Introducing the Instagram pod.
Does it sometimes feel like your posts simply aren’t getting seen as much as they used to? That could be down to Instagram’s change in algorithm. The new algorithm promises users they’ll see the “posts they care about most” (i.e. from the accounts they generally engage with the most) higher up in their feed – much like on Facebook.
The result of this for marketers is that our posts get less engagement as they’re getting less impressions than when the order was simply chronological. This is because our posts are appearing further down the feed, where lots of people would have already stopped scrolling…! In fact, according to Urszula Makowska from Independent Fashion Bloggers, the change in the algorithm on Instagram resulted in a big drop in her engagement.
Have you, like so many of us, felt the effects of the Instagram algorithm on your engagement rate? Fear not! Word on the street is, there’s a new and exciting way to get engagement on your Instagram posts without having to resort to paying for bots.
Join an Instagram pod and beat the algorithm!
What is an Instagram pod?
Instagram pods are secret groups of users helping each other out in their quest for engagement, with one goal in mind: beat the Instagram algorithm!
Pods work with group chats via DM (direct message) on Instagram. Podmates send each other a DM whenever they share a new Instagram post. Every member of the pod then heads straight over to the post and gives it a like and a genuine, thought out comment. The idea behind this being that the more engagement a post gets within the first minutes, the higher up on users’ feeds it’ll appear.
Why should I join an Instagram pod?
Joining a pod could just be the best thing you ever did for your engagement rate on Instagram. Take advantage of the fact that everyone is searching for better engagement, and get in on the action yourself! Here are the main reasons why you should seek out and join a pod:
1. Support Network
Being a part of the small community of helpers that is an Instagram pod can give you the confidence and inspiration you need to have continued success on the platform. With your trusted podmates behind you, you can achieve anything!
2. Beat the algorithm
Preventing your posts from being affected by the Instagram algorithm is the number one priority when joining a pod. Posts with high engagement show up high on users’ Instagram feeds, so it’s all about creating that initial engagement in order to encourage more and more reach, views and likes! OK, so it’s not strictly organic, because you have an agreement with your podmates, but it’s genuine engagement as opposed to fake or paid engagement.
3. Boost your engagement and grow your following
In the long run, getting more reach, views and engagement on your posts will boost your visibility on the platform and ultimately help you grow. Contrary to what most people think, engagement = followers, not the other way around! You need to have a great connection with your existing community before it will organically grow. Nurture that connection and you’ll go far.
How can I join an Instagram pod?
Let’s face it, it’s unlikely you’ll stumble across an Instagram pod right after reading this article. You may see announcements for Instagram pods on Reddit threads or Facebook groups, and these can be a great way of getting started. However, we wouldn’t recommend getting involved in a pod with accounts too dissimilar to your own (engagement, followers, goals), as it’s always good to start off on a level playing field to ensure fair play. You also want to make sure you’re going to be engaging with posts which are relevant to your own account so that you aren’t being forced to like and comment content which you feel no connection to.
If you don’t fancy joining an existing pod, you can create your own and select your podmates yourself. Everything starts with identifying accounts that you feel are similar to yours in terms of size and industry (although you obviously don’t want to approach your competitors!). For this, you can use a couple of methods aside from simply messaging any accounts you’re already familiar with:
Think about the kinds of accounts you’d like to team up with to beat the algorithm and search for them using the Instagram search bar. You may have to look through a few accounts before you find any of interest to you, but you should be able to build a shortlist using this method.
If you want to be more precise about your selection, you can also use the Influencer Search tool on Iconosquare. This tool allows you to search for accounts based on keywords, size of community, number of posts and more. Simply select your preferred location, type in the keyword you’re searching for along with the specific criteria of your choice, and a list of Instagram users will appear.
The location is an important factor as it means you’ll know which timezone your potential podmates are in. In order to beat the algorithm, you need to get likes and comments on your post within the first few minutes after sharing. So if you’re in New York, you don’t want podmates in Australia, because they won’t see the message asking for engagement for hours.
You’ll also be able to check out these accounts’ engagement rate, which will give you an idea of how well they’re faring on Instagram and therefore whether they’d potentially be interested in joining a pod with you.
Once you’ve made a list of accounts you’d like to team up with, you can simply contact them via DM with your pod creation proposal. When people start to reply, add them to a new DM thread and type a quick message with the rules of the pod. These don’t need to be extensive – all you need is a quick agreement stating that every time a podmate messages the pod to say they’ve shared a new post, the other members must give a like and a genuine comment or be kicked out. Simple!
Don’t take the pod lightly…
Make sure you take your own rules seriously, too! Being a member of an Instagram pod will take time out of your day (the more podmates you have the more engagement time you will require) so make sure you’re up to the task before committing. The pod agreement works both ways, so you’ll only get engagement if you give it – no freebies here!