There are thousands of travelers out there trying to gain traction for their route to Insta-fame. And why not? Everyone loves to travel, and everyone loves to share their amazing experiences while traveling. Instagram gives people a platform not only to share their experiences, but use their audience to, in short, get free stuff.
Up-and-coming travel bloggers see the success of famous travelers and want to try to duplicate on at least some level. You know those people with hundreds of thousands of Instagram followers and blog readers? They have it made. Trust me. They make an obscene amount of money through sponsorships and likely travel at heavily discounted rates thanks to free stays, free tours, products, or even flat-out completely free trips.
So yeah, why wouldn’t you do everything in your power to try and increase your social media following? One of these newer methods that I’ve participated in is something called an Instagram pod. It’s basically just a group on Instagram where everyone mutually agrees to support each other by liking and commenting on everyone in the group’s pics.
Why? There’s a number of reasons, but the main reason I do it is it increases engagement. My posts typically get 1,500-2,000 likes, but it usually takes a killer post to hit 100 comments. Those comments from other large Instagrammers can help to start conversations in the comment sections, while also showing up on the “following” feeds of the other accounts’ followings. If I commented on my friend’s picture, it would show up on the following feed as “@ThePartyingTraveler commented on @GenericTravelBlogger’s picture.” If any of my 45,000 followers happens to be looking there at the time, and @GenericTravelBlogger happened to catch their attention, then I just gained someone a follower. One person alone doesn’t make a difference, but when you join four or five Instagram pods with 15 people each, it does add up.
It also bolsters your own comment counts, which is huge when negotiating with companies that want to work with you. Since joining a few travel pods, my average comment count has gone up to average around 80-100 comments per post.
It shows strong engagement and interest from an account’s followers. We all want to see each other succeed, so when one of us sends that triumphant “SPONSORED POST!!” message, you know we are all coming out in full force to participate in giveaways or contests and support the company featured by the traveler. That kind of enthusiasm snowballs into more and more people participating in competitions or looking into the featured company. You might usually scroll past a sponsored post, but when you see that it has dozens of comments talking about the company and praising it, wouldn’t that at least pique your interest enough to take a look at the company?
With Instagram’s new algorithms, people are often discussing the actual measurable outcomes of being in a travel pod. Some say that Instagram is cracking down on these “hacks” to their new algorithms that show high engagement posts first. Is there any actual factual evidence to Instagram doing this? I don’t think so. I’ve noticed others talking about their engagement actually going down or followers stagnating since joining a travel pod, but I have not experienced this. I think the idea that Instagram is cracking down on direct message groups is nothing more than a rumor.
Are there any other benefits to joining an Instagram travel pod? Absolutely. Perhaps the best one is the fact that you are able to make friends with other travelers and maybe even meet up with them along the way. Meeting travelers on Instagram is just like meeting travelers while you’re actually traveling. You get to hear their stories, see their experiences, and they also happen to be overwhelmingly Australian or Dutch.
I’ve met some awesome people and extremely talented photographers through Instagram, and sharing in their successes and struggles is a priceless benefit of joining a travel pod.
Thanks for reading! Make sure to check out my Instagram here.