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How to Avoid Social Media “Pods” and Still Build an Audience

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October 12, 2020 6 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

In the last several years, social media “pods” have become a popular strategy to get more attention and engagement through a social media channel’s algorithms. Although many pods involve people who already know each other, it’s also possible to create a niche or topic pod, find followers and then ask them to participate actively. 

It sounds like a good idea to convince others in your circle to “upvote” one another’s posts and comments on sites like Instagram,  and . In some pods, people are genuinely interested in helping boost each other’s social media engagement rates. However, that’s not always the case. 

Related: How the Crisis is Changing , and How Entrepreneurs Can Act on It

Reasons to avoid social media pods

Although engagement pods aren’t the same as “buying” followers and likes, the process still essentially means you are creating fake likes and artificially enhanced engagement rates. The intent behind Instagram pods, for example, is to climb up the engagement ranks by manipulating Instagram’s algorithm and follower counts, as opposed to organically targeting audience members that can convert into customers. 

Directly asking pod members to go onto your profile and page and like new posts doesn’t generate a genuine picture of what others think about your brand. Others will catch on, too, once they notice the same accounts like and comment on every post. Instagram or whichever social media channel you’re using might well suspend or even ban you for this spammy behavior.

Moreover, simply focusing on the same “Instagram engagement pod” means you’re not consistently putting effort into cultivating new followers by extending your content beyond your social circle. In the process, you end up limiting reach and genuine engagement instead of doing everything possible to grow it. 

Related: 5 Essential Ways to Help You and Your Thrive During Lockdown

Natural growth strategies

To avoid the “pod group” approach, try the following strategies to grow your business authentically.

Create content that prompts a response

No matter what form your social media content takes, most often you want to provoke a response from your . Simply seeking “likes” and “shares” doesn’t encourage them to respond. It’s like the intrusive marketing of old, where companies and marketers just told their audiences what to think and do. 

The best way to get that kind of increased engagement is to start asking questions with your content. Think of questions as conversation starters that encourage your followers to share their thoughts. And those questions don’t need to be complex or deep. You can simply ask your followers how they are doing and what they think about a certain topic. 

After all, social media is popular as a platform because so many people feel like they have a “voice” there. By asking your audience users questions, you tell them you want to hear that voice. 

Besides posting a direct question, you can use other tactics to prompt more responses. For example, you can create a survey or poll and ask your followers to respond. Polls only take a few minutes to create on sites like Facebook and .

Related: Why You Should Speed Up Your Digital Transformation During the Crisis

Deliver more content followers actually want

Long content posts might not provoke the engagement rate you want. You might find a few brave followers with a lot of time on their hands who will willingly stay the course and scroll for minutes to read your extensive social media content. However, most social media users simply don’t have that kind of time.

If you want to increase your engagement rates on any social media channel, give your audience new content it actually wants, such as live and recorded video content as well as images, GIFs and short stories. 

Boost engagement and excitement with giveaways and prizes.

People like to compete and play games that offer the chance to win something tangible. That’s why gamification continues to drive engagement on social media. Your followers might even share these posts to get their social circle to play along as well and create some friendly competition. That, in turn, enables your brand to benefit from some viral engagement. Additionally, winners often post pictures of their prize, which may lead their social circle to become interested in your brand’s next giveaway. 

Offer a unique prize, such an autographed product, an experience like a trip or exclusive access to an influencer your audience admires. When you offer a few prizes, it might encourage more to play since the odds are more in their favor. Sweeten the giveaway with prizes from two favorite brands, if you can find another suitable company willing to partner with you. This also provides cross-post opportunities and expands your reach in a significant way. 

Related: The Counterintuitive Way Social Media Can Reduce Stress

Offer something extra

Not every company has the following to partner with a big brand or give away merchandise. If that’s true for you, explore other opportunities to build your social media audience with smaller offers. 

Your audience still sees the value in discounts, coupons and exclusive offers that they can receive in exchange for following your page or profile. Creating these regular offers also gives you a good reason to reach out to them regularly. 

Also, you can build on the human behavior known as “fear of missing out” (FOMO). Potential customers might be more likely to check out your profile when they sign in to find any new digital coupons or deals. They don’t want to miss those flash sales you announce periodically that can provide them with incredible savings. 

As long as you plan for regular incentives, you can almost ensure a higher engagement rate with this tactic. 

