January 25, 2017

Oh, when people come up with a *great* idea and then force it upon others with no real understanding of the process.... which is exactly what Instagram pods are!

You may have heard of this term. You may have wondered if these Instagram pods are useful. You may be in an Instagram pod (or a few). You may think they're annoying. Or you may love the pod(s) you participate in.

Whatever the case, you need to understand what these things are really about and how they (don't) actually work. Which is why I'm here 😉

So let's get started...

What is an Instagram pod?

An Instagram pod is a group of like minded people on Instagram who connect via a group DM or Facebook group and they proceed to like and comment on EVERY. SINGLE. POST that the others in the pod share to Instagram. The proposed result is increased post engagement, genuine comments, and, as a result, better rankings in the Instagram algorithm.

Sounds good right? Who doesn't want more engagement and better rankings in the algorithm?!

Well, the big problem with this isn't the engagement so much. It's the fact that the Instagram algorithm doesn't work that way.

This whole pod thing evolved from a Facebook tactic... where it does work to boost engagement and "trick" the Facebook algorithm. But the Instagram algorithm doesn't work the same way!

Let me explain...

On Instagram, the algorithm is determined by the individual user's interactions. Meaning, if I personally always interact with certain accounts, their content will always show up at the top of my Instagram feed. Even if content is super popular on an account, but I rarely engage with it, it won't show up any higher in my personal feed.

Are you seeing how this defeats the purpose of the Instagram pods?

You see, if you're in a pod and you are getting notified to always like and comment on the other pod members content, then their content is always going to show up in the top of your feed anyways - because you're always engaging with it! Who needs notifications and group announcements? It's already at the top!!

But besides that, no matter how much you and your pod members engage with each other, it has NO impact on where that content shows up in the rest of your followers feeds.

So, basically, you're driving yourself crazy trying to keep up with all of these other pod members' posts, liking, commenting, checking notifications.... all for not much difference. And to be honest, I just ain't got time for that #h!t in my life!

But, okay, to play the other side of the argument, yes, you will get more engagement on your content, and you'll get "valuable" comments. They won't be generic "this is great" or "love it" comments (pods typically require you to leave genuine comments of more than 4 words... another Instagram "hack" they promote). So, yes, others will see that engagement and may be more inclined to comment too. And, sure, you may make some new friends and connections via the pods and grow your network.

These, of course, are benefits that I'm not discrediting. And if you have the time to participate in a pod to reap these rewards, then please do! But just don't confuse the process with a way to "beat" the Instagram algorithm... because you're not.

And, that my friends, is everything you really need to know about Instagram pods. You may now return to your regularly scheduled Instagram activities 😉

Did you find this helpful? Please share:
  1. I most definitely do NOT have time for that! haha I have never been a fan of these types of groups on any social platform. While I am all about engaging and being “social”, my goal has always been to only “like” and “share” things that are in line with my brand and that will help or entertain my connections. Anything else is counterproductive. Thanks for sharing your thoughts Jenn!

    1. lol, Kim! I hear you 😉 And I’m so glad you take that approach with your strategy. Pods are not going to necessarily aid in that direction. I’m glad you enjoyed the post and it reinforced what you already know.

  2. The main point of pods is to give your post an initial boost so they have a better chance of making the top posts on a hashtag explore page, which does get it in front of people who otherwise don’t follow you or see your content. It’s not really to game the algorithm in the same sense of Facebook.

    1. Thanks Jon. That is a component of pods that I hadn’t considered and I can see how that may help boost some content in certain hashtag searches. But, in all honesty, to get that kind of boost, you would need a lot of likes and engagement. A single 10-15 person pod isn’t going to drive that much of a significant traffic boost to push content to the Explore page. Instead, a creative hashtag strategy combining 20-25 hashtags with popular hashtags, moderately popular hashtags, and niche-specific hashtags (all related to the post content) will be much more influential in getting to the Explore page and top post rankings in the hashtag galleries.

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