What is an Instagram Pod and how can you get into one?
Instagram Pod is a term that has been doing the rounds lately and it’s something I always recommend to my new starters. It is simply a group of businesses that join together to boost each others’ engagement and visibility in the Instagram algorithm. And yes it does work in Facebook too! Pods have been unofficially going on for years now, but more heavily since Instagram changed its algorithm from chronological to its current state.
When a group of businesses set out to intentionally like and post genuine comments on each others' posts, it works in a number of ways to boost visibility and relevance in the algorithms.
Before I go any further, I’ll just briefly explain how the algorithm works so you can see why the Pods are a great idea.
The Instagram algorithm works in a number of ways to ultimately ensure the end-user has the best possible experience. What that means is that Instagram wants to serve you content that you want to see. It bases this on your existing engagement with images, videos, accounts and a number of other interests and behaviours that it pulls in from your activity on Instagram and Facebook if your accounts are linked. The other thing it monitors is activity and engagement on the accounts that you follow to determine whether or not a post is popular and therefore more likely to be relevant to you. Popularity is determined by the amount of likes, shares, mentions and comments.
Here is a bit of guidance on how to start or join a Pod.
To get a Pod started you must first determine who you want to be in it. There are no rules to this, but it would help if the businesses had a similar target audience, interest, style and even popularity. Remember that you all need to make meaningful comments, so if you have something in common it will look less obvious and more likely draw the attention of the ‘right kind’ of audience across all your accounts.
Start a Facebook group for your Pod so you can communicate easily with each other. Also make sure you all have your notifications turned on for the Pod accounts. When anyone in the Pod posts, they can let everyone know in the Facebook group to make sure the engagement happens quickly. The quicker that engagement happens on Instagram, the more relevant it becomes and the more likely it will appear in others’ newsfeeds and in the discover section. This is important.
Here are some tips to make sure your engagement is effective.
1. Make sure when you are commenting on each other’s posts that you are using more than four or five words and avoid superlatives like amazing, terrific or love it or just using a string of emojis. Posting more than five meaningful words not only creates the opportunity for further engagement in the comments, but it differentiates you from all the robot comments that Instagram’s algorithm can easily ignore.
2. Tag the person in your comment to make it more personal. Tag other people that you think would like the post too. This also shows Instagram and other commenters that you aren’t a robot.
3. Go into your Pod for the right reasons. Yes, you want to see your engagement and visibility lift but you’ll find it much easier to be genuine in your support if you actually want to help the other people in your Pod.
So happy podding people! and remember that even if you’re not officially in a Pod, it’s still nice to support other local businesses so keep the likes and comments flowing. It’s great for your own visibility and really great for lifting the confidence and self-esteem of other business owners.