In June 2016, Instagram rolled out its infamous new algorithm, which now displays posts according to popularity over the previous chronological order. Instagram influencers were some of the most vocal opponents of this change, complaining that now the process for how to get Instagram followers organically is much harder than in the past.
But since complaining is rarely capable of creating change on its own, Instagram’s influencers came up with a sneaky way for how to get Instagram followers, and bring engagement back up: Instagram engagement pods.
In this post, we’ll teach you everything you need to know about Instagram Pods: What Is an Instagram Pod, How to Join an Instagram Pod, Instagram Pod Rules, and much more.
So keep reading!
What is an Instagram Engagement Pod?
According to photographer Natalie Franke, the name “engagement pod” got its inspiration from the word pod, which is often associated with “a family of dolphins who live together in harmony and support one another.”
Yeah….ok Natalie. 👍
If you’re not an influencer, you may not have even realized that Instagram engagement pods even exist. Instagram engagement pods, also known as “engagement pods” (or “Insta pods”) are essentially a mechanism for Instagram influencers to help each other boost engagement with implications for how to get Instagram followers.
The structure of an engagement pod includes a private group or group message (usually on Telegram – a messaging app you also may not have heard of), composed of 50-500 Instagram users who operate within a similar follower count or niche.
Instagram users make use of this thread to inform each other of their new Instagram posts, and pod members support each other by liking or commenting each post that gets sent to the group. When it works, it’s an impressive collaborative effort that makes each group member’s account better for participating.
Instagram engagement pods help a post get a fair amount of engagement immediately after posting, which is necessary to be a contender for being featured on the Instagram “Explore” page for a relevant hashtag used within the post. A post that gets picked up on the “Explore” page tends to give it enough exposure to achieve some level of virility, helping an influencer with how to get Instagram followers.
Even if a post doesn’t “go viral” on the explore page, more likes and comments means more of your own followers will see it.
Having engagement from other niche influencers can prime other Instagram users to engage with it, too. It’s the bandwagon effect in action, or social proof if you will. For more on why this works, read Dr. Rob Cialdini’s book, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion.
Do Instagram Comment Pods Work?
At least according to Instagram influencers, yes. Instagram engagement pods can definitely help with those struggling with how to get Instagram followers.
Instagram user Amanda Rose, who works in digital marketing, has been quoted stating that before being part of an Instagram comment pod, she used to only get 30-40 likes per post (or 60 on a good day), and 1 or 2 spam comments.
After being part of an Instagram engagement pod, she was able to get an average of 120 likes and 40 comments per post, which is 3-4x more likes than she used to get, and almost 30-60x more comments!
The Various Types of Instagram Engagement Pods
According to Franke, there are essentially 3 types of comment pods:
- A group chat on Telegram
- An Instagram DM Group
- “Turn on Notifications” for the influencers in your comment pod
1) Telegram group chat pods
The first type of Instagram engagement pod is the most common and takes place over a group message on Telegram. In today’s era of automation, most Telegram groups run on an automated schedule roughly every hour 24/7. Basically every hour there is a “round” a mass group of Instagram profiles for you to like or comment exchange with. Most groups have an automated bot that manages the group and lets users know when to “Drop their Instagram Handles” this is your queue to through your @username in the chat. The bot will then compile a list to send out to the chat group.
Once the list is compiled it is your task to go to each profile and like or comment on the designated posts (typically the most recent 1 to 3 posts). It’s important to note that you will have roughly 45 minutes to complete a round. If you do not complete the round, you run the risk of being removed from the engagement pod. For optimal results, post your content on Instagram roughly 5 minutes prior to around you want to take part in. *Popular rounds are 9 am, 12 pm, 4 pm PST.
2) Instagram DM Groups
The second kind of Instagram engagement pod is Instagram Group DM, these follow a slightly different structure (detailed below).
These Instagram DM Groups tend to be a bit smaller due to Instagram’s limit for users in a group DM. The DM groups can be a bit confusing sometimes because typically people will send links to specific posts in which they want to receive likes & comments. If you are not remaining active for all posts, you may be removed from the group since its limited in space. It can also be difficult to keep track of which posts were already engaged with. But these can also be beneficial if you want to keep your engagement niche specific.
3) Post Notification Pods
A final version of Instagram engagement pods has members of the group “Turn on Post Notifications” for each participating member. This way, when someone posts, they don’t have to rely on messaging and instead get notified immediately to show the post some love.
