Can Instagram Pods Cheat Algorithm And Boost Engagement? Here Are All The Answers!

12 January 2022

With all the algorithm updates Instagram keeps implementing, the influencer marketing landscape on the platform seems to be on a constant shift. One minute posts are ranked in chronological order; the next you need to achieve a certain level of engagement to appear on top of a user’s feed. 

Additionally, your content must receive engagement quickly for it to rank highly. If your post doesn’t receive likes and comments within the first few hours of posting it, Instagram won’t push it to the top. This makes it difficult for creators to get attention in a world where posts with the most engagement win. 

That’s why Instagram pods, which claim to help creators boost engagement, can be very tempting. But are they the secret to gaming the system – and are they worth it? 

We provide all the answers in this blog post on Instagram pods. 


What Are Instagram Pods?

An Instagram pod is a group of creators who make each other’s posts more visible and discoverable. Instagram weighs comments and likes to determine the most popular posts to display on top of users’ feeds. To beat the algorithm, content creators join Instagram pod groups where they like, and comment on one another’s posts. 

The number of people in an Instagram pod can vary. Some pods have as many as 1,000 users, while others have less than 50 active participants. Some Instagram pods are niche and only accept users in a particular industry, while others are general and accept anyone who needs more likes, comments and followers. 

Pod rules vary, but essentially, when a member posts something new, everyone in the group is supposed to like or leave a comment. This will help the post gain enough engagement to raise the user feed. Instagram pods are beneficial for everyone in the group since they operate on a like for like or comment for comment basis. Users who don’t follow these rules receive a warning. When they continue to ignore other members’ posts, they are removed from the group.

How Does An Instagram Pod Work?

When members upload a post in an Instagram engagement pod, they alert other members to like and comment on it. These pods usually communicate through direct messages in Instagram pod groups. However, large pod communities sometimes use WhatsApp, Facebook, Telegram, and Reddit because Instagram limits the number of people in one DM. On a small scale, Instagram comment pods don’t sound too threatening, but a recent study found that more than 2 million posts have been manipulated this way, with more than 100,000 users being active in pods. 

Inside these groups, creators are hard at work trying to game the system and get more views for their content. As they do this, they are creating online communities similar to those bloggers created at the onset of the internet. 

Some pods require users to like and comment immediately on posts shared in the group chat, but others are not strict about the timing. When commenting on posts, members should leave comments relevant to the post and avoid generic terms like “love it” and “so great”, which Instagram doesn’t count as valuable engagement. Content creators of an Instagram growth pod have reported an increase in the number of likes and comments on their posts, proving that pods help users boost engagement. By supporting each other’s posts with likes and comments, these users make their content more discoverable and boost engagement in a manner that doesn’t violate Instagram’s regulations the way bots and fake followers do. 

What Do Engagement Pods For Instagram Do? 

When Instagram changed its algorithm from displaying content chronologically to prioritizing content with the highest engagement, many creators found it harder to build engagement and grow their followings. Most users are thinking about joining pods to generate engagement and earn more Instagram pod followers to get around this. In theory, this format should work because you prove to Instagram that your content is engaging with more likes and comments on your post.  

Researchers at NYU have identified hundreds of Instagram group pods, some with thousands of members, exchanging likes and comments about gaming Instagram’s algorithm and boosting post visibility. The groups use reciprocity as a service where members agree to mutually like each other’s posts when they are published on the platform. The reciprocal linking does more than inflate the post’s engagement. Posts that are shared in group pods receive many fake likes and comments and deceive the system’s algorithm into promoting them further. As a result, the posts receive much more engagement than those not submitted to Instagram pods.  

How To Find Instagram Pods

You can easily find Instagram pods by searching online. Most of these pods are open to the public and anyone can join them to boost their post engagement. The most common venue for these pods is Telegram since it is very secure and has no limit on the number of people in a group. A simple search on the platform for “Instagram engagement” or similar terms will reveal the channels you can join in building your post engagement.  

However, some niche pods are very hidden, and you need to know someone or ask discreetly to join an Instagram engagement group. 

Let’s now examine how to find Instagram pods in the different social media channels. 

Facebook

Facebook has many groups you can join to connect with other Instagrammers who trade likes for likes and comments for comments. However, most of these groups are closed, and you need an invitation to become a member. Group admins will vet your content to ensure it makes the grade. Members don’t just drop or exchange their Instagram content within the groups to boost visibility. This is because Facebook owns Instagram, and the group members can quickly be flagged for trying to game the system.  

Telegram

Telegram is a secure messaging app similar to WhatsApp. It doesn’t limit the number of people who can be in a channel, making it popular with Instagrammers who want more likes and comments on their posts. It’s very common to find channels with 1,000 or more users, although you can find smaller, more exclusive channels on the platform. A simple search for “Instagram engagement pods” will point you to the best channels to join. 

Reddit

Figure 1: r/IGPods. Source – Reddit

There’s a subreddit called IGPods where you can find pods that need members or place a call for members if you want to start your own Instagram pod Reddit. These pods live on different social channels and message the rest of the group when their content is live for the members to like and comment on it. 

Instagram

Lastly, we have pods within the Instagram platform itself. Although they are difficult to find, pods exist on Instagram’s messaging system to help users amplify their content. Most Instagrammers don’t want to admit they use pods, and you need connections to find a pod in your niche. 

Types Of Instagram Engagement Pods

Some of the common Instagram engagement pods you can find online include;

Niche Pods

The members are all part of a particular industry. For example, you can find an Instagram group pod for travel influencers who want to boost the visibility of their travel-related content. 

Like Pods

Members of like pods interact by liking the posts of other members. However, the popularity of like pods has been declining ever since Instagram started hiding likes on posts. 

Comment Pods

Members interact by commenting on the posts of other members. 

Have Instagram Pods Been Banned?

It’s a grey area. Facebook recently banned 10 groups employing tactics meant to game the system by trading likes to like or encouraging users to join Telegram pod groups. These tactics violate Instagram’s terms of use by tricking the algorithm into showing their content to many users. While these pods haven’t officially been banned, it’s clear that Instagram doesn’t condone them and will soon remove them from the platform. As such, Instagram pods aren’t a long-term strategy you can rely on to grow your profile and bring genuine engagement to your content. 

Is It Worth It?

While pods come in handy when you need to give your posts an engagement boost, they cannot substitute the authentic engagement you crave as an influencer. It may seem like an opportunity to show your content to many people, but the last thing you want is to ruin your hard-earned, valuable reputation with some dubious engagement tactics. 


For long-term, sustained growth, you should focus on creating amazing content that attracts likes and comments organically. And as you do this, Atisfyre – our AI-based influencer platform, will help you monetize your creativity by helping you connect with the leading brands worldwide to explore collaboration opportunities. 

Sign up today to get started!

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