An Instagram pod is a great way to grow your engagement for all of your Instagram posts and stories. Instagram removed displaying posts on your Instagram feed in chronological order, meaning timeliness became less of a factor when people tried to go viral.

What is an Instagram Pod?

An Instagram pod is a group set up by Instagram users, where group members like and share each other’s posts. Instagram pods can be found in the form of a Telegram group, Facebook groups, Instagram DMs, or even Slack channels. This sounds simple enough, but people still ask us how these Instagram engagement pods actually help grow your account.

The answer is simple.

Instagram pods serve one purpose: sending your post into virality. As soon as you gather enough likes on a fresh Instagram post, Instagram’s algorithms detect that what you’ve shared is “good content”. As soon as your post has been deemed popular or good, Instagram will prioritize it in everyone else’s Instagram feeds.

What’s special about group members of an engagement pod?

The accounts of group members inside an Instagram pod usually share similar audiences. Remember how we talked about engaging with similar users to get more followers? An Instagram pod follows the same principle to grow your likes, follows, and engagement across Instagram. The best part about engagement pods is that the engagement you do receive is organic – meaning you’re not cheating Instagram by using a dirty bot that can get you shadowbanned.

How Instagram Pods Hack Engagement

Hack is a strong word. But Instagram pods really do relate to Instagram’s algorithm for prioritizing content. As soon as you end up being frequently shown on your followers’ news feed, four events are highly likely that will snowball your engagement. So, let’s delve into how Instagram pods actually work to the benefit of your Instagram account:

What happens when you use an Instagram pod?

  1. Your content gets liked more by your followers
  2. Your content gets liked by your followers’ followers
  3. Your post hits the “Featured Post” section in the Instagram app
  4. Your post is prioritized on the Explore tab in the Instagram app.

How many people are usually in an Instagram pod?

There are quite a lot of sources that claim Instagram pods have between 10 to 20 Instagrammers. An example is Later, mentioning that pods have between 10-15 people in them. We did some snooping, and it turns out there are pods with way more than 10 Instagrammers.

In fact, we found the largest Instagram pod to have over 300(!) people in it at one time. That’s massive – imagine 300 people liking your Instagram pics as soon as you’ve uploaded your latest post.

The speed of Instagram pods

Because engagement is done organically by every member of the Instagram pod, it’s difficult to say how fast you’ll get more likes, let alone more followers for your Instagram. We were accepted into two Instagram pods for two separate accounts. Our results were as follows:

  • Account 1: 337 likes in a 48 hour window.
  • Account 2: 113 likes in a 72 hour window.

For our first account, it was in the fitness niche for an account managed by Upleap. The Instagram pod had about 260 people in it (it was a Telegram group). The account saw 337 likes come in for a fresh post within 48 hours, or two days.

The second account was part of a much smaller engagement pod, seeing “only” 113 likes in a 72 hour window.

The numbers speak for themselves – Instagram pods do work, and for the first account, we ended up being a featured post for #sportsnutrition for over 12 hours. Pretty awesome, right?

How Instagram pods may differ

Not every Instagram pod was born the same. Here’s a basic rundown of how Instagram pods may differ from one another. Firstly, they may differ in size, as you may have already realized! The types of Instagram users you come across may also differ, with some users being really keen and always following up by liking your posts. We found that in larger pods, group members may not all be as active as each other. Group members who don’t actively help others out by engaging with their posts are called a “leech” in Instagram pods. These group members who don’t participate (and instead leech off the engagement coming from other members) are promptly removed from the Instagram pod.

Also, the type of engagement you receive may differ. Growing your engagement on Instagram comes in many different forms, such as comments, likes, or followers.

Some Instagram pods choose to follow one another, then share likes between photos. Others choose to comment, and some Instagram pods only like photos or do all three types of engagement.

It’s important to carefully choose what type of pod you join, as you can come across as spammy if you end up engaging too much.

Instagram pods are usually private

Usually, Instagram pods are private and discovered through engaging with others when you suspect they’re part of an engagement pod. This means that if you’re really looking for an Instagram pod that works – you should actively look for one and that you should find a referral. They’re almost always invite-only.

How do I join an Instagram pod?

Firstly, a big shout-out to Upleap for making engagement more accessible. They help us grow some of our Instagram accounts organically and while they don’t specifically mention the use of engagement pods, we’re pretty sure that some of the likes we receive on our posts do indeed come from a pod. Either that, or they’re incredibly good at finding our target audience!

You can sign up to a free trial here.

Alternative Instagram pods can be found according to your respective niche. We found the engagement pods for our little Instagram pod experiment by directly messaging larger accounts and asking them how they do it. Full disclosure, we did explain our background and we also had to agree to keep their usernames private, hence we couldn’t screenshot our pod activities.

Want to learn more about growing your followers and your engagement rates on Instagram? Check out our best Instagram tools of 2018, and also have a look at our article on how to get more followers on Instagram.