Ever since Instagram changed its algorithm to highlight engaging content in users’ feeds rather than displaying posts chronologically, marketers have been in a state of flux. How is it possible to beat the system and ensure that your content still shows up on your followers’ feeds?
It’s an important question, and one that can ultimately affect whether your Instagram profile delivers any value to your brand. Thankfully, here at Kickstagram we’ve discovered one answer that can help you beat the algorithmic madness: Instagram pods.
What are Instagram Pods, and How Do They Work?
Instagram pods sprang into existence through the use of Instagram’s direct messaging feature. Instagram pods are typically small groups of 10 or so small companies or bloggers with similar target audiences. More importantly, however, the individuals participating in these group messages are willing to work together to help everyone in the pod increase their engagement.
When a pod member publishes new content to Instagram, they also share it with the other group members via direct message. The idea is that each member of the group will subsequently like the others’ posts and write a meaningful comment that encourages other followers to engage.
Sound time-consuming? It certainly can be. But Instagram places a lot of value on how quickly likes and comments start rolling in after you publish your post. The more you get, the more likely Instagram is to peg your content as being high-quality, and subsequently push your content higher up into other users’ feeds—a move that will only further increase your engagement with your other followers.
Sounds Cool, But How Do I Join a Pod?
If you’ve been using Instagram for any length of time, you’ve hopefully used the platform’s social outreach opportunities to connect with like-minded influencers, bloggers and businesses. Using these connections, you could very easily start one or more Instagram pods on your own, simply by messaging key individuals and forming a group with those who are interested in the idea.
To make sure that everyone benefits and participates equally, it’s best if you establish rules for your group. For example, you might require that comments be longer than five words, or that everyone should leave their comments within the first hour after someone shares their post. To keep your pod from becoming too extreme of a time commitment, you could even limit group members to only sharing one post within the pod per day.
But what can you do if you don’t already have a posse of like-minded individuals to work with? Don’t worry—you’re not out of luck. The good news is that there are plenty of others out there who want to connect and form Instagram pods. Instagram-focused Facebook groups like The Gram Gang and Instagram Fabulous are great places to connect with other Instagram users and form a pod.
Keep in mind that if you request to join someone else’s Instagram pod, you’ll need to adhere to their rules (and the rules of the Facebook group you used to find them). Nobody wants to deal with a spammer. Make sure you understand what is expected of you before agreeing to join a pod, especially in regards to your responsibility to like and comment on others’ posts. By being willing to help others out, you’ll form valuable connections that increase your own engagement.
Now, there’s no telling what the future might bring. For all we know, Instagram could very well find a way to adjust their algorithm yet again to make Instagram pods pretty much useless. But for the time being, at least, this certainly serves as a more effective method than using bots or other unethical practices to try to artificially boost your engagement.
By successfully utilizing Instagram pods, you’ll be able to show up in your audience’s feed and continue to grow your digital presence.