Ever since Instagram made its huge change to the algorithm, removing the chronological feed feature, Instagrammers have found it more difficult than ever to gain engagement on their posts.
You see, instead of their followers viewing their latest posts in chronological order, posts from days ago (sometimes even weeks) are displaying in an order of what Instagram says is “more likely to appeal to them & their interests”.
And whilst the idea behind the algorithm change sounds intelligent, many micro-bloggers and Instagram influencers are outraged with the drop they’ve seen in engagement on their content.
No longer are they receiving immediate engagement post-publishing. No longer are they landing on the explore page as easy as they used to be. And no longer are they finding it simple to reach their target audience by just creating killer content.
So, what’s the solution?
How can we rise above the algorithm & land ourselves on the explore page without hours of engagement pre-post?
Well, you could spend 30 minutes pre-post liking, commenting & following as many people as possible. You could share your post to 100 different Facebook groups and hope that you’ll get some engagement. Or maybe you could do some type of voodoo magic to your post & force users to engage with it telepathically.
But if you’re anything like me and think that all of this sounds waaaaaay too complicated [especially the voodoo magic], then I have the perfect solution for you.
Drum roll please… *bbrbrdbbbrbrbbdbbbrbbbdbd*
What are Instagram pods?
If you’ve never heard of Instagram pods before, then you might be wondering if it is as delicious as it sounds. Yes, I am currently thinking about Mars Bar Pods.. Mmmm.
The OG “Comment Pods” started with the Instagram Posse, who I’ve mentioned before in this post where they controversially praise the follow/unfollow method. Since then, Instagrammers all over the globe have adapted their own version of the idea & formed their own Instagram pods for users in similar niches.
Okay, but what actually are Instagram pods?
An Instagram pod is basically just a private group chat consisting of usually about 10-15 people. Each person in the group has a similar audience or interest as the rest & is usually in the same niche.
The general idea behind Instagram pods is that everyone in the group is there to help others gain engagement & receive the same in return. Like a “you scratch my back & I’ll scratch yours” kinda thing.
Basically, each time someone posts on Insta, they share the post to their Instagram pod & everyone within that group likes & comments on the post, therefore helping them to raise their engagement.
Depending on what kind of group you join, sometimes there are rules involved.
For example, some groups may ask that all users within the group have to return engagement within 24 hours. Some groups may ask that you have push notifications on & engage immediately, therefore giving users a higher chance of landing on the explore page. It really depends on the group itself.
Why should you join Instagram pods?
Well, not only will your engagement rise, but you’ll probably make some new friends. Think about it, everyone else is in there for the same reason & you all share similar interests. You’re bound to make a new IG buddy!
Unlike “boosting” your posts on Instagram, joining Instagram pods costly nothing.
There are no campaigns to work out or budgets to set. All you need to do is play fair & engage with your pod members as much as they engage with you. Simple!
Plus, not only are you & your Instagram going to benefit from joining a pod, but you’re actually helping others out. And there’s nothing more satisfying than helping a fellow blogger, IGer or business owner, right?!
Go you, helping others. Well done!
How can you get started with Instagram pods?
Luckily for IGer’s, many Facebook groups nowadays are actually designed to help with engagement. Woohoo!
A simple search on Facebook will find you a tonne of groups you can join, again at no cost.
For example, I actually run my own Facebook group for beauty bloggers [only] & within the group itself, have our own set of Instagram pods. After all, most beauty bloggers now days are just as active on Instagram as they are on their blogs!
You’ll also often find posts on Instagram itself where existing pods are looking for new members – yet another way to land yourself in Instagram pods.
Otherwise, if you’re struggling to find a pod to join, ask other IGer’s you consistently engage with if they are in any they could recommend, or why not start your own?!
A few important notes before you start joining Instagram pods:
► Only join Instagram pods within the same niche – you want to be attracting the right audience on your posts.
► Never post “Love this!”,a series of emoji’s or dull comments on your fellow pod member’s posts – a minimum of 4 words is required for Instagram to view your comment as valid.
► Always be sincere with your comments – read their caption, reply to their call to action & make the comment meaningful.
► If you’re hoping to work with brands & PR, keep in mind that they may ask you if you are actively engaged in Instagram pods. Reason being – they want to know if your engagement is completely “authentic”.
And last, but certainly not least.
► Don’t join a comment pod & expect others to do everything for you, with nothing in return. Be active within the group & you’ll reep the rewards.
► Oh & don’t join 100 different pods or you’ll end up looking like a desperado fishing for comments. Remember, Instagram pods are designed to help boost your engagement, not be your only engagement.
Are you active in Instagram pods? Looking for new members? Leave a comment below & connect with fellow IGer’s!