Just to prefix this post, I have absolutely no qualms with Instagram pods or people who use them, these are just my musings!
The humble Instagram pod; a supposed way of boosting engagement on the platform that we all want to love and love to hate at the same time.
For anyone who isn’t familiar with the term, an Instagram pod is simply a group chat within Instagram DMs, where friends/fellow bloggers/like-minded people chat and share their latest posts, with the idea being that other members of the group will then head on over to the post to like and comment to give the image a better engagement than it might of done otherwise, for example if thanks to Instagram’s notorious algorithm meant that it wouldn’t have otherwise shown up on their feed. Sometimes people in these pods will also do shout-outs for the other accounts in the group on their Stories in order to help each other out with followers.
When it first became a thing, there wasn’t a day when I didn’t scroll through Twitter without seeing a good few weeks of people asking if anyone wanted to join their pod, or people asking if anyone had room in their pod for them, and of course naturally it led to a little bit of drama as well, with some people being told they couldn’t join certain pods, or people complaining about pods etc. Twitter loves a bit of drama.
I myself have never been part of an Instagram pod, so I can’t really vouch for their effectiveness, but as an outside-grammer, it can become quite easy to spot a pod if you pay attention. Sure, you’ll always see friends supporting each other as much as they can, but you start to notice the same people cropping up in the comment section of every post by the same group of people. Now I love my friends and will always try to like every single one of their posts, but I wouldn’t comment on everything and I certainly wouldn’t expect them to do the same for me.
Yes, statistically the posts seem to have a higher engagement, but as a person who likes to look a little beyond just the photo, it all looks a little inorganic, especially when the comments just say things like ‘oh this is a great photo’ or ‘you look fab’. The same goes for story shout-outs. Sure, I do shout-outs for my favourite accounts, and often I might feature the same people, but I do try to mix it up every time, however when the same group of people only seem to share each other on a weekly basis, it just screams pod to me and I can’t help but feel like its a bit forced, plus if I didn’t follow those accounts the first 10 times you mentioned them, chances are I won’t follow them after the next 10..
Now these are just my own observations, and I really don’t mean any shade to anyone who does use pods, especially if they’ve worked really well for you (if they have, I’d love to hear your experiences so do drop me a comment!), I’m just curious to know if anyone else feels similarly, and given that they seem to be talked about a whole lot less than they used to, are Instagram pods fading out again?
8 thoughts on “Are Instagram Pods Really The Answer?”
As someone who used to be part of quite a few pods I agree with everything you have said! They were incredibly exhausting to gain basically nothing of substance from being in them!
Yes! I was actually part of a pod maybe a couple of years ago now and I totally agree with this post. I struggled with it mainly because I just couldn’t keep up with all the pictures I had to like and comment on and I’m one of these people that likes things to be meaningful so if I comment on someones images I prefer it to be because I have something insightful or just meaningful to say. I mean on the flip side I actually did find some accounts that I still follow to this day and they still follow me and like my posts from time to time so I think it does eventually bring about a genuine following but it doesn’t feel overly genuine when you are in the pod and it becomes unnecessary hard work.
I’ve never been in a pod but I’m wary about joining one because of what I’ve heard! I’m just not on Instagram often enough to like and comment on dozens of posts per week. It seems a bit inorganic to me as well, but I understand why people might join one.
It wasn’t until your Instagram post with the “love winter” comments that I even realised people did this! I have a craft Instagram account with only a small following (around the 390 mark at the moment, but every time I gain a follower or two I seem to lose one – it seems that this is all part of the follow/unfollow thing which I don’t really get! I was wondering why people liked my crafty nonsense enough to follow one day, and then stopped liking it. What changed?! It seems there is all this going on behind the scenes that I wasn’t aware of!) Now that you bring it up, I have had the odd ‘love this’ comment I think – I just thought they were genuine comments, though. It didn’t occur to me that there were bots out there!I hate fakeness. I don’t care how many extra followers it gets you, it’s not worth selling your soul for. It’s insincere and cold. A genuine comment is always welcomed, but nobody wants a fake meaningless one. It would be a shame for it to ruin Instagram, though, as there is a lot of lovely inspiration and pretty pictures out there from decent people. I’m not going to let it put me off (and I think maybe I don’t have enough followers to be on the receiving end of too much of it maybe? I’m guessing the scripts target popular accounts… but what do I know?!)Thanks for a interesting post. Maria
I found this really interesting, I’ve noticed a group of accounts I follow on Instagram that always comment on, and like each other’s posts, as well as always running loop giveaways together and doing shoutouts for one another. I never knew there was a name for it though.
I’m part of a pod, but it’s far more relaxed. If anything, it’s the group solaritady that I’ve gained from it. A place where I can ask questions, and be given an honest response. A place where I can have a moan & groan with people who can relate on every level. We also share other businesses (outside of our pod) when we come across amazing products – this for sure has led to numerous purchases for me! 🙊 Most of all, I’ve gained a group of individuals who support, encourage and advise me. I think most people running a small business have days where you feel nothing is good enough and you question if it’s worth you contining. If it hadn’t been for my pod, I probably would have chucked in the towel a while back! But they keep me going, provide encouragement & excitement when I release new products. I know the experience of some pods can be up and down, so I consider myself very lucky! 😊
Yeah I think being in a pod with a lot of like minded and supportive people that give genuine engagement would be great! I just see so many where you can tell maybe they don’t have so much in common so the comments and shoutouts can be so generic and vague that you can almost tell its forced.
I had no idea these were even a thing! It certainly makes a lot of sense about the little online ‘cliques’ though!