Oftentimes, this method is used in conjunction with a private group message to remind people to take action eventually, even if they can’t immediately when they get a new post notification.
How to Join Instagram Engagement Pods
There are a few ways to join an Instagram engagement pod. Some of the niche and follower specific groups require invitations from people in the group. But luckily there is another way to get access to best Instagram Engagement Pods on Telegram.
We have compiled a list of groups that include the Requirements to join and a link which will give you access! You can access that document scrolling to the bonus material below.
Another way, which is much more tedious than using our guide, is to spend a day on Instagram sending DM’s to similar pages. Some of the best ways to find accounts apart of engagement pods is to check their recent 6 posts. If you notice repeat pages of similar status liking and comment consistently on the page, there is a high likelihood they are apart of a pod. Send them a DM expressing your interest and start to like/comment on the pages you believe are apart of the pod.
Here’s a pro tip regarding using a simple Google Search for Engagement Pods… Most groups are secret and either require an invitation or exclusive links which are not typically given out willingly. The secrecy of these groups is held tight, but luckily we put together a Cheat Sheet for you to help ease the pain 🙂
Facebook is actually not a bad place to find engagement pods, they tend to be private groups though. Just request an invite and maybe send the admins a message expressing your interest and of course, include your Instagram page. Facebook groups are an especially great way to find that are include niche specific, follow count. The downside to Facebook groups is that there is usually no automatic “rule-enforcement” which means they can be disorganized and full of moochers that don’t always reciprocate the engagement.
Another option is for you to take matters into your own hands and START YOUR OWN POD!? Keep in mind that these pods do take a substantial time to grow and run efficiently. But if you are interested in learning more, we wrote an in-depth article on How to Start an Instagram Pod just a few months ago 🙂
If you are currently reading this and just want to get your feet wet and try a pod, I highly suggest you download our Instagram Engagement Pod Cheat Sheet! It’s packed with the best pods and complete info on requirements. Most importantly, we’ve got the hookup on secret links to join.
Instagram Pod Cheat Sheet
A simple guide to the best Engagement Pods + How To Join
Instagram Engagement Pod Rules
To make it fair for everyone to participate, Instagram engagement pods have a few basic rules. Generally, the rules include something similar to the following:*
- Before doing anything, follow the account you’re about to engage with
- Write comments that are more than 4 words
- Avoid general comments like “love it”, or emoji comments
- Show intention. Make relevant comments on the photos.
- Tag the user in the comment gives it a personal touch
- Like their recent posts
*Example of Engagement Pod Rules*
These rules are just an example. Every pod is different!
If an engagement pod member stops participating, but still submits posts for engagement, it is grounds for expulsion for an Instagram engagement pod. Even if you can get away with it, it’s certainly bad karma in the Instagram influencer community.
A Case Against Instagram Engagement Pods
On a technical level, this means that if you always engage with a certain user’s content, it will appear at the top of your feed. This also means that if a user is super popular, but you don’t engage with them, they won’t appear any higher on your feed.
When you’re involved with Instagram engagement pods, you get notified to keep liking and commenting posts. Because of this activity, the posts from the people in your engagement pod keep going to the top of your feed–because you keep interacting with them!
One Instagram influencer compares participation in an Instagram comment pods to a catty high school clique. While this is certainly not the experience of most participating influencers, it’s easy to see how Instagram users with large followings could get a big head about themselves and the comment pods they create, which can have a negative effect on those wishing to participate in the same space as them.
Sometimes, Instagram engagement pods feel a bit mechanical, and the actions of others on your content will make it hard know what content actually resonates best with your audience. On top of that, there’s something to be said for the amount of effort that goes into being part of an Instagram engagement pod.
Finally, there’s the chance that Instagram could shut down engagement pods and related users’ accounts down as a violation of the Terms of Service is enough to make anyone think twice about participating in one.
Instagram Pod Cheat Sheet
A simple guide to the best Engagement Pods + How To Join
How to Get More Instagram Followers with Engagement Pods
Instagram engagement pods can be helpful in generating interaction but can be tiring and mechanical over time, especially if the engagement pod you’re apart of is unreasonably large. For best results, join one that is suited to your niche for more meaningful interaction.
If you’re looking for another strategy for how to get Instagram followers, Jumper Media has tools that specifically help with growth and content management. Request a free demo to see what Jumper Media can do for your business!
Have you ever been a part of an Instagram pod? What did you think?