Should you be using Instagram Pods for your Creative Biz?

In 2016 Instagram changed the algorithm and moved the feed from chronological order to engagement based content – meaning you would only see content that you or other people actually engaged with, not just based on who you follow.

As quickly as the algorithm change took place, influencers, small business owners, and creative entrepreneurs were quickly looking for ways to “beat” the algorithm.

Entering the era of Instagram Pods.

And, you’re probably wondering why I am bringing up something that made its way into effect 3 years ago.

But, the reality is, people are still looking for ways to beat the algorithm.

Still trying to figure out social media marketing, and how to tap into all that it has to offer.

Long gone are the days of just bloggers and small businesses leveraging the free platform social media provides to businesses.

With the rise of online entrepreneurs, and larger businesses using social media to connect with their audience, new businesses and creative entrepreneurs feel like they can’t grow their business on social media.

Leaving many of them to turn to each other in creative Facebook groups looking for community and help from other business owners.  Often asking if fellow creative entrepreneurs will join them to form an Instagram Pod to finally “beat” the algorithm.

Maybe, you’ve even felt this way? You’ve considered asking industry friends if they would be interested in joining a comment pod.

If you’ve been curious about an Instagram Pod and wanted to know more about it, how it works, and if it is something you should do, I got ya!

I decided to join an Instagram pod to get the inside scoop, and am ready to report back on my findings!

So, let’s dive into what it is, how it works, and if this is something you should be using for your creative business.

Breaking down what Instagram pods are, how they work, and if you should use them for your creative biz?


An Instagram Pod is a group of 15 to 20 Instagrammers who provide a like-for-like and comment-for-comment approach to their content to increase engagement.

There are certain rules these groups tend to follow, but vary from group to group.

Typically, the rules are:

  • Must follow everyone in the Instagram Pod
  • Must like and/or comment on each other’s content in a timely manner once a new post is shared within the group
  • The comment must be more than an emoji and more than 4 words long

Because of the engagement algorithm that launched after Facebook purchased Instagram in 2016, having others comment and like on your post will increase the visibility of your post to your current followers and can increase the chances of getting featured on the explore page.


If you’re in any of the ever popular Facebook groups for creative business owners, it’s hard to miss a request or a post from someone who is looking to increase their engagement on Instagram in an attempt to beat the algorithm.

I’m pretty sure we’ve all been there – we’ve seen the dips in engagement, the number of likes plummet and we wonder how we can fix it to get us back in the eyes of all of our followers.

For those that have tried to take control of the situation, it typically starts out with a post that says something to the effect of:

Hi friends! I am a _________. Would any one be interested in forming an Instagram Pod, where we comment on each other’s IG posts?!

And then a bunch of people comment on this thread and start to form a pod, sometimes, if the thread is big enough and gets enough traction, multiple pods will start to form because too many people are requesting to join.

Or, sometimes, it’s less of a wide net, and someone shows up in your DMs asking if you’d be interested in joining their Instagram Pod.

This is how I was approached.

And, I thought, why not?!

Afterall, I can’t speak and share my findings without actually testing to see what’s working and what isn’t.


As I mentioned, there are rules for each pod, and they vary depending on the group.

The one rule that I wasn’t a fan of, was the need to use different ways to mention to the group that you have a new post up.

Those words weren’t allowed in our group DM, because we didn’t want to clue in Instagram to the hack of “beating” the algorithm.  

Instead, when we had a new post to share, we had to use words like “Fresh” or “New” or a combination of emojis to say that a fresh one is up without using words like New Post.

We would go through all of this because technically Facebook and Instagram frown upon this type of behaviour and have deleted and banned groups like this in the past.

To be honest, the pod strategy doesn’t feel much different than a bot. And, it makes your engagement unauthentic.

Since this a comment-for-comment and like-for-like tactic, as soon as anyone in the group announces a new post, you have to start commenting and liking their content in a timely manner.

If you don’t it defeats the purpose of having the pod.

I don’t know about you, but I’m not sitting around all day waiting for others in this Pod group to message me and let me know they have a new post up.

Trying to keep up with 15 people posting new content and liking and commenting on it in a timely manner is haaarrrrddddd.

Especially, since I don’t post nearly as much as other people do.

It was exhausting.


If you’re still on the fence about Instagram Pods, I will say, that I did see an increase in likes and comments while I was actively part of the Instagram Pod.

But, I do have to caution you on chasing the vanity numbers.

The likes and comments may have been increasing, but the reality is, it didn’t last and the group definitely fades over time.

The bigger issue I had with the Instagram Pod was the fact that it wasn’t building a long term strategy and plan for attracting my ideal clients.

Occasionally my content would hit home for those in the pod and they would chime in more with a genuine comment versus the standard “can’t wait to read this post!” or “oh, yeah, I totally agree”.

To be fair, I think one or two of them were genuinely interested in what I share on IG, but certainly not everyone in the pod did.

And, when I flipped it and looked at it from their perspective, most of the time I could not relate with the content they were sharing.

For example, one of the girls in the pod is an infertility coach, sharing her journey and helping others work through infertility. She is amazing and I love that she helps women  through this journey!

But, to be honest, her content doesn’t really resonate with me, because I’m not walking through that journey. So, most of the time my engagement on her posts are surface level at most, because the content isn’t meant for me. I’m not her ideal client/reader.

Another pod member had an account focused on aspiring bloggers – and the same rules applied – I’m not an aspiring blogger, so most of the content didn’t feel relevant to me.

When I show up on Instagram I want to make sure I am using my time wisely.

I am there to connect and catch up on the people I truly love following and by being part of an Instagram Pod it became very difficult keeping up with all of the new content I needed to comment on.

It made showing up to Instagram feel like more work.

The big takeaway from this – show up, engage, and interact on social media and do it to the accounts and people you genuinely care for. Showing up consistently takes time and effort and  there’s no way to “beat” the algorithm.

So, if you’re going to spend that time engaging, do it for accounts your truly connect with.

Related: Leverage your social media marketing with these 8 tips


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