In 2016, Instagram changed its algorithm to eliminate a feed full of chronological posts. Now, your post can only appear at the top of a user’s feed if it earns a certain level of engagement, signaling to Instagram that your post is popular and should be shown to more people.

Additionally, in order to rank highly, your post must receive engagement immediately. If your post receives likes and comments, but not within the first few hours after posting it, Instagram likely won’t boot it to the top.

The algorithm change is helpful for Instagram users — after all, I’d personally rather see posts most of my friends are commenting on and liking. However, it’s less useful for brands trying to spread their content to a wider audience. Plus, it can seem unfair. If you are trying to grow your audience by sharing helpful content, but you don’t have a ton of followers at the moment, it’s twice as hard to get your posts seen by new people.

So how can you get around it? Sure, there are a few shady tactics out there, like buying followers or using bots, but none of those methods will earn you a long-term, loyal audience. Instead, you might want to consider Instagram pods.

What is an Instagram pod?

An Instagram pod is a direct message between a group of about 15-20 people who are in a similar industry as your own. Pods’ rules vary, but essentially, whenever a user posts something new, they share that post in the direct message, and everyone in the group is required to like or comment. This enables the post to rise to the top of the user’s followers’ feeds. It’s mutually beneficial for everyone in the group, since it operates on a like-for-like or comment-for-comment basis.

In a way, Instagram pods are a more strategic version of texting your friends and saying, “I posted a new Instagram picture but it only has six likes, can you go like it so I don’t look lame?”

The concept is the same, but pods take it to the extreme — instead of texting your friends once in a while, you’re in a constant messaging thread, where you’re expected to engage with upwards of twenty or thirty posts a day. Plus, you’ve got to do it in a timely manner, or it won’t work.

But if you’re committed to growing your following, the effort might be worth the reward. To learn which pods to consider joining, and whether it’s even a good idea, read on.

Instagram Engagement Groups

To join an Instagram pod, you can start by checking out a few Facebook groups, such as Instagram Marketing Mastermind Pods. However, since Facebook owns Instagram, there’s a chance your group could get deleted (more on that below).

Additionally, you might try Telegram, a messaging app that hosts pods inside the app. Take a look at Telegram’s engagement group directory (the link will only work once you have a username), and choose one best suited for your business.

Don’t be fooled — it takes a lot of time and effort to find a pod. Since companies don’t typically want to get caught using a pod, pods are often kept secret from the public. Getting caught using a pod could harm your brand’s integrity, since it implies your engagement isn’t authentic.

Which leads us to our next point — are pods even a good idea?

Have Instagram Pods Been Banned?

As reported by Buzzfeed, Facebook recently removed 10 groups on their platform that were employing tactics like trading likes for likes, or encouraging users to join pods on Telegram. Ultimately, all these tactics are meant to “trick” Instagram’s algorithm, which violates their terms of use.

While Instagram pods themselves haven’t been officially banned, it’s clear Facebook and Instagram don’t condone them, which makes them tricky to find and join.

Additionally, it’s doubtful whether pods are a useful long-term strategy. Yes, they get you a boost in engagement on posts you send to your group, but that doesn’t necessarily translate to the kind of engagement you want — namely, comments and likes by people who could buy from you down the road, or become your best brand advocates.

Your engagement metrics will also be skewed, and you’ll no longer be able to tell if your content is resonating with your potential customers. Is your audience liking your content because they feel it’s relatable, or are they liking it because you asked them to?

For instance, I used to ask friends through text to like my Instagram pictures after I’d posted them — my own version of a pod. After a few weeks, I stopped asking. I realized if I didn’t allow my posts to gain natural traction, I’d never know what was working and what wasn’t. If one of my posts doesn’t get a ton of attention, I take it as a sign I should alter my strategy, rather than trying to trick the system.

Ultimately, pods might be worth it for the initial boost, but they can’t substitute authentic engagement, especially if you’re testing to see what type of content works best with your audience. For long-term, sustainable growth, you’ll want to focus on creating content that earns likes and comments on its own. 

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The Trump administration is prepping its initial $4.7 billion bailout to farmers hit by Donald Trump’s trade war with China. Around $3.6 billion of the money will go to soybean farmers, since China has been the top export destination for their product, but corn, cotton, dairy, hogs, sorghum, and wheat farmers are also eligible to apply for the assistance beginning on September 4.

