If you’ve been using Instagram for a while, chances are, you’ve heard the term ”Instagram shoutout” or just ”shoutout” a number of times.
And as with all unfamiliar terms, you get confused. This is the reason why we have the social media glossary in the first place.
Instagram has exploded in popularity over the years, and now, it has turned into a marketing tool that a huge number of brands leverage, including industry giants like Coca-Cola and BMW.
If you’re using Instagram, chances are, you want to grow your Instagram followers. You probably already know that there are a whole array of methods you can use to grow your followers, but have you also thought about using an Instagram shoutout?
Instagram shoutouts can be tremendously powerful for growing followers on Instagram if used correctly, but first, you obviously need to know what an Instagram shoutout is and how you use it.
What’s An Instagram Shoutout?
At its core, an Instagram shoutout is when an account makes a post dedicated to promoting a particular account on Instagram with the purpose of driving them followers and eyeballs. Shoutouts don’t only exist on Instagram, they exist on essentially all social media platforms, but they are especially common on Instagram due to the platform’s infrastructure.
How an Instagram shoutout works:
Shoutouts can vary in nature quite a bit on Instagram, however, the main purpose of it remains, and that is to draw awareness to an Instagram account, and thus followers.
The most common form of Instagram shoutout is very simple. You get ready to share a post like you normally would, and then, in the caption of the post, you include ”follow @” (tagging the account you’re giving a shoutout to).
In other words, a shoutout means giving instructions to people to go and follow the account they’re shouting out.
The name is quite revealing and just refers to ”shouting an account out to the people to bring them awareness”
The process mentioned above is the most common form of Instagram shoutout, but there are a number of more ways that it can take place.
The other type is when you screenshot the account you wish to give a shoutout of and then posting that image to your feed. This approach is more uncommon since it creates a not so appealing post that will be poorly received and thus generate worse results as opposed to if you would share a visually appealing image to grasp people’s attention.
Another form of Instagram shoutout that is actually quite common is when you take a photo from the account you wish to give an Instagram shoutout to, and then tagging them in the post. The reason why this is so effective is that you give your own followers a sneak-peak of what they can expect if they follow the account you’re giving a shoutout to. Therefore, if you take a photo that is appealing and engaging, people will be more likely to go to the account you’re shouting out and starting to follow them because they enjoy the content they share.
Normally, or almost always in an Instagram shoutout, the account that is being shouted out is tagged in the post so that people can effortlessly go to it without having to look them up manually.
In recent times, shoutouts have become more common on Instagram Stories than in regular posts. That is because Stories gain great traction and exposure, but while they do so, they don’t clutter your feed, and the posts aren’t up permanently either.
The follower count doesn’t matter here, and you can get a shoutout from an account with 20 or 200K followers, however, generally, the more followers they have, the harder it will be to get them to give you a shoutout.
For greater impact with your Instagram shoutouts, you want to write a reason why people should follow a certain account. If you just write ”follow @”, people will wonder why they should do so, but when you clearly present the value proposition, people will be more likely to take the time to check them out and follow them.
The benefits of getting Instagram shoutouts are huge, especially when you get them from major accounts.
When Rolex got Instagram, they asked all their ambassadors to make a post about them and welcome them to Instagram. As you can expect, their ambassadors have several million followers each, and when all of them gave shoutouts to Rolex, they went from roughly 70K followers to 250K followers in a matter of 4 days. That’s powerful.
This gives you an idea of how effective shoutouts really are when used the right way and the marketing potential that is available. And to a large extent, shoutouts is exactly what social media influencers give brands, only that they make the shoutouts more detailed and specific.
Sharing a snippet of another user’s Instagram profile and tagging or mentioning that user in the image’s caption may encourage your followers to check out the profiles you suggest.
If they like what they see, they might choose to follow your shoutout recipients which is the whole purpose of a shoutout.
Here’s an example of how a shoutout can look like. Do note, however, that it isn’t very common to shoutout yourself because the people who follow you are already following you. The only thing that it is great for is that it can work as a CTA for people who accidentally come across your post.
What Does S4S Mean?
S4S stands for ”shoutout for shoutout” and essentially means that the shoutout favor is mutual. Many people think that all shoutouts are S4S, but this is only the case when two accounts give each other shoutouts, not only when one person does it.
The reason why S4S:s are common is that they are mutually beneficial. Obviously, I can’t ask you for a favor of giving me a shoutout and then give nothing in return. As such, people then approach other accounts on Instagram asking them if they would want to exchange shoutouts, and what happens then is that people who are following one account may start to follow the other account and vice versa.
How to get an Instagram shoutout (when doing S4S)
Getting a shoutout isn’t always easy. S4S:s are more common since it is much easier to convince people to give you a shoutout when you give one in return, but that’s not all.
The first step you need to take is to identify suitable accounts which can give you shoutouts. In identifying these accounts, you need to think about a number of things:
What is your value proposition?
A mistake that I see people make all of the time is asking people to give them a shoutout without having value proposition whatsoever. If you’re approaching a large account (or any account for that matter) and asking them if they could give you a shoutout, everyone would say no. Or, more correctly, most people wouldn’t respond.
This is because a stranger they’ve never spoken with before asks them for a favor, and the first approach to them is to ask for something. That doesn’t look too good in most people’s eyes. To get shoutouts, you need to have a value proposition. And you need to make sure that the value that is exchanged is mutually beneficial for both parts. Obviously, if you have 1K followers and ask an account with 100K followers, they would say no, because the value exchange is so much greater for you than it is for them.
