re getting more likes and more engagement on a post. But, not really because of how the algorithm interprets that engagement. Imagine that Facebook is going to say, “Oh, well, geez, Heather is in Des Moines, Iowa, but all of a sudden these people in seven other states are liking her stuff, so that must be her audience.”
If real estate agents are your actual audience, then this is a strategy that could work for you. Savvy Agent’s target audience is going to be real estate agents. But, when it comes to selling real estate in my local market, I only want people who live in my area or are thinking about moving to my area.
PLUS, what happens when the engagement pod peters out and everyone has gone their separate ways? Now you have a bunch of real estate agents that like your page – but NEVER engage. And, they don’t engage with you because they’re not your target audience. The things that you’re posting aren’t created for their social media enjoyment, are they?
But what about agents that sell your listings?
Now I know you might be thinking, “But what if I post a listing on my Facebook business page, and you know Suzie Q the agent that likes my page, she sees the listing and sells it.”
I get that. And if you want real estate agents on your page for that reason because you’re spamming Facebook with your listing, that’s up to you. I don’t recommend it for an effective social media strategy, but, you can totally do that.
Or, you could create a separate page that is just for listings in your town. For example: Homes For Sale in Chicago. Or, Homes For Sale in San Diego. And then post your listings and pimp your friends out to post their listings on that page too, and then the audience truly is real estate agents.
What is your ultimate goal?
Typically, a real estate agent would use their Instagram or Facebook business page to generate leads and connect with their audience. And/or to share social proof! Fake engagement from other real estate agents isn’t going to help you reach your local target audience because you’re confusing the algorithm. And, it’s going to mess your page up. It will ultimately kill all engagement because, honestly, who wants to engage with a bunch of real estate agents?
Imagine that you have a post that seven agents from seven other states are liking and making comments on. Then, Bob from your town sees the post. And he sees the engagement. But he also notices that the people commenting appear to be real estate agents. Bob’s going to think, “Oh well, I guess this is for real estate agents. I’m not going to engage with this because I’m not an agent and I don’t want to look like I don’t know what I’m talking about.”
Just say no.
These are the main reasons why you should not be involved with engagement pods. Don’t give fake engagement! And, don’t encourage other real estate agents to like or comment on your post because it’s not doing you a favor. Don’t get tricked by someone in a group that tells you it’s a good idea. Because it’s not. It’s a bad idea.
Get real engagement
Instead, why don’t you post things that your audience might actually be interested in? Consider the people that you WANT to connect with and what THEY would respond to. What are the questions that they have that you could answer? So maybe by doing a post answering an unasked question, or something fun that’s local, you give yourself the ability to connect with them on their level.
A sign you have a good post is when your true target audience engages with you by liking, loving or commenting on it. It stands to reason that you’re going to have to test a lot of content until you find what your audience will respond to. Then, when you get that post that has good engagement from your page you can run an engagement ad. The Facebook and Instagram algorithms somehow know exactly who to serve that post to, to get additional likes, loves and comments. Then, you can invite those new people to like your page. Slowly but surely you’re going to build an engaged social media following!
If you’re not sure who your target audience is or what you should be posting to get their engagement, then you should download our free training: Attract the Perfect Client.