Last updated on December 11th, 2017 at 04:27 pm
You may have heard of them, you may have not. But you’ll learn all the information you need to know about the secret world of Instagram pods in this post. Instagram recently changed their algorithm to reorder how posts are viewed in your feed. Instead of seeing posts in chronological order, by the dates they were posted, now you get to see them based on the ones “you care about the most”. And who gets to decide which posts you care about the most? Why, Instagram, of course. This posed a problem to a lot of people who immediately saw a sharp decrease in their engagement. One answer to the new algorithm – pods.
What Are Instagram Pods?
Also known as Instagram engagement groups, an Instagram pod is a group of people who agree to engage with each other’s content through likes, comments or both in order to boost their posts up in users’ feeds. This, according to how the new algorithm works, will extend their reach and show their posts to followers who wouldn’t have seen their posts otherwise. Members of the pod all follow each other and are notified via the group chat when a member has a new post up. The other members then all flock to the new post to engage with it. Most pods are formed and operated on Instagram through group chats in the direct messages. But there are those who feel that they may be penalized by Instagram if “caught” gaming the algorithm and prefer to use external messaging apps such as Whatsapp and Telegram to host their pods. Additionally, Instagram DM groups have a limit of 15 participants so if one is looking to create a larger pod, they are forced to operate it from another platform. Someone can choose to be a member of one, two, or more pods. There are no rules except to engage with the other members’ posts when they are notified a new one is up.
Related: What is Whatsapp?
Do Instagram Pods Really Help Engagement?
The whole point of Instagram pods is to increase the engagement on your posts to make them visible to more of your followers but, to work effectively, it needs to be done right. The more likes and comments your posts receive shortly after posting gives the initial signal to Instagram that your post is something of interest and one “that other users will care about”. As a result, your post will be pushed higher on their feeds with the potential to hit the Explore Page and go viral.
However, a pod should be active constantly and members must be willing to participate immediately when notified. This is where most pods fail. You can easily and quickly leave a link to your post, but how fast will your pod members respond with a like and comment? Usually, not right away. Sometimes after a day. Most likely after a couple of days, rendering the whole concept useless (except for the added engagement on your posts). But with an average of 15-20 members, some of these pods move quickly. You’ll have a few power users who post multiple times a day and you’ll need to keep up. If you have a mix of members from around the world, expect new content to be posted around the clock. It could get overwhelming quickly for those who aren’t truly invested in growing Instagram.
We caught up with Niki, founder of Nikoza.com, to give us the scoop on her experience with using Instagram pods.
Q. Niki, do you think that Instagram pods are really helping your engagement?
I believe that IG pods are tricky! If you rely only on pods for engagement, chances are you’ll end up humiliating yourself because you’ll have the same people commenting on all your photos, over and over again. It will make it obvious you’re using pods and look kinda ridiculous. Also, if you are in multiple pods and you have 70 likes and 45 comments, it’s again obvious that something is fake. BUT, if you are using them properly and moderately, you can “trick” Instagram’s algorithm and make your pics more visible! This will bring in engagement from people outside of your pods. So basically yes. Pods, if properly used, are a good IG strategy that will get you results.
Q. Is the time you’re investing worth it? Is it difficult for you to keep up with new members’ posts?
I am a part of just a couple of pods and it doesn’t take much time. I invest like 10 minutes every night before going to bed. It is part of my routine! No biggie – you gotta do what you gotta do.
Niki has amassed over 13,000 followers on Instagram. With beautiful pictures from around the world, consistent posts, and a solid Instagram strategy, we’re not surprised. You can follow her here: @nikoza_travel.
How To Join An Instagram Pod
People looking to form a pod usually try and recruit members who are in the same niche. For example, if someone has a travel-themed account, they will look for other members whose accounts are also travel themed – which could mean anyone from a travel blogger to a travel agent. Since pod creators need your username or some other contact information to add you to the group, most pods are invite-only. If your account fits their genre, and you prove to be an active and participating member, consider yourself accepted.
There are a few ways to find Instagram pods to join. The most well-known is through Facebook groups. If you’re in a business or blogging group on Facebook, a quick search will retrieve any posts where someone is looking for members to join an Instagram pod. Alternatively, you can create your own post in a facebook group (if group rules allow) requesting to form an Instagram pod with accounts in a certain niche. You’ll be sure to get plenty of responses.
If you’ve ever used Quora, you’ll find that it’s a great resource for any questions you may have. Simply typing how to join an Instagram pod will fetch you multiple answers, even requests from people looking for members for their pod.
Instagram pods usually contain people that others already know and trust, so another way to join a pod is to reach out to friends, other Instagrammers, or people within your industry who you network with regularly, online or offline. If they aren’t in a pod, they may know someone who is and refer you to them.
if you’re interested in joining an Instagram pod to boost your engagement, let us know in the comments or send us a message through one of our social media channels. We’ll lead you in the right direction.