Are Social Media Engagement Pods Bad?

Maybe you have heard of them called “Instagram pods” or “Facebook pods”. But their purpose is the same. To boost engagement. So are these engagement pods bad? And what kind of effects can they have on a person’s social media account?

What is an engagement pod?

An engagement pod is a group of creators who have gotten together with the sole purpose of helping each other boost their social post engagement. These originally started on Instagram but have thus grown so large in popularity that there are entire Facebook Groups dedicated to being one giant engagement pod hive.

These groups are well organized and involve engagement games. These games focus on likes, comments, shares, views, follows, etc. They are moderated by the admins and are announced via post on a Facebook group. To engage with the game, you just pop into the comments of the game’s post and begin. The games are simple enough. Put the link to the social post you want boosted, and play the “game”. To name a few examples of these games:

  • Must “like” the social post of the 50 people above you
  • Must comment something, four words or more, of the 30 posts before you. NO copy and pasting. (ex. “This is so cute!”, “I love this idea!”)
  • Must follow the TikTok account of the 10 people above you.

To ensure that participants are actually keeping up their end of the bargain, they are given 24 hours to complete the game. If they do not complete the game in the allotted time, the admins will punish the creator by banning them from playing these games for X amount of time. Or they can even be removed from the group entirely.

Are engagement pods good or bad for account growth?

Although we love to see creators helping other creators, this is not the way to do it. Engagement pods are extremely detrimental to your organic social growth.

Learn more on this topic by readying my blog “The Biggest Mistakes of Trying to Gain Followers“.

Final thoughts

Don’t do it. Do not stoop to engagement pods. I know that the algorithm sucks and it seems like if you don’t get the same engagement that brand deals will also disappear. But you need to remember something. The algorithm affects EVERYONE. It leaves no heroes amongst us. If your engagement went down after the last algorithm change, so what. So did everyone else’s. No need to sweat it!

I can guarantee that brands will continue to come to creators that make great content. And I can also guarantee that they will stop coming to those who partake in engagement pods. Speaking as both a creator and a social media specialist for a company that partakes in hiring influencers… we can tell who is using them and who is not.. 😉

Still need to be convinced NOT to partake in an engagement pod? Check out the blog, “Why Engagement Pods Are Damaging Your Value“.

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Is “Going Viral” Bad for My Page?

If you are a creator, then “going viral” can be a goal or a fear of yours. But the big question is “is going viral bad for my page?”. What are the pros and what are the cons of having a post do astronomically better than your normal content?

Pros of Viral Content

is going viral bad for my page?

Going viral is a great way to get exposure for your page. Whether you are a new account or a seasoned account, new blood and activity on your page is a great way to grow your account.

More attention could potentially mean getting noticed by brands! And once those campaigns start coming in, it could mean more money for you.

This can also be an opportunity to understand what people like to watch from you. If you are a style and travel account but it seems that all the videos that have gone viral were style videos, then you will know to focus on that kind of content.

It can also give you an understanding for what level of quality you need for your videos. Going viral gives you the great ability to really dive in to the big question of “why did this video in particular go viral? What was it about this one in particular that people really liked and felt like they wanted to share it?”

Cons of Viral Content

You could get a lot of people to your page that only followed because of that one video. Although that sounds like a plus, this could negatively affect your other content. If you go viral off of that one video and you don’t consistently make videos exactly in that nature, your engagement could go down because all of those other followers don’t interact with the other content.

New followers that don’t interact with your page could mean that your regular content no longer gets pushed to your veteran followers thereby tanking your engagement.

That one video could have also been a one-of-a-kind experience. Something you only did or would/could ever do once. Or it could have been a video that normally had nothing to do with your “normal” content. Either way, when those new followers start figuring out that this isn’t the kind of content that they signed up for, they will leave.

Either way you slice it, going viral can either be really good or really bad for your page. A case can be made for both! If it’s your goal to go viral, then keep following trends or posting top notch content. If you have already had a video go viral and are wondering “what next”, be careful and take this as a learning opportunity to expand on.

And if you need more help, read more influencer and content creation tips on Donna Gail Blog.

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how to start affiliate marketing

How to Start Affiliate Marketing

Everyone makes it seem like every single influencer is making stacks on stacks with affiliate marketing. But if you are trying to start affiliate marketing for yourself, then this guide will help.

What is affiliate marketing?

Affiliate marketing is when influencers or creators use commissionable links to make money off of the sales made using that link. Commission will vary across different brands. Using a creator’s affiliate link does not affect the customer’s end price that they pay.

Is it only for popular social media influencers?

Absolutely not. Yes, the majority of people using affiliate marketing and affiliate links are creators with large followings posting on social media. However, bloggers and smaller creators can use affiliate marketing too. The whole purpose is having a group of people who trust your recommendations and would make an educated purchase because of that trust. As long as your engagement rate is high, that’s really the only key factor in being successful with affiliate marketing.

