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Recent changes to Instagram’s Algorithm have left a lot of users scrambling to get their content discovered. Some users swear that great hashtags are the key to success, while others are turning to Instagram pods to get their content seen.
The Instagram pros know there’s power in numbers. For that reason, they’ve been creating and joining engagement pods as a way to join forces and fight the algorithm together.
What Is An Instagram Pod?
Instagram pods are groups of Instagrammers, sometimes within a similar market or niche, who collaborate to boost each others’ posts and engagement. This works on a “like for like” and “comment for comment” basis, meaning you must give to receive.
Engagement pods work something like this:
- One member of the pod will publish a new Instagram post
- That post is shared with all the members of the pod via a group message
- Everyone in the group is expected to either like the post or leave a genuine comment, thereby encouraging regular, non-pod users to also engage with the post.
What do you get from an Engagement pod?
Most people who join engagement pods are looking to kickstart or enhance the engagement on their Instagram accounts. Keeping users actively engaged with your account is a constant battle for most Instagram users.
Understanding why engagement is so important is crucial to the success of your account. Instagram doesn’t care about your content if people aren’t engaging with it. Without a high engagement rate for your posts, it’s nearly impossible to be discovered.
People who join engagement pods are trying to achieve the following benefits:
- Increase engagement (likes and comments) on their posts
- Get their post to the Top Post section for the hashtags they use
- Get into the explore page of Instagram
Types of Engagement Pods
Public – Public pods are published on the web and are accessible by anyone. These groups are huge, but at the same time, they have many leechers and spammers (people who only receive likes and do not give them).
Private – These pods are not published on the web and are usually slightly higher quality. Because the members of these groups tend to know one another (or know of them), the quality of pod members is generally better. However, private pods are sometimes much smaller in size.
How Engagement pods communicate
Engagement pods communicate over a variety of different channels, including the following:
- Instagram DM groups
- Telegram Message groups
- Slack groups
- Discord groups
Now, let’s talk about how to use an engagement pod.
How to use an engagement pod (step-by-step)
Before going through our steps, make sure you read the rules of the pod. If you are unsure about the rules, make sure you ask someone before doing anything!
Here are the steps for receiving likes:
- Publish your post or video on Instagram
- Go into the pod communication channel (DM group, slack group, etc.) and inform the channel you have a post
- Give the pod your post link and any other information the pod needs
- You should receive the likes within the next 1-2 hours (if the members of the pod are in the same timezone as you)
Here are the steps for giving likes:
- You’ll receive a message from the pod communication channel with a post link
- Click through to the post
- Engage with the post by either liking or commenting within 1-2 hrs of receiving the notification
Here’s what it looks like when you’re notification to engage with a post:
A quick note:
You can submit any post of yours to an engagement pod, regardless of how old it is.
But keep in mind, the newer the post the better. Likes that you receive within 24 hours of publishing a post are considered most valuable to Instagram.
(Likes on older posts will do far less for your account growth).
How to pick an engagement pod
There are many different types of engagement pods. To begin your process of choosing one, consider your goals, your brand, and the amount of time you’re willing to commit.
Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Some engagement pods require their members to have a certain amount of followers to join.
- Consider your target market. Are you looking for engagement from users in your market only? If so, I would recommend searching for niche-specific engagement pods. Keep in mind, these pods can sometimes be more exclusive, and therefore harder to join.
- If you are simply looking for increased engagement on a non-specific, general basis, a “broad” engagement pod is a better bet, as they are typically easier to join.
- Read the rules of the pod and ensure you have the time and ability to follow each and every one.
Challenges, caveats, and what to look out for
Be careful of pods that have a lot of leechers. It’s a waste of resources to commit time to engage with other members’ posts if they aren’t doing the same for you.
- How to spot them: the number of likes per post is always less than the number of members in the pod
Keep in mind that Instagram does not particularly like it when users try to “beat the system.”
- What to do: avoid spammy-looking activity at all costs to ensure no red flags are raised on your account.
You won’t be able to tell whether your posts’ likes and comments are organic or from pod members.
- Caveat: for this reason, measuring the success of your involvement with an engagement pod will be inherently difficult.
Engagement pods are not a long-term solution:
- Caveat: Instagram pods are great for boosting engagement on the posts you sent to the group, but it may not help in the long run. Nothing will ever beat organic engagement and traffic to your Instagram.
- What to do: In order for your account to continue to grow even after leaving an Instagram pod, you must focus on creating amazing content that earns likes and comments on its own. At the same time, focusing on growing your fan base is crucial. Jump start your following with our Free Trial or create a long-term growth with one of our monthly plans.
If joining a large, broad pod, keep in mind that there may be some members who seem fake or spammy.
- How to spot them: these users will either have poor engagement, have suspicious names or post the same thing over and over. I recommend NOT engaging with these users.
Some users believe that Instagram has the ability to identify pod behavior and discount any engagement that comes from pods.
- What to do: switching up which pods you are a member of will help reduce the risk of Instagram identifying your involvement in them.
How to find a pod
Finding pods to join is easier than you might think. A simple search on Google, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Reddit or any other online community platform will do the trick.
Here at Riotly Social Media, we take a lot of pride in ensuring our readers have the most accurate information possible.
So, our team joined and engaged in several engagement pods so that we could answer all of your questions based on real experience.
A: It depends on the pod, but we’ve found 1-2 hours is average.
A: Not really. We’ve found that this does not have much of an impact.
A: Originally, this did not seem to matter. However, as we’ve been seeing a drop in organic engagement the past couple weeks, we are reevaluating this. Stay tuned for updates on this question.
A: No. we tried several “comment boost groups” and found that the comments left on our posts were so generic, they appeared fake. Not worth it.
The right engagement pods can be effective if utilized correctly. But be warned, there are a lot of massive, public engagement pod groups with bad admins.
If you want to use Instagram pods to grow your account, it’s critical to ensure you avoid these massively dilute, spammy groups.
Remember, we’re here to help. If you are feeling overwhelmed by engagement pods, Riotly Social’s Free Trial is a great way to jump-start your Instagram growth organically, one-on-one with one of our social media agents.