What are Instagram Pods?
Being a social-media professional, with a soft spot for all things Instagram, it is very rare that I stumble across an Insta-trend that I’ve never heard of. With the Instagram algorithm constantly changing, users have become more crafty when it comes to boosting their engagement and content exposure. This has given rise to Instagram Pods, a new user generated Instagram tactic designed help you get maximum exposure and growth. But is it worth it?
What is an Instagram Pod?
In a nutshell, an Instagram Pod is a group chat over Direct Message where 10-20 people with similar content and audiences will group together in an attempt to help each other get maximum likes and comments. Since the change to the Instagram newsfeed algorithm, which removed the chronological order of posts many Instagrammers have noticed a significant drop in engagement. The Instagram Pod is an attempt to combat poor engagement by encouraging each user in the Pod to engage with each other’s posts as soon as they are live.
How Does It Work?
The method is quite simple. Once you've found your Pod, every time one of the users in the pod posts something new, they instantly notify their Pod Squad via the DM chat. The Pod Squad is then obligated to like and comment on the person’s post, in a bid to make that post rank higher and increase the likelihood of it being seen on more newsfeeds or as trending post. The amount of likes and engagement your post gets shortly after it is posted, highly impacts how long your post stays at the top of the feed, regulating how many likes it could potentially get. With your Pod Squad liking and commenting almost immediately after you’ve posted, your chances of success are supposedly signifcantly higher.
How Do You Join a Pod?
These pods tend to be somewhat exclusive which makes me more than a little suspicious about their usefulness. Finding a pod isn’t as hard as one may think however. You can search Facebook for "instagram pods" and take your pick from what feels most relevant to you. The popular Women's Business group Like Minded Bitches Drinking Wine have attempted to create pods in the past, however the process was very messy involving hundreds of users where despite showing initial interest, not everyone participated. This created a lot of hostility in the group which made the whole experience really unpleasant. The biggest reason it didn't work at that time, was because the groups were not created with similar interests, they were pulled together at random , and it makes no sense for you to follow or engage with businesses that don't resonate with your business. For example vegan foodie and a steak restaurant.
If you can't find a pod you like, you could also try making your own pod with people you regularly interact with, and give each-other a little love on the gram.
Should you do it?
Personally I don’t think they are really worth it. If the group is too big, or has little or no similar interests or demographics to your business, it really is not worth the time it takes to get a like. Also chasing people up to make sure they like your posts is just awkward. Having said that, if you were to create your own pod with people you regularly interact with, I could see the benefit in helping each other out. It just comes down to ethics, and doing what you promised.
The bigger question to address here is what do likes mean to you? Would you rather get a handful of likes from people that actually want to learn or interact with your business, or a bunch of meaningless likes from people that are obligated to do so. There are much better ways to improve your engagement and reach the right people that will stick around for the right reasons.