How do I start affiliate marketing and using affiliate links?

how does affiliate marketing work

The simple answer is with a platform that connects users to trackable, commissionable links.

The most popular sites to use to start with affiliate marketing are:

All of these platforms require you to apply in some way. Reward Style and Shop Style require you to apply to access the site as a whole. They will do a deep dive of your social accounts or websites to ensure that they are only accepting people who take their pages seriously and will be actively using their links. They don’t necessarily have a follower requirement, but as you can imagine, they won’t accept someone who only has 30 followers. Your acceptance chances are high as long as you are showing good, consistent content on your pages. Once accepted on these sites, you can start using commissionable links for thousands of stores instantly.

Impact.com and CJ Affiliate work a little differently. For one, it’s easier to be accepted on these sites. But once accepted on the site, you can not link to any brand sites automatically. You will then have to apply to brands specifically to use affiliate links with them. Not every brand you apply to will accept your application.

In addition to these options, some brands will work directly with a person without using one of these sites. When that happens, the brand will give out your own personal tracking link to use when posting or talking about the brand or product.

How do I get paid?

When someone purchases something using your trackable link, the sale will ping to the system that that sale was made because of your recommendation. Based on the brand’s commission rate, you will get X% of the sale you made. It is imperative to use your links when posting as that will be the only way to get paid.

If you recommend something using your link, and someone purchases in-store, you will not get any commission from that sale. If someone clicks the link on their phone but completes the purchase on their desktop computer, you will not get any commission from that sale. To get paid with affiliate marketing, the click and purchase must happen on the same device.

Consistency is key with affiliate marketing. The more high quality links published means more opportunity for payment. The links do not stay live forever. Most affiliate links will only leave a 30-day cookie trail. That means that if a purchase is made on the 31st day, you won’t be paid. Encourage quick purchases by linking products during sales or high shopping seasons.

Read more content on being a better influencer on Donna Gail Blog.

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How to Turn a Commission Campaign into a Paid Campaign

If you are creating content as an influencer, odds are that you have received a few campaign requests from brands. But in their requests, they are only are offering you commission off of sales for your hard work and content. So how do you turn a commission campaign into a paid campaign? It’s not as hard as you think!

Now it’s pretty easy to get people in your inbox asking to send you gifted or discounted products. And if you’re just starting out on building a portfolio, ten you may find my blog How to Respond to Gifted, Non-Paid, or Ambassadorship Campaign Requests helpful first.

how to turn a commission campaign request into a paid campaign
Humm Kombucha was one company that initially told me they didn’t have budget to work with me. But when they finally had a paid campaign, they contacted me and we finally worked together!

But do you want to know a trade secret? Lots of those brands that are pitching you gifted opportunities have marketing budgets! The reason the vast majority of them don’t start by offering your posting rate is because LOTS of creators will work for free. Many people, including myself, low ball themselves and the credibility of their content. And for a brand who wants to get the most bang for their buck, they are looking for the people that will work for the lowest amount possible. Which is why they will start by offering a gifted campaign.

Turn the Tables to Get Paid!

Time to turn their pitch to you into your pitch to them! This is a company that has literally made it known that they are ready to work with someone – specifically YOU. So instead of accepting their offer for a gifted or ambassadorship campaign, open the conversation to working on a paid campaign.

Here’s an example of how to possibly respond back when that Brand sends you non-paid request:

Hey Brand!

Thank you so much for reaching out. These products are incredible and I love that you thought of me to promote them! However, I am not accepting gifted/ambassadorships, but I would still like to work with you. I truly believe my X amount of followers would like to learn more about Brand. If you are open to working on a sponsored post together, I would be happy to discuss my posting rates and my creative ideas for this campaign.

Thank you and I look forward to possibly working with you, Donna

Short, simple and to the point. Sometimes the company has room in their marketing budget, and sometimes they don’t. If they say they don’t want to work on a sponsored post, then you can still see if the original offer for a gifted or ambassadorship stands. If they say they aren’t doing paid campaigns right now, then there’s hope! Ask them when would be a better time to check in with them on a paid campaign. I have even landed a few campaigns like this.

And if they say yes right away to paying your posting rate, well then you’re in! Sometimes the “yes” can take a little conversation and negotiation though. For example, my most recent campaign request that went from commission based to a paid campaign took a little convincing.

working with brands takes negotiation and conversation
Also suggest working with people in your life to help pitch authenticity in your negotiation.

If this happens to you, then you will need to be prepared to negotiate and give strong reasoning why working with you is a great idea. Using facts and analytics will also help you seal the deal. Plus offering a price sheet is a great way to start the negotiation.

