Check out my findings about shoutouts!
Shoutouts are everywhere on every social network including Instagram!
It will always be a significant source of income for most accounts, especially ambassadors, re-posters and social influencers.
You can easily purchase a shoutout by direct messaging an account you’re interested in, on Instagram or shoutout marketplaces like Featurehub and Shoutcart.
There are also groups of accounts, usually within the same niche that trade shoutouts regularly to increase their followers.
We call that “shoutout for shoutout” or S4S.
What is a shoutout?
To me, a shoutout on Instagram is an advertisement, to make followers be aware and follow another Instagram account/brand/page.
On influencer marketplaces like Famebit, it’s called sponsorship.
For ambassadors and social influencers, they’re required to endorse the brand with a photo or video of themselves with the brand’s product.
If followers are willing to follow, they’re probably interested in the person or brand that paid for the shoutout.
Hence, a good shoutout will increase the buyer’s followers and likes significantly within 24 hours.
What I think about shoutouts
When I first started my account, the temptation to buy shoutouts from bigger accounts was huge.
I thought it’d be easy to get followers quickly if I advertised on accounts with thousands of followers when I had much less.
However, looking back, I’m super glad I didn’t buy any shoutouts.
Over the past 6 months, I re-posted a ton of photos from other accounts and monitored shoutouts made by popular social media influencers on Instagram.
Furthermore, I looked at accounts selling shoutouts in various marketplaces and accounts growing with S4S.
Last but not least, I sold shoutouts myself to people who messaged me on Instagram!
My experience and findings with shoutouts are as follows:
1.Your content determines the success of your shoutout
Content is still king.
If you have interesting posts, other accounts will naturally re-post your content free of charge.
Both buyer and seller of the shoutout may share the same niche, but if the buyer’s page content isn’t differentiated and interesting enough, the shoutout will result in minimal increase of followers.
2.One shoutout is not enough
My understanding is that without continuous batched shoutouts, followers will just shrug off the shoutout as an advertisement.
However, with the same caption ” FOLLOW @YOUR ACCOUNT” in every recent post, the chances of obtaining new followers increases dramatically.
Your account may be seen as a “partner” page and people tend to follow accounts in the same niche.
This may be the reason why S4S is so rampant on Instagram.
3. Shoutout for shoutout(S4S) gets you new followers at the expense of your engagement
There’s no doubt that accounts engaged in S4S regularly grow fast.
Any account with more than 30,000 followers will definitely experience being approached by other accounts to trade shoutouts.
However, from my observation, accounts that S4S regularly have bad engagement.
Why? Because these accounts tend to spam their followers and shoutout 5 to 10 accounts every post.
Brands that buy shoutouts to grow also have bad engagement.
Anything below 1% engagement is bad.
It looks horrible if you have 100, 000 followers with barely 1,000 likes every post. I’ve also seen accounts with 500,00 to 1 million followers barely pulling 1,000 likes too.These accounts are basically worthless.
4.Most accounts on shoutout marketplaces are filled with dead or fake followers.
When I wanted to buy shoutouts, I was looking a several websites and even contacted a couple of accounts. Thankfully, none of them responded.
I was looking to spend under 10 to 30 bucks for a 24 hours shoutout and surprisingly there were many accounts with more than 100,000 thousand followers offering cheap shoutouts.
It made me suspicious.
Next, I checked these accounts on Instagram and SocialBlade one by one.
What I found out was all these accounts were barely active, have bad engagement and losing followers everyday. If they were not losing followers, they were only growing less than 200 new followers a day.
How are these accounts going to help you grow if they’re barely growing themselves?
In other words, they don’t have a loyal following and any shoutouts bought from them won’t produce any results.
6.Shoutouts with high likes doesn’t necessarily translate to new followers
Whenever an Instafamous model with more than million followers shouts out a new brand, I’ve always go check the brand’s page.
The shoutout looks like any other post with lots of likes and comments. Most comments about how good looking the model is, not the product.
I’m not talking about established protein, diet tea, bikini or teeth whitening brands we usually see on Instagram because these brands have plenty of cash to burn and they need models for their products.
I’m taking about new brands with limited budget, looking to break out, like new mobile apps, games or tech products.
Shoutouts from REAL social influencers with more than a million followers cost thousands per post.
But everytime I check the new brand’s page, the number of followers are usually under 10,000. Some are still under 1,000. Numbers achievable in a short time and cost a lot less.
I wanted to offer examples but there are plenty on Instagram! Just look it up if you have time to kill!
Then there’s the demographics of the influencer’s followers to take into account. I giggle every time a female influencer/model shouts out bikinis, diet teas or slimming products when most of her followers are likely male who just love her sexy photos.
Definitely, there are female influencers popular with women. These girls are usually in fashion and make up niches, and probably make a lot more money compared to bikini and fitness models.
Probably why most female influencers kept their accounts personal and not change it to business. Their Instagram Insights will be interesting to see.
Maybe these brands just to make me look? Maybe.
To sum it up, I believe buying shoutouts are a gamble.
I’m not saying all shoutouts are bad but growing your account by buying shoutouts is likely the most expensive option.
I’ve given shoutouts that were successful mostly because the content was amazing. Within 24 hours, the account gained more than a thousand followers, sometimes more than two.
There are a lot of details to consider for a shoutout to be successful and the last thing you want to do is to buy useless shoutouts from crap accounts.