One of the benefits to our HubHack membership is the ability to join an Instagram Engagement Group, otherwise known as an Instagram Pod.


If you are NOT a HubHack member, you will not have access to this page.  If you signed up prior to my making it protected, I have ignored your request because I just got way too many.  You can either sign up for HubHack OR start your own engagement group.

You’re probably aware that Instagram has an algorithm.  While no one know the actual “code” it’s widely believed that in order for your post to be shown in the Top Nine, to be shown when someone clicks the 🔍 (magnifying glass to search), AND for your post to be shown in more users’ feeds, you need

(ding ding ding ding ding…)

ENGAGEMENT.  Likes and comments.

In fact, we do know this – that a comment with only emojis DOES NOT COUNT as engagement!  A comment must contain three words in order to count!

Now, I wrote an entire epic blog post on how to beat the Insta-algorithm.

But one way to do it is by joining an Engagement Group.

This post is 100% devoted to that.

So, let’s get started.

I want to throw out there that as a part of your HubHack monthly membership, I will add you to an engagement group!  That’s a bonus part of being a member.  So, if you’re a member, go ahead and skip down to Step #3.  Steps 1 – 2(1-7) will be done for you 🙂

  1. Get a group together of committed ‘grammers, hopefully people in your niche, hopefully that you would genuinely enjoy following anyway.  Your comments will be more sincere if this is the case, although it’s not a requirement.  I was in an engagement and really enjoyed most of the accounts.  About the time I stopped participating they added an account whole sole purpose was fashion for the uber-wealthy.  My interest in high-priced fashion? Um, less than 0%.
  2. Add everyone to a DM.  To do this:
    1. Swipe left, or from your home screen, tap the in-box in the upper right hand corner of your screen.
    2. Tap the + sign in the upper right corner of this screen (your direct messages screen.)
    3. Select Send Message.
    4. Type in the @usernames of the people who will be in the group.  Stick with 8-10 people.  That’s a sweet spot for number of people.  More than that, and you’ll feel like you’re spending too much time on it.  Less than that, and it might not be enough to really make much of an impact.  (For HubHack members that want to join an engagement group, I’m going to initially cap them at 8 people and will continue to create more groups.  The most you’ll have at one time will be 10 people until there’s another group to move them into.)
    5. Type in your message in the text field.  Now, to keep it clean, I’ll add an example below.  I do think it’s important to welcome members and also lay out the rules.  We’ll get to the rules in a sec.
    6. After sending your initial welcome/rules message to the group, go ahead and change the name of the message thread by clicking the little i with a circle around it, in the upper right hand corner of the screen.  Here, you can change the Group Name.  Change it to something like, “Engagement Group” or “Instagram Pod” or be creative and call is “Hot Mamas on Insta” or something to that effect.  That might actually make me smile every time I opened a message, so maybe go that direction.
    7. Appoint someone to be the Admin.  It’s a thankless job, but somebody’s gotta do it.  This is the person that will call people out if they’re not following the rules and generally make sure everyone’s playing nice.  I’ve never had a bad experience, but I’ve heard that it’s not uncommon.  So, you need a point person, a leader, to ensure things run smoothly.
  3. Ok, start here if you’re a HubHack member!  After posting a picture and all of your hashtags, now you’re going to share your post to the Engagement Group.  
    1. Go ahead and tap on that little curved arrow (if you’re looking at the post you just made, it’s in the row where you see the heart outline, the comment bubble, and then – there’s the curved arrow.  Tap it to send this post/picture as a DM to your group.
    2. Instagram will ask you who to send it to – you will see options below of recently used message threads.  You can swipe to the left to see more.  Tap on your Engagement Group’s thread.  No need to type in an additional message (although you can if you feel you need to.)  At this point, I would just send your post to the group thread by tapping Send to Group.
    3. After your post sends, go back into the group message thread and be sure to engage with any posts you might have missed.  All you have to do is tap on the post/picture within the message thread, it’ll take you directly to the post.  Like the post, read the caption, and leave a thoughtful comment of 3 or more words.  You can add emoji’s, but the comment itself must include 3 or more words.
    4. Then, tap back to the message thread and double tap the post to give it a heart ❤️ to indicate that you’ve engaged with it.

Now, it’s time for the Rules.  Your admin will want to establish these rules and periodically remind members of them.  Always re-post the rules anytime a new member joins (if members drop out, as happens occasionally.)

Rules for Engagement Groups

  1. Only one post per day can be sent to the group message thread.  You can certainly post as many pictures a day to Instagram as you’d like, but only ONE post can be sent to the group thread for engagement.  (If it were me, I’d pick my best or most important post that day – the one I want the most engagement with.)
  2. If you post a picture to the group that day, you MUST engage with all of the other posts that day.  If you miss a day, or a few days, no worries.  Pick back up and engage with the pictures posted the day you post.  You don’t need to go back and engage with several days worth of posts, but it’s a nice thing to do, but definitely don’t feel that it’s required.
  3. You must leave comments of three words or more; preferably not spammy.  Commenting on every single picture, “Oh, what a nice picture!” is not gonna work long term and you’ll annoy your group members.
  4. You must “heart” the post within the message thread so that members know that you’ve completed the engagement with it.  If you don’t do this, they’ll assume you’re not engaging with their content.

Best Practices for Engagement Groups

  1. To be successful at beating the algorithm and hitting the Top Nine, you need engagement within the first hour or few that a post is made.  It would be a Best Practice to Turn On Post Notifications for members in your group and engage as soon as a post is made.  I don’t expect you to be on Insta 24/7 but do try to be helpful to your group members.  Typically, every time I tap to open Insta, I’ll check to see if posts have been made and engage with them.  Then, I’ll do my post, I’ll scroll around, etc.  Just make it a priority.
  2. If a group member makes a post that you fundamentally disagree with and feel like you can’t morally like and leave a positive comment, then don’t.  But you might want to contact your admin just to let them know.  On the flip side, try not to send your controversial posts to the engagement group.
  3. If someone in the group isn’t playing by the rules, you can contact your admin or try a gentle reminder.  “Oh, I think you’ve already posted to the group today?”  May be all that person needs to remember the one-per-day rule.

Our hope is that you’ll enjoy the engagement groups – there’s typically a lot of off-topic banter that goes on as well, and you’ll probably become good friends.  Drama won’t be tolerated.  If there’s a particular person that you don’t work well with, we can find a different group for you or that other person.  But I think you’ll find that it’s a lot of fun!

Any questions?  Let me hear ’em!