In short, I was able to turn a commission-only campaign request in to a paid campaign! Not only did I make $400 to make 2 Tik Toks and a blog, but they also allowed me to still make commission on the deal! And that commission resulted in an additional $300.

Final Thoughts on How to Turn a Commission Campaign into a Paid Campaign

Looking back on when I first started getting these emails, I think of just how many opportunities I missed. I used to just not respond to the emails, or say that I am not interested in working with them. But by doing so, I left so much money on the table.

There are definitely options when it comes to receiving these kind of emails. Learning how to respond to non-paid campaign requests could open the door to more opportunities!

Read more influencer tips and advice on Donna Gail Blog.

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Pinterest Creator Rewards information

Pinterest Creator Rewards Insider Information

Looking for Pinterest Creator Rewards information? You will want to be on a part of the program after reading this, trust me! After having used Pinterest Creator Rewards these last few months, I have the best insider information for you. Read this blog carefully if you want to kickstart your content and ensure that you don’t make the same mistakes that I did.

1. Read the fine print!

You know that really long Terms and Conditions thing that exists? Yea, read that. This gives you all of the posting requirements not stated outright on the individual goals. Each Pinterest Creator Rewards goal has requirements and rules for content to be eligible. Well, Pinterest is smart and they want you to post without giving you the money. So they have put some extra rules in these terms. Read it to find out. Or continue reading this blog to find out what they are!

2. Pinterest operates on the UTC time zone.

The reason I mention this is because Pinterest will show you when your content published. If you happen to be in the PST timezone like I am and if you post at night, then your Pin could show as being posted a “day later”. For example, I posted at 9pm on April 23rd, but to Pinterest, I actually posted on the 24th. This could even be an issue if you post “too late” on the last day of these monthly rewards. If you post on April 30th at 9pm in PST, your content could very easily not be counted for April content.

3. For the goals or bonuses that have a time requirement (ex. post at least 7 days apart), take this VERY seriously.

Pinterest Creator Rewards information of reward requirements

When they say “7 days a part”, they mean 7 days a part! Sometimes they will word this as “once a week”. You need to ensure that you give these pins a full 7 days. For example, if you post on a Friday at 9am, then you need to make sure that your next post goes live the next Friday at earliest 9:01am. Give it the full 7 days. There is an unseen ticking countdown clock that Pinterest has to ensure that you respect this rule.

4. Goals update 4 days after being published.

Pinterest Creator Rewards information about your reward goal progress.

Pinterest updated their system to actually tell you when your progress changed statuses. Use the picture as an example of what this notification looks like. The norm is that every time you post, you can expect that an update and estimated earnings will appear for approved content 4 days after you post.

5. Pinterest does not tell you when things are not approved. They only tell you when they are approved.

If after those 4 days there is no update on your feed, then the Pin is not approved. You also will not receive a reason as to why things are not approved. Be sure to watch your notification feed closely for these updates. If for some reason your content is not approved, then you need to have extra content planned to post to make the most of the month’s rewards.

6. Passion Projects require you to put “My Pinterest Project” in the details of the Pin.

Pinterest Creator Rewards micro-grant passion project information

You remember those fine print rules that I talked about? This is one of them! This one is strictly for the Passion Projects. The reward goals will label themselves has passion projects in the reward details (see picture). This requirement is not specifically listed in the individual rules for submitting a Pin to this type of campaign, but it is still a requirement. It says to put “My Pinterest project” in the details of your Idea Pin. I have no idea what qualifies as the “details” – is that on-screen text on the Idea Pin? Is it the title of the Idea Pin? Is it leaving it in the Notes of the Idea Pin? I really don’t know, so I put it in all three spots to really make sure that I am maximizing my time making this content.

Pinterest Creator Rewards information

7. Using affiliated links will make your Pin ineligible to receive the reward amount.

Pinterest will not reward users if they are getting paid in any way for their content. That being said, if a brand pays you for an Idea Pin and you label it an ad, it won’t be counted for Creator Rewards. Also using affiliate links like LTK or ShopStyle will also count as sponsored. Keep it un-affiliated for max rewards! But by all means, if you have a strong following of affiliate link shoppers, maybe putting links in your post will make you more money!

What You Can Earn with this Pinterest Creator Reward Information

Keeping these things in mind, I have been able to make $1,400 in February, $2,100 in March, and gearing up for $4,500 in April with Pinterest Creator Rewards! Considering that I have 17,600 followers on Instagram and only make about $100 per month with their creator bonuses, this is one hell of a pay raise. Needless to say, Pinterest is where the money is at if you are a creator. Using these best practices for Pinterest Creator Rewards, you are doing the most for yourself to make that money! And don’t forget to follow me on Pinterest for examples of how I am making my Creator Rewards content!

Want to learn more? Check out www.donnagailblog.com for more influencer tips!

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