So Instagram started to do this annoying little thing where it has taken away chronological posts, and created an algorithm that shows you Instagram posts according to who you interact with. Don’t freak out, you don’t have to buy Instagram likes (just yet). That’s all thanks to something called Instagram pods. Instagram pods are a way that users can help increase their engagement amongst other users, and hopefully, “hack the algorithm.”
What exactly is this “algorithm”?
Well, if you haven’t noticed, Instagram stops showing your feed in chronological order, and instead pushes the users you engage with the most to the top of your feed. This can be unfortunate and scary for some because it does not always show you every post on your feed. Not only can you miss a post, but even scarier, your own followers might miss your new posts. This can drive down engagement, likes, comments, etc., and also gets in the way of other users finding you. But as I mentioned before, Instagram users have already found a way to combat it through Instagram Pods.
Explaining Instagram Pods
Now before getting started, I am sure you are wondering, “What is an Instagram pod anyway?” Well, Instagram pods are a neat way that users have found to increase engagement with one another. Pods are usually made up of a group of 10-15 Instagram users that share a similar audience or style. Pods engage and collaborate with each other by creating a private group through Instagram DM.
Every time someone in the Instagram pod posts a new photo, they will share it through their DM group with the other users. Then the other pod members will click on the post, like it on the user’s page, and leave meaningful comments (usually more than 4 words). This helps increase engagement of other users and hopefully gets you on the Explore feed more often. Users that are new to Instagram pods should start off small and focused on things that interest them. All pods have their own rules when it comes to commenting and liking pictures.
Engagement and Instagram Pods
Most users that are a part of an Instagram pod claim that it does indeed increase their engagement with other users. However, they do suggest that each member follows the rules accordingly and interact and engage with each other in a meaningful manner. Also by collaborating with other users who share the same interests, we can also spark creativity and inspiration amongst other users in the pod. This not only drives other user’s engagement in your photos, but also your own drive to engage your followers with your content.
I know from personal experience, I am always more interested in putting out good content when I am actively engaging with my followers. Having a lot of likes is always nice, as well, but when people posts comments I feel way better! Who wouldn’t want to pass along that positivity within a pod? Moreover, comments also help improve Instagram impressions, which can be tracked for brand and business users.
Some people view Instagram pods as a way to build a community, and not just a way to build up their Instagram following. By joining a pod, it can help you build a network that you may not have had in the first place. This is great encouragement for people that are considering it as a means to make new friends, and not just a way to gain more likes.
The Problem with Instagram Pods
Now although Instagram pods are great, I would not consider myself thorough or a real friend if I did not let you know about some user’s complaints about joining a pod. Keep in mind that Instagram pods do require a lot of interaction and to keep up with social media, so if you are one to take short breaks away from your social media, I would not join.
This brings me to the first issue that some users had with Instagram pods: the required commenting. I know, I know – seems counterintuitive, right? Most people join pods so that they can interact and gain meaningful comments, but having to comment on 10 posts a day with more than five words can get really tiresome and boring. This is why it is best to join pods with people that share the same interests as you do and that feature content you actually enjoy. Even so, having to comment on several posts a day every single day and to keep up with users you follow that are outside of your pod can get really difficult. I would suggest keeping pods to a minimum and to keep them focused, as well! Maybe also relax on commenting minimum rules, too?
Another problem that some users had with Instagram pods was that they did not like how it would impact their feed. I mean that sometimes by engaging too heavily within the pod, Instagram started to only show those 10-14 users in your pod more often. This can increase engagement, but some users did not like how repetitive it made their feed seem.
Lastly, some Instagram pods can seem forced and purely to gain more Instagram followers. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but some people compared it to a way to buy Instagram likes. Now, like I said above, if you are in it for the collaboration and understand the commitment it takes to be a part of a pod, I would say go for it! Just be mindful of these issues that you may come across.
Get Started with Your Own Pod
Now that you are all caught up on how to effectively run a pod, why not give it a shot? You can even start by simply just getting your close friends involved or as a class project. Whatever you do, just do not overwhelm yourself by getting involved with too much too soon! You want to still be able to enjoy your Instagram feed and use it to your benefit. Hope these tips help you get started and get engaged!