Currently it seems that Instagram pods are all the rage. People seem to think that they are the holy grail of gaming the Instagram Algorithm. I’m going to outline the pros and cons of Instagram pods. But first things first - what is an Instagram pod?
What is an Instagram Pod?
An Instagram pod is where a group of users agree to comment and like each other’s posts. Usually the accounts in the pod have a few things in common such as the same time zone and industry. Each pod will have different rules but common examples of rules are that you must respond to the post within the first hour and that comments must be more than 4 words long.
Pods are usually organised in Instagram and are limited to around 15 people due to the platforms limitations on group private messaging. However, some are organised outside of Instagram using apps such as what’s app. These pods can have as many as 200 people in them.
Why people use an Instagram Pod?
In Instagram both the amount of engagement on a post and the time frame that the engagement happens affects how Instagram rates your post. By being in a pod you can artificially inflate the ranking of your post so that it is shown to more people, ends in the top 9 posts under hashtags and is more likely to be found in the explore tab.
Why not to use an Instagram Pod?
Time commitment- The amount of time that you end up dedicating to commenting and liking other people’s posts adds up. These people are often not your ideal customer, and are very unlikely to ever become customers. From a business perspective, it doesn’t really make sense to invest that much time building relationships with people who aren’t interested in your products or services.
You look fake- A lot of feedback I hear from people who end up leaving pods is that it’s not genuine. People in pods would struggle to find things to comment on. Basically, they felt that it made their account look fake.
Your engagement level doesn’t grow- Unless you’re willing to commit to pods forever, when you leave your engagement rates will go down. Why? Because you’re not actually building a community, you’re artificially inflating it. Over and over again this seems to be what people say when they leave a pod. That despite spending months in pods their actual online community doesn’t grow. Why? Because all your time and effort is going into supporting the pod, not connecting with people that are interested in you or your products.
People know- If you’re looking to become an influencer or collaborate with other brands, anyone who works in the industry will be able to tell you’re in a pod. Believe me, it’s easy to pick up on. We can see the same dozen people commenting on your posts, and most of your comments aren’t really engaging. Anyone experienced in working with influencers can pick this out a mile away. So if the majority of your engagement is coming from pods, they won’t be keen to work with you.
It does seem very tempting to use Instagram pods, but in the long run all you get out of the pod are the temporary increased vanity metrics. And believe me, likes don’t pay the bills, but genuine followers do. If you dedicate the same time and energy into connecting with your potential customers online you will grow a following at the same rate, and they will be genuine followers who are interested in you beyond how you boost their own stats online.
Are you in a pod? We'd love to hear your thoughts on this- Comment below!
You might be interested in reading our blog post How I Beat the Instagram Shadowban.