If you are trying to grow your audience organically on Instagram you may have hear about Instagram comment pods or Insta pods. We will look at what they are, the pros and cons of using them and how to join an Instagram pod.
What are Instagram Pods and what are their benefits?
Instagram pods (named after dolphin pods, groups of dolphins swimming together), are groups of usually 10-20 Instagrammers who follow each other and agree to always engage (like or comment) with each other’s Instagram posts as soon as they are posted.
To understand the reasoning behind this concept you need to understand the basics of the Instagram algorithm. In March 2016 Instagram changed the way messages are ordered in its news feed. Messages used to be shown in reverse-chronological order but are now shown according to an algorithm created by Instagram. This algorithm is not completely known to the public but we have some idea of how it works. It is based on 4 factors: timeliness (similar to the previous reverse-chronological order), relationship (accounts you like and comment on most often will show first in your feed), profile search and private shares (accounts you have previously searched or shared) and , most important to understand the concept of pods, engagement. This means that posts that have high , particularly - early, engagement will be boosted to the top of feeds (and explore pages) of others. This is why having a group of people who like your post as soon as if is posted will improve its visibility, engagement and will make it appear higher in others’ newsfeeds.
You will benefit most from being part of a pod if the other members have a similar target audience to yours so that their followers might be interested in your content and vice versa.
Usually members of Insta pods communicate with each other via Instagram direct messaging, Facebook groups or via a Whattsapp group. When one of them posts on Instagram they send the other members a message prompting them to like or comment on the post.
The risks of Instagram pods
Joining an Insta pod can be quite overwhelming at the beginning because it means you need to be constantly connected on your Instagram account. If you are part of a larger pod with people posting several times a day, it can be very time consuming. If this is too much for you, maybe look at joining a smaller group with more flexible rules, for example if you are busy it is ok to engage at the end of the day rather than within an hour of posting.
Another risk would be to be part of a pod which doesn’t have the right audience for you, meaning your new followers won’t be relevant to you and won’t have any potential of becoming clients or contacts.
Some pods are not as genuine as others and the comments you will receive may look spammy and won’t be relevant. This can be dangerous as it could lead Instagram to shadow ban you, meaning that Instagram hides your posts from any users who don’t follow you.
Pods are being used as a way to hack the new Instagram algorithm so it is possible that Instagram could find a way to ban them or the platform might find a way to control them. But, done ethically, Insta pods are just a way for Instagrammer to help each other grow their followers and businesses.
How to join a pod
If you think Instagram pods might be a grown strategy worth trying there are two ways to go about it. Either you could create your own pod with a group of businesses or people who you think share a similar target audience. Or you could join an existing pod. There is a number of Facebook groups that specialise in Instagram Pods such as Instagram Marketing Masterminds Pods or Instagram Marketing Pod. Some of these groups are quite large and constitute just one pod, so might not be as effective, so look around. Another way to join a pod could be to ask around you if anyone you know is part of a pod and see if they can add you to their pod.
Pods can be very time consuming and are not for everyone, but if you find one that is of reasonable size and suited to you and your target audience, it could be beneficial.
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