Given the fact that Instagram is home to more than one billion users every month, it’s crucial for your business to have an active presence on the platform, reaching a good number of those users, and calling attention to your brand. In order to do this though, you’ll need to grow your following through a number of different avenues, for instance through the use of comments and likes.
Another way that you can help to build your following is by participating in an Instagram Pod. These Pods are invitation-only groups of users, businesses, or brands, which all have something in common, or have largely the same following. All members of a Pod work together to comment on and to like some of the posts shared by Pod users, which means everyone is helping all the others out.
The only problem with this strategy is that Pods are not very easy to find on the platform, and even when you do find them, you can only join them by invitation. The obvious workaround to this situation is to start your own Pod, and here’s how you can do that.
Gather a group of Instagram users
In order to build a really effective Pod, you’ll have to choose Instagram users who are like-minded, and who share some of the same interests which you do. These users should post consistently about many of the same topics you do, and hopefully at least some of those posts are very creative and appealing.
Ideally the users you gather up for your Pod should have a similar follower count to your own. To start with, you should keep the size of your Pod fairly small, perhaps no more than 15 users, because this will allow room for growth, with your user members being allowed to invite promising prospects into the Pod.
Send direct messages to your prospects
After you have figured out who you want to invite into your Pod, send them a direct message with an invitation to join. In the message that you send, you should inform them that you’re seeking to create a group of like-minded entrepreneurs who can support each other on the platform. You should also mention that you have read some of their posts, and that you consider them a good fit for your Pod.
If it turns out that they decline or don’t answer at all, you can simply wait until you find another prospect and extend the same invitation to that user. It shouldn’t take long before you see your Pod grow and expand with some very talented and clever individuals, all of whom you can relate well to, and who can be mutually supportive in achieving your business goals.
Establish a pod name
Give some thought to naming your Pod, because the name will be the first thing seen by other users, and it will convey a powerful first impression in terms of the function and purpose of your Pod. It should be something which relates strongly to your individual niche, and it should also be a name which inspires excitement about the group, and about supporting each other. It’s no exaggeration to say that the Pod name may serve as a strong enticement for other users to accept your invitation to join the group.
Send a welcoming message
Once you have named your Pod, and you’ve sent out invitations to all those individuals whom you would like to join your group, you should compose another direct message which is intended as a welcoming message to group members. Some founders of Pods prefer to handle all messages using Instagram direct messages, while others prefer to maintain all Pod activity in another service such as Skype or Telegram, in order to separate and segregate all Pod activity into a single application.
However you choose to manage this, you’ll need to develop a welcome message that expresses your appreciation for users accepting your invitation, and which spells out the ground rules you’ve established for your Pod. You should make it clear to all those invited how you want your Pod to work, as well as any constraints or prohibitions you have within the Pod.
As an example, you may want to let everyone know that all users must comment and like each member’s post, shortly after it has been introduced to the group. You may also want to specify that every comment must be unique to the post, and that all comments must be in full sentences rather than simple two or three-word phrases.
You might also want to enable post notifications for all your Pod members, so that it’s much easier to see when anyone has offered content to engage with. This will only work if all Pod members put forth a little effort, so make sure you alert your members that engagement with posts placed there by other members is important to the group. No one should enter the group thinking that their objective is simply to obtain attention and kudos for their own posts.
Establish relationships outside the pod
Since Instagram is all about building community and establishing relationships, members of your Pod should always be connecting with users outside the Pod and even outside Instagram, to build a greater community. All group members should be sharing ideas on how they can make their accounts better, and everyone should be providing feedback as well.
At various points, it may be convenient and worthwhile for your Pod members to have a Skype meeting, so that all members can voice their opinions about how the Pod is being run and what it can achieve. The thing that makes Pods worthwhile is 100% group participation, and working to establish relationships outside the group will be beneficial, so that you don’t have the same 15 or 20 people commenting on your posts every single day.
Obtaining fresh ideas and fresh perspectives benefits everyone, and that’s why you should always be on the lookout to expand the boundaries of your Pod, and to include fresh commentary whenever possible. While you won’t want to have a Pod be your only source of engagement on Instagram, it can definitely be one of the most productive and one of the most helpful to your brand.
As a supplementary vehicle, there are few things that can be more effective than a Pod for fostering engagement and sharing among a group of like-minded individuals.