Are Instagram Pods Cheating?

Sunday, 6 August 2017

instagram pods

Since the change in the algorithm, Instagram growth and engagement has been something that bloggers of all sizes have had issues with. Because Instagram feeds are no longer chronological and instead show posts with higher engagement, meaning that bloggers and other Instagram users have been resorting to using pods in order to "fake engagement". Cosmo recently wrote an article on Instagram pods which highlighted it to the national press, and now massive news outlets including The Independent are calling bloggers out for 'cheating the system'. 

But are Instagram Pods really cheating?

I'm going to confess - I am in an Instagram Pod. I only recently started Instagram to promote my blog posts and for me, joining a pod has been a great way to find other Instagrammers who have similar interests to mine and discover new blogs - and even make new friends! Not only does it increase genuine engagement and help your posts become more visible on others' feeds, it also means that you get to help others out who are in the same boat and discover new feeds at the same time! But still, people have issues with these pods. 

They don't provide genuine engagement! Comments are just fake niceties! 

This is where I disagree. Whenever I comment on a post, it's usually a post I would comment on anyway and have an interest in. Therefore, my comments about how nice the bag is, or how I've always wanted to try that face mask are real and true. In fact, quite often I scroll Instagram and like and comment on these posts before I've even checked the pod. None of the comments I receive on my photos I perceive to be faux in the slightest. They're all from lovely, wonderful girls who are happy to cheer me on and help increase my engagement - and thus I return the favour!

It's just as bad as buying likes and followers!
Again, I think this is an absurd statement and is usually made by those who don't understand comment pods. The one I'm in has no more than 12 people in it, and a few of those are inactive, and they're all real. No bot generated them, they're not being paid for their services. I see pods as a snowball effect - you have five or six similar accounts like and comment on your posts which helpfully moves it up people's feeds so that the 'genuine' engagement can start! Buying followers is downright deceitful but pods are using resources openly to try and crack the algorithm. Not the same. 

Pods are so strict with all those rules! I can't be doing with that!
The rules of the pods I'm in are very simple: don't spam the chat and make sure to comment on and like everyone's posts. Nobody has a gun to your head. Nobody can make you comment. Sometimes I fall behind but I haven't been savagely extradited from the blogging community yet. Of course, I can't speak for all pods; some may well be incredibly strict but I am yet to join one which resembles a totalitarian regime! 


I think it's accepted by the majority of the blogging community that pods aren't cheating the system but it's the wider world that doesn't understand them. Since being in pods, my instagram account has actually been growing, going from 115 followers to 430 in just shy of three months, which by my books is very positive. When I asked on twitter what people thought about Pods, the majority weren't in them but accepted that they weren't cheating the system.

What do you think about InstaPods? Are they cheating the system, or just common sense if you want to grow?


25 comments

  1. I think with the way Instagram is heading they're a necessity if you want to be growing your social media status!! How are we expected to gain likes and views if our photos aren't appearing on feeds unless your followers are scrolling for 20 minutes 🤦🏼‍♀️ like you said, I've also found some fabulous blogs and friends through these pods too! I think they're great!
    Alice Xx
    blacktulipbeauty.wordpress.com

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    1. Instagram donthis to themselves... I'm at my wits end! At least pods actually get me engagement ffs! X

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  2. I know some pods have around 50 people in who are all strangers and whilst I can see an issue with that, starting a pod with friends or similar accounts is really doing no harm, it's just a way of finding similar content! Plus, a lot of the time you aren't exactly forced to comment, it's just there as an option!

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    1. That's weird, I'd be so stressed in a pod like that haha!

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  3. For me, I don't think they're cheating because Instagram seems to be doing everything in their power to kill engagement. From shadowbans to just blocking actions, and don't get me started on the order of the timeline! Pods are great because you make friends, and the comments/followers are real people, you don't pay them haha :)
    Totally agree with the points in your article, lovely post!

    Anika | anikamay.co.uk

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    1. Agreed 100%!! Thanks for your comment!! Xx

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  4. To compare pods to buying fake followers is outrageous! These are real people engaging with content. Whenever I have been part of any kind of pod, my comments have always been genuine; if anything, pods have helped me to discover new blogs as the new algorithm makes it so much harder to get discovered. It's Instagram itself that is to blame for these pods being created.

    To summarise, I do not believe that they are cheating the already biased and restricting system already in place!

    Meg x | the-writeblog.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. I agree 100%! Yet again the national press failing to understand bloggers 🙄

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  5. I definitely don't think they're cheating! I only join pods with photos I'd like an comment on anyway for example a beauty blogger only pod. I've meet some lovely people through insta pods too and found some amazing insta accounts! Such an interesting post and seeing other people's opinions!
    PaleGirlRambling xo

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    1. I definitely agree Rachael! I wouldn't join a pod with tech bloggers, for example, because that's not what I'm interested in!

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  6. I'm in 2 pods and feel they are in no way cheating the system. Not everyone keeps up with them, you don't have to like and comment 24/7. & I know for sure all the comments are genuine. I agree, it is in no way cheating, we are just supporting one another

    Lily | www.covetluxe.co.uk

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    1. Exactly! People don't understand, and it's kind of sad really! X

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  7. I think with everything that's happening with Instagram it's one of the few options bloggers have! Because your Instagram following is so important to companies you're trying to make money with it's important to boost your Instagram as much as possible!

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    1. Agreed! I don't see it as cheating at all, I see it as a last resort thanks to Instagram algorithms and the current economic climate! X

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  8. I think it's a great idea. I'd love to be part of one!

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  9. I'm in about 3 pods and think they are such a great idea. Engagement is so so low on instagram and it's so hard to grow we need to support and encourage each other to beat the algorithm so we can all flourish x

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    1. 100% agreed! I like to think of it more as teamwork!

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  10. I personally don't see the problem, it's just a group chat where you support each other, usually with accounts you'd like and comment on anyway! I don't know why people have to be so mad about everything all the time! haha!

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    1. Definitely agree with you there! Idk, people are crazy ;)

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  11. I agree with this! I don't see the problem with them at all! x

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  12. I've never heard of instagram pods before, but the way you put it, it seems like they are useful tool, so I'm going to look into them!

    Natalie | http://nataliesalchemy.wordpress.com

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    1. You should! Extremely useful for growing an audience on Insta!

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  13. I tried out being a part of an Instagram pod and although I don't think they're cheating at all, for me I found it was sort of taking out the fun and spontaneity from Instagram so I pulled out. If they work for people though, then more power to them.

    Julia // The Sunday Mode

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