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The Truth About Instagram Pods – Do They Really Work To Increase Your Engagement?

You’ve probably heard the term “Instagram Pod” or “Instagram Engagement Group” floating around the business/insta world lately (and if not, you’re in the right place!) As Instagram continually changes their algorithms and more and more users are experiencing a drop in engagement, the forward thinkers are looking for ways to fight back.

With that in mind, Instagram Pods were born and starting gaining traction, and for good reason – they’re essentially a free and easy way to increase your engagement on Instagram (if done right!) But are they really right for you, and your account? Keep reading to find out!

Has your Instagram engagement decreased lately? If so you might want to join an Instagram Pod! This blog post by Alex Tooby explains exactly what an Instagram Pod is, if they actually work and how to make the most of the ones you're in! Great read

What exactly is an Instagram Pod or Engagement Group?

In the simplest form: an Instagram Pod is a group of people who are committed to liking and commenting on each other’s Instagram posts in attempts to improve everyone’s overall engagement.

The easiest and most common place for these Pods to be formed is on Instagram. A maximum of 15 people can be put into a group DM (direct message) where each member can easily share their photos and receive likes and comments from the other pod members.

instagram pods

Of course, with any basic method, someone always attempts to scale it to something much larger.. Because Instagram limits 15 people to a DM, some Instagrammers have moved to an external app called Telegram to create much larger Instagram Pods (I’ve seen some with upwards of 3000+ members!) While having a larger Pod can mean more engagement on your photos it also is much more common to see “leechers” or people who simply show up, share their image but don’t give engagement back so be careful if you’re considering using one of these mega groups!

Now that the basics are out of the way, let’s get to the meat of this blog post… Are Instagram Pods really worth your time?

Do Instagram Pods really help to increase my engagement?

Yes and No. Here’s what I’ve found throughout my experience with pods:

  1. Being in just one Instagram Pod is not enough – Pods can work really great but if you’re only getting 5 extra likes from your group members the impact on your overall engagement will be minimal. I recommend (if you have the time and resources) to join multiple pods to increase the benefit on your account.
  2. You’ll get the most out of your Instagram Pod if you join one that has members who share a similar target audience. For example, if you’re a jewelry designer and are trying to reach young women, you’ll want to group up with other crafters who have a similar audience. This way, when you engage with each other, Instagram takes that into their algorithm and will often show your content to the followers of your pod members (via the explore page or suggest users feature). This means with the right Pod you can actually be exposed to your target audience more regularly.
  3. You’ll see the biggest engagement boost if your Pod members are from the same time zone or are prepared to engage with your content as soon as it’s shared. The first 30 minutes after your post has gone live are extremely important in determining the success of your post. If you get an extra boost of engagement from your pod right away this will tell Instagram your post is significant and they’ll rank it higher in the algorithm and will increase your chances of making it to the Top Posts section of your chosen hashtags (win, win, win!)
  4. If you find the time and effort you’re putting into your Pod isn’t paying off, ditch it and commit the time previously spent on the pod on engaging with your target market (liking, commenting, following, etc). This direct interaction with your target market often pays off much better than what you can get from an Instagram Pod. This is why in #1 I recommend joining more pods if possible – it’s the only way to truly see a boost.

Is it safe to participate in an Instagram Pod?

With all the talk of new algorithims and Instagram Shadowbans (not sure what that is? click here to find out!) everyone is on edge about what behaviour is acceptable on Instagram. This is a fair concern but something to not get too worked up about – fear mongering never got anyone anywhere.

Here’s how I see it: the repetitive liking and commenting of the same 10 people could trigger a red flag on Instagram so that’s why it’s important to be involved in more than one pod (and engaging with a variety of people). You also want to make sure you’re implementing a liking and commenting strategy outside of your pod (even if just for a few minutes a day) because this shows Instagram you’re a real person who has favorites (your pod members) but also interacts with others on a regular basis.

instagram pods

There has also been rumor that Instagram is keeping an eye on people “over-using” the ‘send to DM’ feature (the paper airplane icon underneath your image) but remember that that’s what this feature was MADE for. Some pods will encourage members to simply state that they’ve shared a new photo rather than linking to it, but in my experience this has had no effect on engagement – in fact, it often decreases because not everyone in the group notices you shared something new if you don’t link to the image! So, while Instagram could be taking note of repetitive messages being sent to the same group, I don’t think at this time it’s something to worry about, especially if you’re implementing the other tips I mentioned above.

As stated earlier, some people are moving off of Instagram and onto an app called Telegram to host their Pods and avoid any trouble with Instagram. So far this seems to be an OK practice and is “safe” to use, but like I said, don’t join a group with 1,000+ members or you’ll spend the rest of your life liking/commenting without getting much in return (leechers are very real).