Under construction

To build an audience of true fans and drive social media engagement, think of it as a work in progress. Start with a social media strategy blueprint that details the engagement areas you want to focus on first. Look at your current engagement carefully so you know what you are working with. Then start building the long-term and short-term strategies like those listed here that are proven to increase social media engagement.

Related: 4 Ways to Determine If Now Is the Right Time to Launch Your Business

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Mexico will buy 34.4 million vaccines Pfizer

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The vaccines of this pharmaceutical company were photographed by the British press coming off the production line.

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October 19, 2020 2 min read

This article was translated from our Spanish edition using AI technologies. Errors may exist due to this process.

  • If it meets the requirements, the pharmaceutical company would have 200 million doses by 2020.

Pfizer’s vaccines were photographed by the British press coming off the production line and Mexico could acquire between 15.5 and 34.4 million of them, since the American pharmaceutical company is among those that signed a contract with the country’s government.

The vaccines that were portrayed still have to meet a number of conditions before they can be distributed. In the first instance, they must pass clinical trials and then be approved by regulators internationally.

If it meets the requirements, the pharmaceutical company would have 200 million doses by 2020 and of these 40 million would be for the United Kingdom. Likewise, by 2021 they would produce an estimated 1.3 billion.

On October 16, the proposed purchase sale with Pfizer, AstraZeneca and CanSino in Mexico was announced. The country’s government committed to the purchase of approximately 140 million doses.

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U.S. Imposes Sanctions on Qaeda Financier Who Trades in Gems

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WASHINGTON — The Trump administration on Monday imposed sanctions on an Australian-based businessman and his gemstone company for helping Al Qaeda move money across the globe to sustain its operations.

Treasury officials said Ahmed Luqman Talib traded in precious stones, allowing him to “move funds internationally” for Al Qaeda. Mr. Talib’s business is based in Melbourne, but he works around the world, including in Brazil, Colombia, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Turkey and the Persian Gulf region, the Treasury Department said in a statement.

Terrorist groups continue to use financial facilitators to help carry out their activities, Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin said in a statement. The department remained committed to disrupting those financial activities and networks, he added, expressing appreciation for “the collaboration with our Australian partners.”

The effects of the sanctions on Mr. Talib are unclear. The measure freezes assets he holds in the United States and prohibits American companies or individuals from doing business with him.

Treasury officials did not disclose whether Mr. Talib held assets or property in the United States. In 2010, he was a student activist in Australia who was shot when Israeli naval commandos killed nine activists on a ship that was carrying aid to Gaza.

The American action against Mr. Talib was notable, experts said, because it showed that the government was still concerned about how extremist groups like Al Qaeda and the Islamic State continue to creatively raise and distribute money for their operations, despite military, intelligence and legal pressures that have dealt significant blows to their activity.

“It goes to show that Al Qaeda still retains these kind of networks,” said Charles Lister, the director of the Countering Terrorism and Extremism Program at the Middle East Institute, a think tank. “Even though the U.S. has done a very good job in pressuring the networks to such an extent that they are kind of a miniature version of 10 or 15 years ago.”

Mr. Talib’s use of gemstones to move finances for Al Qaeda was a departure from what had become a norm in terrorist financing, experts said, which was to stray from transnational funding toward developing income streams in countries where they maintained a presence. But terrorism experts noted the development with interest.

“Governments and private sector have made it harder to move funds via formal and informal financial systems,” said Matthew Levitt, the director of counterterrorism and intelligence at The Washington Institute. “It is interesting to see terrorists relying on gemstones, which are easy to move and hold value.”

Since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, Al Qaeda’s influence across the world has diminished. Key leaders, including Osama bin Laden, have been killed. The group’s lone ideological leader, Ayman al-Zawahri, is aging, and U.S. intelligence experts do not see him as a potent threat.

Despite that, the group continues to find inventive ways to finance its operations.

In August, the United States government seized about $2 million in Bitcoin and other types of cryptocurrency from accounts that had sent or received funds in alleged financing schemes for three foreign terrorist organizations, including Al Qaeda.

Other groups, like the Islamic State, have also found ways to rely on methods such as kidnapping for ransom, private donations and crowdsourced online fund-raising, according to a United Nations report. ISIS currently has financial reserves estimated at nearly $100 million, the U.N. found.

“ISIS taught us in recent years that international financing of terrorist activities isn’t the most sustainable way to go,” Mr. Lister said. “That was a big lesson, and it definitely transformed the way Al Qaeda operates.”

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After denying the existence of COVID-19, influencer dies from this disease

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“I also thought there was no COVID, and this is all relative. Until I got sick,” he posted on his Instagram account.

