Instagram shoutout hashtag research

The Art of the Instagram Shoutout: How to Get the Most Out of Your Influencer Collaborations

As we move into 2022, Instagram has become a social media powerhouse. With over 1 billion users and a fast-growing network of influencers churning out millions of posts each year, Instagram ranks #1 in the list of the most important and impactful platforms for users, brands, and influencers alike. 

This year, the influencer marketing industry is expected to hit $13.8bn. Instagram posts are still the most used format of influencer marketing and there’s one tactic that doesn’t seem to be going out of style anytime soon: the Instagram shoutout

Welcome to the comprehensive guide on Instagram shoutouts. We’ll start by answering a common question—What is an Instagram shoutout?—look at some types, how to get shoutouts on Instagram, and learn how and why Instagram shoutouts can work for your own brand.

You’ll learn how to effectively use this advertising method to increase brand awareness, get new followers on Instagram, and make the most out of your influencer marketing strategy. Let’s get started!

What is an Instagram shoutout?

An Instagram shoutout is basically a public plug or endorsement from one Instagram account to another. 

It’s a unique way for brands to gain awareness for what they’re offering and grow their audience in a targeted way. From paid influencer shoutouts to free user-generated content, brands can benefit by increasing engagement and reaching new audiences by using a shoutout post for Instagram.

In many cases, shoutouts are a tactic that falls under influencer marketing—a massive trend that has more than doubled in the past couple of years and doesn’t show signs of stopping anytime soon.

Here’s how they work: another Instagram account promotes your brand, product or service on their account, tagging and referencing yours in the process. Often, the Instagram account giving the shoutout has a lot of followers, meaning they can reach a lot of people and potentially influence their followers to buy your products and follow your own account. That is why these accounts are often called “influencers”.

Shoutout posts often involve photos or videos from the account they’re shouting out. This is one of the fastest and most effective ways to build followers and gain awareness on Instagram. We’ll get into these and other benefits that come with Instagram shoutouts from influencers later on in the article.

Types of Instagram shoutouts

If you’re researching how to get a shoutout on Instagram, you’ve probably run into a few different terms for this tactic. Insta shoutout, shoutout for shoutout, like for a shoutout, IG shoutout—what do they all mean?

Let’s take a closer look at the different types of shoutout posts for Instagram and what sets them apart. 

By compensation method:

  • Paid shoutouts: The classic influencer marketing tactic, a paid shoutout is when you pay a user to promote your brand. Payment can come in the form of cash or via an exchange for a free product or access to your service.
  • (Free) product shoutout: Very similar to a paid shoutout, except instead of money, the influencer receives your product for free, a discount, or even a voucher. 
  • Shoutout for shoutout: Also called S4S, this type of shoutout is basically a simple trade: you each agree to give a shoutout on your respective pages to the other account. It’s a win-win situation!
  • Word-of-mouth shoutout: This is the most valuable type of shoutout. Also called a voluntary shoutout, this happens when someone is so happy with your product or service, they just decide to post it on Instagram and tell their followers about it.
  • Affiliate marketing shoutout: This shoutout implies a contract between the influencer and the brand. The influencer will post a shoutout for the brand and will add their own affiliate link to the shoutout, earning back a percentage of sales or a discount. 

By goal:

  • More followers: An Instagram shoutout is one of the fastest and most effective ways to build a following on the platform.
  • More sales: Influencers can share shoutouts with a CTA that encourages their followers to visit your store or website to buy your product or try your service.
  • To promote a specific campaign/launch: Shoutouts attract more followers, which attracts more likes and comments. This type of engagement can be a great way of attracting attention to a new product or event.

By format:

  • Post in feed: In-feed posts rank as the most popular content format for influencer marketing on Instagram. They can include a single photo, carousel, video or Reel. Sponsored Instagram posts have become ubiquitous because they are easy to produce, approve, and publish, therefore easy to scale up.
  • Stories: Instagram Stories are the second most used format for shoutouts. They originally gained popularity on Snapchat and today over 500 million Instagram users use Stories every day.
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What can an Instagram shoutout do for your business?

Social media has spawned some of the biggest content creators and promotional talent over the last few years, more than any other platform in existence.

It has given normal people an opportunity to build their own brand through stimulating content and engagement. We are living in a new, vibrant creator economy, with more than 50 million independent content creators, curators, and community builders fueling one of today’s fastest-growing business segments.

These new influencers are more relatable and trusted than traditional celebrities, and marketers are paying attention. Consumer behaviors on mobile apps are creating greater opportunities for brands to more easily monetize and market to defined and engaged audiences.

Creators now have the necessary tools at their disposal required to produce top-class content, and the Instagram shoutout has redefined itself as an undeniable marketing tactic to access a dedicated audience. Here’s what incorporating Instagram shoutouts into your marketing strategy can do for your brand:

1. Increase brand awareness.

Building awareness around a brand, product or service is the most popular goal for influencer marketing campaigns and shoutouts are a great way of achieving that. Brand awareness is generally measured through impressions, reach and engagement metrics.

2. Reach new audiences.

Shoutouts are a great way of reaching an influencer’s dedicated audience, if you work with the right ones—more on that later on in the article. Influencers should be willing to share their audience data (age, gender, location, interests, etc.) to help ensure alignment with your target audience.

3. Acquire better customers. 

It’s a done deal: 51% of marketers say influencer marketing helps brands acquire better customers. Building relationships with influencers who resonate with your brand and creating influencer campaigns that are aligned with the values of an influencer’s followers will help increase your conversion and retention rates.

