If you're like me you probably wonder why you see a post from @SportsCenter that was posted 4 days ago before seeing a photo from your best friend that was posted 2 hours ago. The culprit is the Instagram algorithm and we are all victims.
If you're trying to grow your Instagram followers you've probably been frustrated by the new algorithm. Well in this post, I'm going to share with you a secret strategy that's working to explode Instagram growth!
The secret is in the Instagram pods…
What is an Instagram Pod?
Instagram pods – or as I like to call them – comment pods, are groups of Instagram users that commit to engaging on eachother's posts on a regular and consistent basis.
There are thousands of comment pods out there and I'll teach you how to find these pods and how to get into them, but let's first define the term a little bit more.
There may not be any sort of set place to connect or meet as an Instagram pod. However, you may find pods that will ask you to join their Facebook group message, or a What's App group, but a lot of times you might just get access to a Google Doc listing all the members of the pod.
Most Instagram pods that I've seen have anywhere from 10-50 members. The best pods seem to be in the range of 25 members and they are VERY exclusive. Let's talk quickly about how a comment pod works…
How do Comment Pods Work?
Let's say you find a comment pod or create your own with 25 members. All these members obviously have their own Instagram accounts. How the comment pod works is any time any member of the pod posts on Instagram, the rest of the pod commits to liking and commenting AT LEAST 4 words on the post.
Here's an advanced tip though…
The best and smartest pods know that it's not good for everyone to comment on every post. Instagram is smart, and if they see the same 25 people comment on every one of your posts they are going to get suspicious. So usually you space it out a little so you'll comment on 2 then skip 1 or something like that… Just don't comment on every post and for the love do not say the same thing in every comment.
Another key to successful pods that beat the algorithm is to comment within 2 hours of the post going live.
The algorithm favors quick “viral” engagement and will push your post to the explore page if you get a good surge of engagement quickly upon posting.
A good way to manage this is to turn on post notifications for all the members of your pod.
I know that can be really annoying if you're in a pod with 20+ members, but that's the cost of growing on Instagram these days!
When you get a surge of comments and likes in the first 2 hours of posting, you'll get your post pushed up to the explore page of Instagram. You need to be strategic with your hashtags! Hashtags will help you get on the proper explore feeds and in front of people most likely to follow you.
What Are The Best Comment Pods to Join?
Ideally, you do not want to join a random pod with random people.
If you have no other choice, creating a pod with a group of friends will be better than nothing, but that's not the best way to do it.
The BEST Instagram pods are focused by niche.
Like I've said many times, Instagram is smart and they know what type of content you post and what type of users it attracts. If you are a fitness Instagrammer, you should be in a pod with other fitness influencers. If you are a fashion Instagrammer, you should be in a pod with other fashion influencers.
You'll see much better results.
The other key to choosing a pod is to look at the number of followers of other people in the pod. Instagram highly favors comments from big accounts. Go back and look through your most popular posts… Did you get comments from lots of people? Did you get comments from people with lots of followers?
Look for pods with members who have lots of followers. You probably will have a hard time joining groups that don't have similar followers to you. If you have 1,000 followers, you probably won't make it into a pod of people with 100,000 followers.
If you're smart and creative though you can get in…
How to Find Comment Pods to Join
The best place I've found is Facebook. You can search Facebook groups for Instagram pods, comment pods, or engagement pods. Sometimes you'll find specific groups for the actual pod, or you might find a collaboration group where people post pod opportunities.
You can join a bunch of these groups, post about your niche, look for posts with pod openings, or start your own pod and look for other good members.
Some other places to look for pods are Pinterest and forums like Reddit. You might be able to search these platforms and find people looking for pod members or you could promote a pod you've created on these websites.
If you want to start your own pod you can post about it on Instagram or DM friends or other people telling them about your pod and ask for members to join.
The Power of the Pod
I've seen multiple people utilizing Instagram pods and finding great success. The power of engagement on Instagram is getting featured on the explore page.
My wife and I actually saw this happen to us first hand with our puppy's Instagram account @mini.remy.doodle. We posted a video of her and her toy poodle friend Roo and it exploded with comments from our followers. We quickly noticed the video made it to the explore page on Instagram and we got over 15,000 views on the video and it brought her over 400 new followers in 3 days.
Now this wasn't the result of a pod, but it's proof that spiked engagement leads to results. If you post great content, create quick buzz with comments, and utilize the proper hashtags, you'll find your way to the explore page where you can get hundreds of new followers in just one day!
That's how to grow on Instagram in 2018.
Gone are the days where posting good hashtags works. While hashtags are still valuable, they won't lead to much success without engagement. Comment pods will help you drive engagement.
Now get out there and join some pods, or start your own pod and watch your Instagram start to grow!
Feel free to leave a comment on this post to collaborate with others if you have a pod or are looking for one!