A dear friend casually mentioned during brunch that she had joined an Instagram group. 

"Cool,” I muttered, as I continued to survey the menu. Would I go for the lemon ricotta pancakes or Brussels sprout salad? Decisions. Decisions. 

What she said next garnered my undivided attention.

“We use Instagram messenger to notify each other when we post, and then everyone is required to comment.”

What my friend has described is what is known as an "INSTAGRAM POD.” 

Why is it important for you to know? 

Well, it seems Instagram continues to update its algorithm to place more importance on REAL engagement. You see, too many people were using bots to automatically comment with emoticons and one-word responses like “Nice.” This was artificially pushing up content/posts, but that content was not necessarily relevant. But every dog has it’s day, and to outsmart the bots, Instagram is putting more weight on thoughtful, engaging comments of four or more words. 

What’s involved in becoming a member of an Instagram Pod?

You and up to 14 others agree to keep a running Instagram message. When a member of the group posts on his/her feed, he/she will reply to group with a heart.  This signifies that the other members should then go and comment seven or more words on his/her latest post. Everyone should actively participate and return the favor.

Should you do start an Instagram Pod? 

The short answer is “MAYBE.” If you have relatively few followers, it may be difficult for you to gain traction and followers quickly without help from your community. If you have a large following (typically 10K or more followers), you likely already have enough natural comments to keep you growing organically. 

Other things to consider:

  • No more than 15 members per Pod if you plan to use Instagram messenger to communicate (that’s the limit).
  • You must comment with at least seven words. Example - “Love this. Thank you for sharing this post.” 
  • Do NOT request for others to comment on your feed more than twice a day. (In other words, don’t be a comment hog.)
  • When forming your pod, try to find like-minded members and/or those with a similar number of followers. 
  • You MUST still create great content that benefits others. Pods are great for boosting your visibility, but if you want your following to grow, you must be engaging and relevant. 



Do you have a marketing, branding or social media question for me? 

Shoot me an email, and I’ll answer you in an upcoming blog post. 


Cole Hernandez