Ok I think I would like to join an Instagram Pod.. But how do I find one?

I’m glad you asked! Due to the popularity of Instagram Pods, I went ahead and created a Facebook Group specifically for you to find the EXACT pod you’ve been looking for! Simply click here (or the image below) to join!

pods-fbheader_2017

Once inside you can request to be added to any of the pods already in progress or you can create your own.

My recommendations for a successful Instagram Pod

If you really want to get the best results from your Pod you have to be strategic about it. You can’t just throw together 15 random people and hope for the best. Take control of your situation and follow the steps below to build a strong, thriving Instagram Pod that actively improves your engagement on Instagram:

  1. Select members that are proven to be active (check their accounts and make sure they’re posting regularly)
  2. Select members that have an audience similar to yours (see #2 above for why)
  3. Select members that are in the same or similar time zone as you (this helps with getting engagement quickly)
  4. Add all of your members to a group DM on Instagram (to do this open Instagram, click the house icon, click the plane icon in the top right, click the plus icon in the top right and type out all of the members names)
  5. Send a welcome message that includes the guidelines for the group (must like & comment on every photo, 1 share per day, etc)
  6. Monitor the activity (make sure you’re checking to see if everyone who is sharing a post is also giving proper engagement. If they aren’t, address the problem or ask them to leave)
  7. Revaluate the group’s effectiveness regularly (as time passes members will become inactive or leave the group, replace them with new fresh members as often as possible)
  8. Have fun! Enjoy getting to know your new support system 🙂

Remember: every Instagram Pod is different and will have different rules and guidelines for proper participation.
My pods are limited to sharing one post per day and you must like AND comment on each photo. Some pods you can share as many times per day as you want. Some are like only, comment only, save only, etc. Make sure whatever pod you join, you read and fully understand the group rules. If anyone doesn’t participate properly it can really damper the experience for the other members involved. So don’t get greedy, don’t join pods just to spam your image and hope for extra likes. Join Instagram pods to meet other, like-minded individuals and help them reach their goals. This is the only way we can all truly benefit 🙂

So, there you have it. The truth about Instagram Pods – they can work if done correctly. They can also be a major waste of time. Try it out and see what works for YOU. Once you find what is working, keep at it and you will surely see a positive impact in your experience on Instagram!

If you’re looking for more detailed strategies to improve your Instagram, enroll in my FREE COURSE, or check out my Paid Programs.

Want to learn how to attract more followers, increase your engagement and make more sales? 

Sign up for my FREE Instagram Authority E-Course!

 


Are you part of an Instagram Pod? What has your experience been?

Let me know in the comments!


 

Leave a Reply

51 Comments on "Instagram Pods"

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Dan
Guest

Thanks Alex! Never heard of pods before (outside of our local whale pods) 😉

I’ll be sure to check them out and see if I can find the perfect one for me.

Michelle
Guest

Great information. I’ve heard differing opinions on Instagram pods.

Victoria
Guest

These are great points. I’m apart of a few pods. I’ve had to drop out of a few. We’ve found that we have to use emojis because IG was catching on to pods. Some pods have moved to telegram like you said. I love this one pod I’m in. I feel like it’s a group of girls I can turn to for anything other than IG too. It’s a nice community

Amanda Faber
Guest

Instagram has gotten so complicated these days. This post was so helpful as I’ve been struggling lately I knowing if my pod’s are even helping me at all!

Life of Stones
Guest

Thanks for this info! I have heard about these recently but wasn’t exactly clear on the details or if it was worth the time!

kate
Guest

super helpful. Im only in one pod I like but need to find more. Its actually helped me make friends and learn a lot besides grow my engagement

Chevelle
Guest

This is so helpful! I have been wondering if they were worth it. I hear that they can be a lot of work. Thanks for sharing!

D\'Ana Joi
Guest

This was so useful to me that I started a new pod while reading it! Thank you so much for this helpful post.

Irene Wanderlust
Guest

This is a great post, I am always thinking if it will be good to be in a Pod. I have to start one and check some of them to increase the engagement in one of the accounts I have. Thanks a lot for all the advice!

Daneisha
Guest

This is quite interesting! I’ve heard of pods before and wondered what they were. This post provided was very thorough in explaining what they are. I’m intrigued

Sarah
Guest

Thanks Alex! I’ve heard of pods before but was never sure how it worked. This was a great breakdown and how to tips. I will start looking for some pods to join!

Ravens wood
Guest

THis is really great information, thank you 🙂

Brittany
Guest

So glad you wrote this. I joined one the other day not really sure what it was all about. Now I feel so informed. Thank you!