Even from farmers, the reviews are mixed:

“Right now, farmers are hurting, and this aid will allow a momentary reprieve,” said [Minnesota Soybean Growers Association] President Michael Petefish. “Unfortunately, if this trade war continues much longer, this aid package will feel less like a Band-Aid, and more like a reminder of the trade relationships we lost and must rebuild.”

The Trump administration is bypassing Congress by paying for the aid with a Depression-era program, sparing vulnerable Republicans a tough vote before the November midterm elections. This initial $4.7 billion is planned as part of an overall $12 billion in aid to farmers, coming from the party that wants to cut food stamps for hungry families.

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I’ve been an Engineer at Toptal for just about one year now, working on the same project since I joined the network: Ondello, a service that connects doctors and patients over WebRTC.

When I first joined Ondello, I was hired as a Senior Ruby on Rails Developer, tasked to build a service up from scratch. These days, we’re a team of multiple developers working on a fairly large, complex system.

With this post, I’d like to share the story behind Ondello. Specifically, I’d like to talk about: how a simple application became not-so-simple, and how our use of cutting-edge technologies posed problems I’d never considered before.

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Retired Navy SEAL Jocko Willink suggested in a Business Insider interview that everyone should wake up at 4:30 a.m. So that’s exactly what I did for one work week. Following is a transcript of the video.Emma Fierberg: I wanted to test out for myself how waking up at 4:30 affected my productivity. I woke up at 4:30 a.m. for one week, like a Navy SEAL. I’ve read a lot about how Navy SEALs like Jocko Willink wake up at 4:30 in the morning. Jocko famously says that discipline equals freedom.

It is Friday, two days before I start this experiment. Normally my alarm goes off five minutes before 8:00 a.m. Setting my alarm a full three and a half hours earlier is gonna be really scary. Will I survive?

The PlanSee the rest of the story at Business Insider

See Also:

These photos reveal why the 26-year-old organizer of the disastrous Fyre Festival could spend 10 years in prisonHere’s the technique Navy SEALs use to swim for miles without getting tiredIt turns out the soccer ball Putin gifted to Trump really does have a transmitter chip inside

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Since everyone is either on vacation or wishing they were on vacation this week, I felt like doing something more cultural and summery. Not that political horrors aren’t happening daily. We’ll be getting back to those shortly.

I believe the initial idea came from driving past a Jamba Juice and being mildly surprised that Jamba Juice still existed. Are there really enough people out there drinking Strawberry Surf Rider smoothies to sustain a franchise? It seems almost inconceivable to me. Seems like paleo-friendly meat smoothies would be all the rage now. They actually sell cones of meat in Spain. That’s my get-rich plan if cartooning fails.

Help sustain these cartoons — join the Sorensen Subscription Service!

Follow me on Twitter at @JenSorensen

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Fortnite dataminers have discovered the ‘heavy sniper rifle’ weapon, due to be added in the hugely popular battle royale game’s next update, which looks like it will be able to shoot through walls.

The information was first posted by StormshieldOne, which stated the gun would be able to “pierce through the first wall it hits”. The rifle’s bullets seem able to deliver a huge amount of damage, 157 points worth in fact, but this comes at the cost of a slower reload time.

If the dataminers are correct and the gun can indeed pierce through walls, this could really shake up the game. Using wooden defences could become significantly more risky, and some players on Reddit have labelled the move as “anti-building”. It will be interesting to see the gun’s impact when the weapon is added next week.

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Doug Kezirian joins Hannah Storm on SportsCenter to explain why some professional gamblers are aggressive with NFL preseason bets.

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I created this warm tone brown smokey eye for prom or any event. it can be worn day or night. I hope you enjoy!

Please subscribe and leave comments letting me know what you think and what you want to see! —–

Hi I’m Jaclyn Hill from JaclynHill1 on YouTube. I am a professional makeup artist. I’m young, ambitious & full of life. I post makeup tutorials and makeup reviews on all different holidays and themes, like smokey eye tutorials, how to shape and sculpt brow tutorials, challenges/tags, celebrity makeup tutorials like the Kardashians and Jenners along with other celebrity makeup looks, hair tutorials and more! I hope you love my makeup tutorials.

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