How to Start an Instagram Pod

October 24th, 2016

Meet the Author

Natalie Franke
Natalie Franke Hayes is an International Wedding Photographer and Speaker for the Creative at Heart Conference. She is also a graduate of The University of Pennsylvania with a degree in Visual Studies and a concentration in Visual Neuroscience and the Psychology of Seeing. She loves discovering ways for small business owners to attract their ideal clientele through modern marketing strategies and works actively to empower entrepreneurs to thrive.

Hey Friends, it’s Natalie here! When we first heard about Instagram pods we were intrigued by the name. In nature, a pod is family of dolphins who live together in harmony and support one another. This so beautifully parallels the purpose of these engagement boost groups that are changing the face of the online marketing world. The members of your pod become your Instagram family and work to support you as you grow your platform.

Think of pods like a group of cheerleaders who help one another on Instagram through likes and meaningful comments. The members of the pod engage with the content of others in their pod as soon as the post goes live in order to communicate to Instagram that a particular piece of content is generating engagement. It’s an algorithm hack that is something we can truly get behind in the spirit of community!

Three Types of Pods:
  1. Add everyone that you want in your pod to a group message on Instagram (and come up with a clever name for your pod). Have everyone post in the group message whenever they post an image. Then, everyone else can go comment and ‘like’ that image.
  2. Add everyone that you want to be in your pod to a group message on Instagram and have them turn on post notifications for everyone. Then whenever someone in your pod posts a picture, everyone will be notified and they can go leave it some love!
  3. Create a boost group on Facebook and have a daily thread. Ask members of the boost group to comment with a direct link to their latest Instagram post. Require each person who posts to comment on the five links above theirs. 

Also, commenting on each other’s images with more than four words is a great way to boost them with the algorithm, and an added bonus: it’s always a great feeling having genuine comments! With so many robots posting thoughtless comments into the virtual abyss, it is important to ensure that you engage with content in an authentic and meaningful way. 


Quick Commenting Tips:

  • Write authentic comments (guideline: use more than four words)
  • Avoid generic phrases like “love it!” or a series of straight emoticons
  • Tailor your comment to the image or caption (show intention)
  • Consider tagging the person in the comment @namehere for an even more personal touch

Download the Instagram Pod Guide

Download Natalie’s Instagram Pod Guide 

The most important thing to remember when creating or joining a pod is that you should go into the experience for the right reasons. Simply joining to see your comment number increase is short-sighted and eventually will leave you feeling unfulfilled. Remember that engagement groups like pods offer a unique opportunity to connect with others, build community, and cheer on other creative entrepreneurs in your daily life. Enter into your pod with a desire to invest in others and strive to always be the most supportive member of  your group. We’ve found that we rise when we first lift others!


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This is such a wonderful part of the net for community, support and encouragement! What an utterly awesome idea… now to find other people at the same point as me who are interested in making this work 🙂

Thank you so much for this great idea, and the helpful, practical, tips for putting it into practice! One quick question – do you have thoughts on what is an optimum number of people to have in an effective pod? Thanks again!

I love IG pods!! It’s very sweet and motivating to everyone in your group

What an amazing and positive way to connect with creatives around the world!

This is so smart! I’m in one pod and it’s been a great way to connect for sure! I love the use at least 4 words tip AND the copy/paste group message! Thank you!

This is perfect! I totally need this type of support to get my blog and instagram noticed 🙂 Thanks for the info!

Oh… that’s amazing! I just discovered your IG and blog and I’m learning sooo much. I didn’t know about pods, neither about the 4 words in comments! I wish I could have other creative friends on IG to create a pod. What would you recommend to people like me to find other people to create a pod?

This is such a cool idea to help out one another!! How do we start or join a pod!

How many people should you have at a minimum for a pod?

Wonderful! Can I use the “commenting tips” graphic for our new FB group for our pod?

Thanks for such great tips and for making it about community not simply promotion!

Fantastic read! Can’t wait to use some of these tips on my social media for my bridal business

Thanks for the insightful post. I really had no idea km what an instagram pod is and you post did the wonderful help of explaining it to me. Thanks 🙂

I’ve heard that it’s better not to follow each other – that way the comments are considered outside engagement. Do you know if that’s true?

This is fantastic article. I’ve been really into comment pods this year and joined Influencer Swap as community manager now my full time job is creating and managing comment pods 🙂 yes that job does exist! From my experience the comment pods can vary and people tend to come and go so it’s worth continuously searching for new members. It’s also been a. Fantastic way to meet new people and I’ve developed some greet freiendships in comment pods x

Great article! I’ve been in pods for awhile now and really enjoy it and definitely see an increase in engagement overall. I recently wrote a tutorial on my website about engagement groups, some overlap with this article, but y’all might find it helpful. I also run engagement groups for Momtographers, so check it out, we’d love for you to join!

Great article! How do you figure out the 4 words makes a difference over less than 4??. I have people & other “experts” saying that it doesn’t matter. Where are you sourcing your info from?
Thank you!

BRILLIANT! Thank you for sharing this. I can’t WAIT to begin a pod to boost others. Stronger together :0)

interesting read. IG is huge for photographers now so it makes sense to think of ways to boost engagement

This is great way to connect and relate with others. Looking forward to joining and learning from other creativepreneurs.

I need so much help. As a hairstylist for over 20 years I am so out of touch of social media, probably due to the fact I’m behind the chair more than not . I would love to learn more to show the work that I have done any help would be great .

i had an increase in IG inquires since i did pods! 🙂

This is a wonderful idea! I can’t wait to try this out 🙂

We rise by lifting others!!! This is just wonderful. Thank you!

I have been hearing about these a lot lately, it’s great to get hear a little bit more about it.
I feel like my IG is too haphazard to find some like minded people, but I’m working on it! Thanks x


This is an absolutely fabulous idea! I haven’t heard of this method yet. Thanks so much!

HI! I am looking to join a pod! Please add me if anyone is interested! :] I would love to connect.

Hi, is there a clever way to find and join existing pods for my blog category?

Fabulous idea. I just dropped a related post in a group I host. Thank you!

I will like to join fashion/food/travelling/beauty pods please reach at me @Staymagnifique

Cool post Natalie. Been hearing about these IG pods but haven’t participated in one yet. Gives me a cool idea for my community to test.

Tried to download the guide but opt in doesn’t seem to be working (I enter my details and submit but it just keeps resetting). Will try again another time.

Thanks for the great resource.

[…] To read more on Instagram pods and how to set them up, check out this post! […]