Sunday, 18 June 2017

COMMENT GROUPS! Do they REALLY beat the Instagram Algorithm

Ahhh Instagram. I will never forget turning 18 and my friends introducing me to this new app and I really wasn't that impressed. I'm never a fan of change in general, and I was probably still missing the old times of Bebo and MSN (who remembers sharing the love, or having your best mates mentioned in your msn name?!) Gaahh sad times!  I genuinely didn't think Instagram would be MASSIVE, nor did I ever think I would be earning money through the platform and running my own mini business. But as most of us know, Instagram has changed everyones news feeds so photos are not in chronological order but in their own algorithm. Even I get confused talking about it, but the best way to describe it is like this:

Say you follow a celebrity and you also follow a work colleague. The celebrity posts something in the morning and the work colleague posts something 5 minutes ago. Instead of seeing the most recent uploads, you are more likely to see the Instagrammers that have a higher engagement or the ones you engage with the most. Hence why you may see a celebrity's post from the night before, but you never saw that cocktail drink which an old friend posted that evening! 

Most people still complain about this because although they like and comment on their favourite Instgrammers, they NEVER see them appear in their news feeds and they have to always search them to see if they have posted any new content. 

So what exactly is a comment group? 

A comment group, is just a group chat (in this case with bloggers and influencers) where someone is normally in charge (admin) who has the control to add or remove people, and all of us throughout the day will post our Instagram images into the group and we all have to comment on each others. Ideally you HAVE to comment on everyone else's photograph first and be up to date before you post your own image. Some groups would maybe vary on how many times you could post in a day (normally it was only once or twice a day), and if you didn't use the chat for many days you were at a high chance of getting kicked out. (By the way I'm going by my own experience and some rules may vary but the gist is, you help each other gain comments!) 

I remember being added to some last August just on the Instagram group chat. You can only have fifteen people in a group, but at the time I was all for it! So many people on Twitter were moaning about their likes and comments decreasing, and there has been constant debates whether it's better to switch to a business account or to keep it personal one.  At the time on Instagram I was in a couple of all girl groups (so thats 30 people). 
So for a couple of months I was happy to be using the Instagram chats for gaining comments. It was a little shock to the system, especially when you hadn't been on the chat all day and there were several notifications to get through, but I found the process highly addictive and it meant chatting to other bloggers. It was a case of 'I scratch your back, and you scratch mine'. We were all in the same boat and I weirdly got a buzz getting some extra comments per photograph. 
But over time, Instagram group chats were not enough, and many people were moving over to an app called 'Telegram', an app very similar to WhatsApp, but you could have AS MANY PEOPLE AS YOU WANT in a group. Again, me not liking change, I was one of the last to move over to Telegram and to give that a go. 

Now this is when things get fucking ridiculous. 

The most I was ever in on Telegram was four comment groups, all ranging from 50-100 bloggers/influncers. One of them I was in was strictly for over 100k followers because apparently 'your photographs reach out more to people when you have engagement from Instagrammers with higher followings' (this is apparently by the way, I've still not a clue, but I went with it). 
By being in these comment groups, you can't just upload a photograph to Instagram like a normal person. Instead your are getting through all the notifications beforehand (if you miss a day, you could wake up to at least 300+ notifications), commenting on everyone else's photograph which has been added into the chat (which I'm telling you now, can take OVER AN HOUR). Then finally, you can upload yours, and you feel a sigh of relief and you feel a little high out of seeing ten or twenty comments appear within ten minutes! Kerching!

The problem is, over time it gets really really exhausting and it was always really infuriating when you would comment nice and genuine words (apparently Instagram will only consider a comment genuine if it's at least three to four words, otherwise it's classed as spammy) and then others would comment 'Great shot babe'. Or 'Love this shot'. Normally there would be strict rules to not to post comments like this but people would still do it, as well as cheekily post their image into the chat saying they have 'caught up' with all the previous posts when they really haven't (they didn't get away with this for long!).

Over time, I think the quantity of the comments became less less and genuine and more and more spammy. I almost felt trapped because I knew that if I just posted an Instagram image without adding it to the group chat, the engagement would be rubbish on it, but I knew that if I caught up on the chat and posted my image, I probably still wouldn't be happy with the 50+ comments which I knew in my heart, weren't from my followers that genuinely WANTED to comment. 

So now it leads me onto this. Are the comment groups worth it? Do they actually increase your impressions and reach? 

About two weeks ago I decided to remove myself from all the comment groups and delete Telegram altogether. Annoyingly I can confirm that the comment groups DO HELP with engagement, but not massively. The photographs with the help of the comment groups had about 5k-10k more reach on average compared to my photographs now which are now getting NO HELP! This is the same for my impressions too. 

When I removed myself from the groups I did feel a little lost to begin with, but I know in my gut it is best and I would rather be genuine and engaging with any comments that I know are NOT from a comment group! I would rather ten genuine comments which I can personally reply back to, than fifty which I know are from other people helping each other and they don't always look natural.

Don't get me wrong if you are in a comment group I'm not saying they are all bad! I've interacted with some amazing bloggers and some of them are so lovely and have really helped with my engagement and some have posted really nice comments over the months. I've even been approached by brands that have seen my comments through other bloggers in the group!  If Instagram make things tougher then maybe one day I may join another again. But it will never be a massive one again! Life is too short and I would hate to know how many hours I have spent trying to get a few extra impressions.

 Instead I would rather focus my time on getting the ball rolling with Youtube where I can express myself to the full on there! 

So are you in a comment group? Has your experience been good or bad? Let me know

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YOUTUBE  / Instagram / Twitter
x x x x

Outfit details!! 

Top - Missguided
Shorts - Missguided 
Sandals - Missguided
Sunnies - Quay Australia on ASOS
Belt - ASOS
Bag (also comes in black!) - New Look

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14 comments

  1. I love Instagram but as soon as I think I've figured it out to get more likes and comments, something changes and it goes back down again. A comment group sounds like it would take up too much of my time.
    I'm trying not to think about numbers and post what I like and like and comment on others' images because I like them, not because I should :)

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  2. I'm in about 5/6 different insta pods which I've found really helpful! But I feel it's the same people liking and commenting and not people from all over the place. I really don't get this algorithm thing, do you know anything about the shadow Ann or the hashtags thing? Please do a post if you do! This one was a big help!

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