3. Generate sales.

Shoutouts can help you drive tangible sales. You can track these using ProductLead Influencer & ROI analytics, custom links, landing pages, and redemption codes. Ensure accurate measurement and determine which influencers are a good fit for your business.

4. Improve brand advocacy.

49% of consumers depend on influencer recommendations. This statistic highlights the growing importance of social media influencers for brands to connect with their audiences. Influencers can provide strong validation and spark word-of-mouth conversations about your product or brand amongst their fans. 

5. Drive lead generation.

Another popular direct response metric for influencer marketing campaigns, names and emails can be collected through newsletter subscriptions, account setups, or giveaway entries and used in future campaigns.

The art and science of a great Instagram shoutout

There’s no single right way to get an Instagram shoutout, but there are things you can do that can increase your chances of receiving a positive response from an influencer—and great results from the shoutout itself. 

Here’s a 4-step strategy for getting the best results out of an Instagram shoutout from an influencer.

1. Find influencers that post similar content as your page

Search for influencers directly on Instagram using industry-specific hashtags. If you’re looking for free shoutouts in exchange for shoutouts, make sure to select pages with a similar follower count as yours, to increase your chances of a positive response.

If you want to research influencers that perform for your business, use ProductLead to handpick your next collaborators based on their previous work. Once you determine what metrics are important for your brand, match the insights in a single dedicated dashboard and make the choice that’s best for business.

2. Be picky about who you choose

Getting a shoutout from random pages which are not even from your industry won’t do you any good. Instead, try searching for influencers in your niche using influencer tools like BuzzStream or BuzzSumo.

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Before making your choice, make sure your potential partners are compatible with your brand and campaign idea. Look carefully through their profile, posts, and stories and check out how many followers they have, the content, tone, and feel of their profile, how many likes and comments their posts get on average, and the types of engagement their posts are receiving.

If you’ve already got an existing influencer database to choose from, you can use ProductLead to maximize your business ROI by analyzing influencer campaign results. According to the The State of Influencer Marketing 2021 Report, 65% of marketers feel that measuring ROI continues to be the biggest pain point in influencer marketing. ProductLead solves this issue by letting you see where, when and with whom you’ve had the best results and plan your future influencer campaigns accordingly. 

Looking to go one step further? 86% of marketers are already using shoppable links to allow consumers to go from inspiration to purchase instantly, showing that shoppability is a hot trend in influencer marketing. The ProductLead Conversion Tracking via Analytics feature lets you see conversions generated by the social media content embedded in shoppable galleries, directly on your website.

ProductLead conversion tracking dashboard

3. Build relationships before pitching them

Once you decide that a person or brand is a good candidate, take these steps to build a relationship that will heighten your chances of getting a valuable Instagram shoutout:

  • Follow their Instagram account, as well as any other social media accounts and blogs.
  • Periodically engage with their posts by liking and commenting on them. Only leave comments that add real value.

Basically, you’re trying to bring up relevant discussion topics or ask meaningful questions that show you’re really paying attention and care about their work on Instagram.

4. Start a conversation with a thoughtful message or email

Now that you’ve selected the right influencer for the job, create a relevant pitch and choose the right channel to approach them through. That can be either an Instagram Direct message or an email, if they provide an address in their profile info.
Be transparent about what you’re looking for and how you’d generally like it to pan out. If you’re using ProductLead, you can create briefs for influencers and easily include important details, like what type of content you want each influencer to create, theme, duration, hashtags, and the compensation method.

Influencer brief dashboard in ProductLead

For the latter, you have 4 options to choose from, either separately or as a combination: 

  • Paid – you can select a currency and an amount, as well as include a description of the payment;
  • Vouchers – include a description mentioning the voucher’s value;
  • Product Sampling – a description explaining what products and what value the influencer would be receiving;
  • Custom – a description of what you’ll be providing, that doesn’t exist in the other categories, such as a free ticket to an event.

How to use ProductLead to get the most out of an Instagram shoutout

Whether you’re already collaborating with influencers or you’re just starting this type of campaign, ProductLead is the easiest way to determine which ones are a fit for your business.

Analyze influencer campaigns results in one platform and count on the analytics feature to easily track your Instagram shoutout’s performance.

Find and research influencers that will actually benefit your business

Research your influencers in ProductLead's dashboard

Determine influencer availability, based on recent campaigns, match their audience demographics with your own, and analyze their content types and how they make sense for your brand.

See what’s working and what’s not: create and measure influencer campaigns

Using ProductLead, you can track shoutouts both on your account, as well as on someone else’s. You can see if a shoutout is performing using data registered from the Instagram Story it’s placed in, monitor metrics like reach and engagement, and determine which influencers from that particular campaign you should work with again in the future.

ProductLead's influencer campaign overview dashboard

Analyze influencer campaign results and plan for the next one

Create a hashtag that your followers can use and benefit from both brand awareness and free shoutouts by influencers and customers. 

Since this type of collaboration is a two-way street, you can also determine what it is that keeps influencers coming back to your brand for more. The ProductLead influencer & ROI analytics tool enables you to benchmark everything with its hashtag tracker, from influencers’ affinity for your products to their preferred compensation model.

ProductLead's hashtag tracker dashboard

Repurpose shoutouts in shoppable galleries on your website

Convert your best Instagram shoutouts into shoppable assets. Then, embed them into curated shoppable galleries and turn your Instagram feed into a tool that boosts sales and enriches your customers’ buying experience.

ProductLead's shoppable galleries

It’s time to harness the power of Instagram shoutouts and showcase your best influencer marketing skills. Keep an eye on the creator brands that inspire and excite you, book a ProductLead demo, and get ready for an exciting and truly unique 2022.

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