Find similarly sized accounts
Based on what I said above, you need to look for accounts that are similar in size to yours to ask for shoutouts. This ensures that the value exchange is similar and the shoutouts are equally mutual. Don’t even bother reaching out to accounts that are much larger than you, because they won’t even respond.
Find accounts in the same niche and with similar content
This is quite important actually. The thing is, when you get a shoutout, the purpose is that the audience is going to start following you, but in order to get them to do so, they have to be interested in your account and the content you share. But if your own account and the account you get a shoutout from are very different, it will create a disconnect and make the results less effective. Obviously, if I am following a fishing account and am interested in fishing, and then you recommend me to follow a fitness page, I will be less likely to actually do it.
This is why it is important that the account you get a shoutout from is focusing on the same niche as you because this will mean that their audience will be interested in your page and content as well.
Engage and interact before reaching out
Before reaching out, make sure you engage and interact with them. You’re probably aware of the fact that we’re much more likely to respond to messages from people we recognize as opposed to people we don’t know, and this is because messages from people we don’t know or recognize are plain cold messages.
Therefore, take your time to leave thoughtful comments, like their posts, and be supportive of their page and content.
And remember, this is a way for you to bring value to them at the same time.
How to get an Instagram shoutout in other ways
The number one, and most common way to get an Instagram shoutout is to simply pay for it.
Everything is for sale at the right price, and so is shoutouts from large Instagram accounts. The single most effective way to get shoutouts is, therefore, to buy them from accounts, and this is great because it allows you to get shoutouts from large Instagram accounts which gain you traction directly, even if you yourself don’t have a lot of followers, and you have to start somewhere, right?
Sure, getting shoutouts from large Instagram accounts with several hundred thousand followers or even millions is going to cost you.
Provide upfront value
This is a tactic that demands hard work, but when executed correctly can drive great results. When you’ve built a relationship with someone and then ask them for a favor, they’ll be much more likely to say yes, right? This principle is equal to if a stranger would walk up to you on the street asking you for a favor as opposed to your best friend doing the same thing. When you’ve focused on bringing value and building your relationship with people, they’ll be much more likely to say yes when you finally ask them for an Instagram shoutout. Therefore, the best way isn’t to go and doing cold outreaches to people asking them for shoutouts, but instead, the most effective way is to build relationships end engaging with them beforehand.
Think about when looking to get an Instagram Shoutout
A mistake a lot of people make is they spam-comment ”S4S” or ”Shoutout” on people’s posts in the hopes of getting recognized and then doing a shoutout for shoutout with that person.
The only problem is that very seldom, it works effectively.
The way you get someone to do a S4S with you is not by spamming their posts in the comment section, because if you do, they’ll just see you as a spammer and ignore you.
Additionally, many people do this because they’re a little carried away with getting people to do shoutouts with, and therefore, they turn to every account they can come across and spam their comments. And when doing this, the risk is that you’ll spam a lot of people without actually analyzing their accounts based on the criteria mentioned above.
Look at the criteria as mentioned above and then reach out to people accordingly. But how should you reach out to people if not through there comment sections?
With Instagram Direct Message, of course.
Reach out to people using Instagram Direct Message
Instagram Direct Message is a super powerful engagement and relationship-building tool that is great for reaching out to people and building relationships.
If you reach out to people in their comment sections, many will just see you as a spammer and ignore you for good, but Direct Message is a more professional way of reaching out which allows you to talk to people in private.
Reach out to people by email
You can also reach out to people by email to ask them if they’d like to do an Instagram shoutout if they have their email visible. The downside with email is that it is slow as opposed to Direct Message, but at least it comes off as professional.
Paid Instagram shoutouts
If you are ready to pay for Instagram shoutouts, you’ll have a much easier time actually getting people to do shoutouts of your account. The process is very simple. Simply look for accounts that meet all of the criteria mentioned above (except that the number of followers doesn’t matter). Just know that the more followers people have, the more they’ll charge you for a shoutout.
How can you get Free Instagram shoutouts?
This is a common question when it comes to Instagram shoutouts.
Of course, nothing in life is free, but when it comes to monetary compensation for an Instagram shoutout, you can get shoutouts without having to pay in money.
The most common way is obviously S4S, which means that you provide them value and they do the same for you.
The problem, however, is that if you don’t have a lot of followers yourself, you can’t really do Instagram shoutouts. Doing shoutouts when having 300 followers and doing it with other accounts that have the same amount of followers won’t really gain you much traction because it is on a so small scale. Therefore, shoutouts are only truly powerful if you have a large number of followers. Otherwise, the time it takes to set up the Instagram shoutouts will be too much for the return it gives.
The best way to get shoutouts if you don’t have a lot of followers on Instagram is, therefore, to pay for them.
Benefits of getting an Instagram Shoutout
As you’ve demonstrated in this article, the benefits of an Instagram shoutout are many. They help you build your following, establish your presence, increase your brand awareness, and it can even help you increase sales.
Here are some of the benefits of an Instagram shoutout:
- Increased number of likes on your posts
- Reaching a new audience that is within your target audience
- Increase your exposure
- Grow your followers
- Increased chance of getting in ‘Top Posts’ section for a hashtag
What you learned in this article:
- In this article, you learned the following:
- What is a shoutout
- What is an Instagram shoutout
- How to get shoutouts on Instagram
- How you can get free Instagram shoutouts
If you still have questions about Instagram shoutouts, don’t hesitate to let me know in the comment section below and I’ll answer them!