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October 19, 2020 3 min read

This article was translated from our Spanish edition using AI technologies. Errors may exist due to this process.

  • El hombre contrajo la enfermedad en un viaje que realizó a Turquía.
  • “También pensé que no había COVID, y todo esto es relativo. Hasta que me enfermé”, publicó en su cuenta de Instagram.

Definitivamente el coronavirus, ha sido un tema controvertido entre diferentes personalidades públicas en el mundo. Algunos de ellos hasta han negado su existencia. Sin embargo, es importante recordar que el COVID-19 es una enfermedad real y hay que cuidarnos.

Dmitriy Stuzhuk, influencer fitness, ucraniano, murió tras haberse infectado de SARS-CoV-2 . El deportista había negado la existencia del virus cuando lo declararon pandemia. Sin embargo, publicó en sus redes que había contraído la enfermedad.

“Como todos saben por las historias, estoy enfermo de coronavirus. Hoy, después de regresar a casa, por primera vez hubo entusiasmo por al menos escribir algo. Quiero compartir cómo me enfermé y advertir a todos: también pensé que no había covid, y todo esto es relativo. Hasta que me enfermé. ¡LA ENFERMEDAD COVID-19 NO ES EFÍMERA! Y es pesada ”, dice en un publicación en Instagram de hace cinco días.

CORONAVIRUS “COVID” DAY 8 ⠀ As you all know from the stories, I have corlnavirus. Today, after returning home, for the first time there was an enthusiasm for at least writing something. I want to share how I got sick and strongly warn everyone: I also thought that there was no covid, and this is all relative. Until he got sick. COVID-19 DISEASE IS NOT EPHEME! And heavy. But first things first. ⠀ How was it? I felt bad on the second day in Turkey. I woke up in the middle of the night because my neck was swollen and it was hard to breathe. At the same time, my stomach ached a little. ⠀ The next day, a cough began to appear, but there was no temperature. There were no particular symptoms of the disease either, so I thought that these could be consequences after playing sports, changing the climate and nutrition, and plus sleeping under air conditioning. ⠀ After returning from Turkey, I immediately went to take various tests, do an ultrasound scan and, just in case, decided to take a COVID test. It turned out to be positive. The next day I went to have a CT scan. I was prescribed treatment and began to insist on hospitalization. This is a separate story, because now there are renovations, the hospital is completely filled with people, some of them live in the corridor There is no food, no paper, no cutlery either! Nobody warned me about this. A separate post will be devoted to medicine in our country – well, it deserves it. ⠀ ABOUT TREATMENT. I was prescribed a course of treatment and told that I needed to continue it. They gave me an oxygen apparatus for breathing, since I have a low oxygen level (although I think it is considered critical after 90, for me 94-96 it is quite permissible for treatment at home, the doctor in the waiting room told me the same thing). Considering all these factors, I make a decision that it will be more convenient and comfortable for me to be in remote care at home, where I have all the conditions for normal treatment. In the end, I can always turn to the right services. She is at home, as they say, and the walls heal ⠀ My condition is stable.

Una publicación compartida de Dima Stuzhuk (@stuzhuk_dmitriy) el 14 Oct, 2020 a las 11:22 PDT

El hombre contrajo la enfermedad en un viaje que realizó a Turquía. En la misma publicación cuenta su historia y cómo empezó a sentirse: “me desperté en medio de la noche porque mi cuello estaba hinchado y me costaba respirar. Al mismo tiempo, me dolía un poco el estómago. Al día siguiente, empezó a aparecer tos, pero no había temperatura. Tampoco había síntomas particulares de la enfermedad, por lo que pensé que podrían ser consecuencias después de hacer deporte, cambiar el clima y la nutrición, y además dormir debajo de un aire acondicionado ”.

Luego de regresar decidió ir al medico y realizarse pruebas, dentro de ellas la de COVID-19, y resultó positivo. Tras pasar ocho días en el hospital, el influencer regresó a su casa para seguir con el tratamiento.

Sin embargo, su exesposa, también influencer, Sofia Stuzhuk dio a conocer la noticia a través de su Instagram donde publicó una foto de su familia diciendo “Dima ya no está con nosotros. Su corazón no pudo soportar ”.

La pareja tenía tres hijos juntos, y aunque se habían separado llevaban una buena relación. Sofia comentó que su ex pareja tenía problemas cardiovasculares y el 16 de octubre confirmó la triste noticia.

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