What is an Instagram Pod: A Look at Secret Groups Within Instagram

You’ve probably heard about what an Instagram pod is, but there’s also a high probability that you haven’t. Let’s suss the situation around a bit: Instagram, who answers to the Facebook overlords, has been using the company’s algorithm in your news feed recently to change what you see and interact with in regards to stories and the standard photos/videos sent through. In effect, what that means is the work you’re trying to put out there could really be great, but simply isn’t working out due to how this algorithm works. Instead, it’s all based on engagement and even more laser tuned into the old adage in photography “It’s more about who you know than what you know.”

Networking, you know: basics of the art industry 101.

But Instagram pods are trying to change that. They’re essentially very key and highly tuned versions of Groups that are designed to help its own members. So how do pods work?

Typically, the most effective ones are done around a specific subject: street photography, strobism, portraiture, landscapes, food photography, etc. And because of how they work, they’re highly tailored to very passionate individuals to particular categories. Behaviors in Instagram pods are usually something along these lines:

  • Every member of the pod is on a Group DM on Instagram. When someone posts a picture, they send it as DM to the group chat in instagram. This way everyone knows what’s going on.
  • Everybody within the Instagram pod need to go to the photo, like it and necessarily comment on it with 4 or more words. Why? Because Instagram’s algorithm is highly comment based.
  • You need to engage those commenters by replying back to the comments from pod members further adding to your comment count.
  • You need to do this for every member of the pod.
  • You’re usually reassuring of one another’s work.

Due to the way the dynamics of this works, the pods are typically smaller because every photographer needs to go look at every other members’ images and comment/like them. This is also one of the reasons why you really want to maybe be in one pod; because otherwise you’re stuck commenting over and over again and you’re stuck on Instagram.

A good number of people to have in an Instagram pod is 15 or so. Some people may spend all day on Instagram, so for them it would make more sense to join multiples. Companies with multiple accounts may get all of their accounts to like and comment on one another’s content in their own Instagram pod. But also, it’s just fair to assume that folks at your own company may help you out. The same thing applies to other photographers that you’re allied with, people who help one another on a set, etc. It’s a way for photographers to fight back against kittens, puppies, and all the fitness accounts that otherwise dominate the space.

Your behavior then encourages that you see more of the work from those people and more similar work based on hashtags, etc.