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Apr 1, 2019

The best growth hacking secret I learned in 2018 as my journey into growth hacking thickened is so simple to implement and works on every social media platform is so simple that you can start using it today. Learning about it came with an eye-opening insight into the underbelly of the internet.

I wanted to share it with you SourceCon readers, along with a guide on how to use this tactic as I think it is essential for every sourcer and recruiter to understand. This tactic is guaranteed to drive organic and natural looking growth on any social media platform if used correctly.

We are fighting a war for attention not a war for talent.

This tactic helps you win!

Disclaimer; Using these tactics may result in you being in breach of user agreements and you may be blocked on the platform you are found using it on.

The HACK itself is crazy simple, one that any recruiter, sourcer or computer literate domestic animal should be able to deploy. If you have been around a while, you may have seen it before. It can be applied to any social media platform and will help you create long term growth and buy-in from your hiring managers and colleagues. So what exactly is it?

A simple technique referred to in the Growth Hacker community as engagement pods.

What are Engagement Pods?

Engagement pods are groups of people who join forces to increase the organic engagement of their online content. Usually, these groups are targeting a similar audience and trade likes for likes, comments for comments and insights on post-performance so that they can develop more engaging content.

Engagement pods are rife on every part of the internet, from Reddit to LinkedIn, people are clubbing together in pods to try and battle the news feed algorithms to get their content in front of their target audience.

Interestingly, they are not that new.

Naturally formed bubbles of like-minded individuals or organized clans built to drive growth have existed on the internet since its inception.

Top influencers use this tactic, even in our HR and Sourcing world.

The thing is, using it as a tactic has been such a successful secret that most Growth Hackers, online marketers of members of such groups have let it fly under the radar. No one wanted to share how they worked.

Engagement pods proved to be one of the best tactics for growth hacking for a long time.

2018 Changed The Game For Pods

In 2018 Botnets (that use engagement hacks for political gain) were showcased to the world in the press. Some use this tactic to attack society like some Sci-Fi esque trip. This made me realize that this is how engagement at scale works.

In 2018, we saw more people than ever using social media and growth hacking techniques to influence people online.

Please don’t do that. I love the internet; it’s helped me learn, meet people and discuss with them the subjects that interest me.

SourceCon and the sourcing community helped me learn about open-source intelligence (OSINT), network analysis, scraping, etc. Finding people had become easy. The next step for me was to learn how people engage with audiences at scale!

Finding my tribe has been key to my personal and professional growth.

I was surprised to find people asking me for likes and comments. In its purest form, that is all an engagement pod. You are asking your friends and colleagues for a like and a share. More mainstream than you may imagine.

Engagement pods are just doing this at scale and produce excellent results, especially for marketers, salespeople, and recruiters. Getting a message to your target audience will always result in some feedback!

Don’t worry, the hack will work forever, but it will always rely on execution.

The guide below should help you figure out how to use it in the best manner to get the attention you want.

Building Successful Engagement Pods

Existing pods are not super noticeable on the web, but smart sourcers will be able to find them. Some people even pay to join these groups, most often or not though you are recruited into them. Don’t forget the best way for this to work is to keep it a secret!

Public comment for comment groups is never a great idea.

The best are organically grown groups on the web. Anyone looking to target specific niches should start to understand how communities operate and how best to fish within those ponds of people.

Building such a group of people is easy with some recruiting skills and some rules.

1 – Define your target audience

If you are going to use this for hiring, you may want to start with one or two roles as opposed to trying to start with all your jobs. Targeting a Niche on the web is always more successful than going big! Think what is the one thing you are hiring for regularly and

I.e., if you are an agile shop in Paris the community you want to focus on are those people interested in agile in Paris.

Remember that an audience comes back.

Create content that is not just about hiring but helps people get better at what they do. Make interesting content!

Best way to do this is for the recruiter or sourcer to step back and focus on talking about the work or teams they are working with.

Niche targeting on the web is always more successful results than broad targeting.

2 – Set up some Rules

  1. Define where you pod lives.
  2. How often can/should people can share a post in it?
  3. How you react and what you do.
  4. How people join

More advanced engagement pods are about testing different types of content and new features at scale. They often have requirements to join and weekly/monthly challenges and leaderboards.

3 – Recruit some members

This is what you are good at right? Finding people and engaging with people when you have some interesting content.

Now that you have some interesting content

Find some people motivated to target the same audience as you. Salespeople, marketers, bloggers, and people building a personal brand are easier to find on the internet.

Invite them to the pod.

4 – Share some excellent content

Congratulations you just built your first pod!

Now, wait for the new candidates to start pouring in.

The reality though is it doesn’t happen instantly.

Success comes from gentle persistence

Going from hundreds to thousands of views makes you only want to get more 😉

Practical use case

Here is an example of how you could build one in just one email and hiring campaign!

Please Note – This technique acts both as a short term engagement trick to find people for a specific role and also a long term recruitment campaign for your engagement pods. As I mentioned above, it’s better used in the long term.

Let’s say I am hiring for a Python Developer for my startup in London.

I write a nice advert, and make a cool post on Linkedin and Twitter.

Then I send this email to the team and to everyone who I reach out to, and they reply not interested.

Notice the PS at the bottom?

Everyone who replies is good to start talking to about an engagement pod!

Once you have a bit of your engagement on your LinkedIn post or Tweet, approach some influencers and people with large networks in your niche with a similar message.

Send them your post.

Flatter them a little “Hi X; I see you have a huge following in X sphere.”

Ask if they can help you out by sharing your post.

Start automatically doing this with fantastic content, and you will very quickly start to build an incredible audience.

The key here is not to always be sharing jobs.

Think about it.

What stories can you tell as a sourcer that will be of far more interest to your target audience than your jobs?

I think a 5:1 ration of interesting content to job ads is a good rule to work with.

This is why if you want this to be successful. You need to find more people who are sharing content that is interesting to your target audience.


Engagement pods are organized groups on the internet that the game algorithm feeds to get attention from a target audience.

It is an easy and free way you and your team can grow your online brand.

Remember this is a secret and if you want to know more about this sort of stuff join the Growth Hacking Recruiters on Facebook.

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