Ashlee
Guest

Great info!! I’m in a handful of pods right now and while they haven’t helped a ton with my engagement, it’s been great meeting and getting to know some like-minded businesses gals!

bella filippi
Guest

Interesting, never heard about this before.

Susanna
Guest

I used to be in a lot of pods, but then the members changed and I found myself a part of “mommy” pods. As a 30-something, child-disliker there’s only so many “cute baby” comments I could leave, so I left them all.. As I’m starting to get back into Instagram, I’m not sure if I should participate in pods again; they seem like so much effort without much of a return?

Pati
Guest

This is really useful information so thanks for sharing.

Morgan
Guest

I’m glad to know that of the few pods I’ve joined, I’m doing it right! Thanks!

Ashley
Guest

This was a great read! I am in several groups and wondered how effective is this strategy. Am I wasting my time? Thanks for teaching me more about pods and helping me gain clarity as to my next steps.

Joy
Guest

I’m still trying to get my arms around Instagram. Had heard about pods but wasn’t entirely clear what they were. Thanks!

Heather Sears
Guest

Interesting, I’ve never heard of the pods til now.

Monica
Guest

Very helpful article. I’m in 3 Instagram pods and they’ve increased my likes a little bit but not drastically. I’ll try your tips to see if that helps. Thank you!

Margaret Stuart
Guest

I think instagram pods can be hit or miss. I am a part of two different ones right now and one of them has really engaged people who post really good comments and really want to help you and your profile. And the other isn’t really as active or engaged. I have also been a part of a couple other ones that have fizzled out. But overall I think they are definitely helpful if you really want to increase engagement.

TheHappyFoodKItchen
Guest

I am in one really supportive pod though have the only foodie page in there so now I think I need to find the same vibe but with more foodie contributes.

Kathy
Guest

I didn’t even know about Instagram Pods! Thank you for sharing all this information!!

Kennan
Guest

I keep seeing everyone talking about pods, but haven’t really understood it. Thanks for the info! Great breakdown.

Gabriella
Guest

Thanks for this insightful post! I was not aware of Instagram Pods before, but I can see they could be an efficient and productive tool. I just started a separate Instagram for my blog, so I’m kind of embarrassed asking to partner with people.

Yolanda
Guest

I never knew anything about an instagram pod and now I want to be in some. Thanks for the info

Charlene
Guest

Thank you for the information. I am in a few pods, but to be honest, I have to donate a day to read the requirements and do what I’m am told. It is a lot of work.

Livia
Guest

Those are great things to know, I’ve been doubted the efficiency of pods for some time and personally, I think there are much better ways to get real engagement than joining pods.

Sarah Secord
Guest

Great tips, I am still learning how to use instagram to promote content

Angel
Guest

Definitely noticed a difference in my engagement when I was a newbie on Instagram. But I definitely agree that one pod is not enough. But they can turn into a very time consuming process.

Sandra
Guest

Love this, super helpful, thank you!

Greivy
Guest

I JUST found out about these pods this week!!! thanks for the detailed information 🙂

Heather Zapponi
Guest

So much great information, simplified. I am part of Pinterest Group boards, and Facebook groups, but didn’t really know about Instagram pods, this is great. Thanks for sharing!

Jaime
Guest

I am still new to the world of Instagram, so I found this post very helpful. Thanks!

Mirley
Guest

Thanks for this. I really didn’t know what Instagram Pods were. I still don’t really get Telelgram…

Joanne
Guest

I joined a number of pods and end up leaving in all them. I even joined a facebook page pod same results it’s time consuming, they are unfair and not worth it, engagement does not come easy you have to work at it just like everything else. Thanks for sharing this.

Sara Flanagan
Guest

Thanks so much for the help Alex! I just joined a pod recently – it’s good to have a better idea of what I’m getting myself into. Appreciate the help!

Adilene
Guest

Wow!! That was sooo much good information I just soaked in! I’m glad you explained what a pod was because I had no idea!! I think I’d want to join one.

Anisa
Guest

I’ve wondered if pods do help engagement . Some I’ve heard work but then people in the pods start taking it too seriously but I’ll
Look into it !

Tiffany
Guest

I recently heard of Instagram Pods and was curious how they work and what they are exactly. This post was very informative. Thank you!

paige
Guest

Very informative read.

Camilla || Jane Wond
Guest

I tried my best with pods but ended up getting shadow banned! Pods are a no for me. I have spoken to the blogger friends who I would be in a pod with if I had one and we have turned on notifications for each other and have committed to liking and commenting on each others posts when we see fit 🙂

♡ Cammy • Jane Wonder – Fashion and Beauty Blog •

sanking
Guest

awesome and the super splendid ,
new year eve day

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