Get more Instagram shoutouts from influencers

6 Steps to Getting Instagram Shoutouts: A Complete Guide

What Is An Instagram Shoutout?

Instagram Influencer

Shoutouts are one of the most profitable ways to get real results in terms of growing your Instagram followers count fast. Simply put, shoutouts are a form of Instagram marketing – more specifically, influencer marketing – requiring one user to mention another in a post.

Here’s the most common shoutout scenario:

Another business account, an influencer in your niche, or even a regular Instagrammer will publish a shoutout post – a photo of your product, for example – and explain how it helped them solve a problem or made their life easier.

Along with UGC, Instagram giveaways, and takeovers, shoutouts are super cost-effective, and the results are pretty much instantaneous.

Different Types Of Instagram Shoutouts

Influencer creating a shoutout post

Instagram shoutouts are generally split into two groups based on compensation methods and the shoutout post format. Here’s an overview of different “shoutout scenarios” to help you decide on the type of shoutout that would benefit your Instagram account the most. 

Based On Compensation Methods

Paid Instagram Shoutouts

This option is pretty self-explanatory:

You take the time to find influencers that are the perfect match for your own Instagram account (we’ll explain how later on) and have them present you to their audience in the best possible way.

They’ll usually shoot beautiful images featuring your products and mention your brand in the post. And depending on the deal, they’ll get paid or receive free products as compensation.

It’s a common influencer marketing strategy – and anyone who wants to become an Instagram influencer should consider doing a paid collaboration with brands.

We lean more toward the organic side of things, so we suggest focusing on the “voluntary shoutout” categories. That said, a paid shoutout is still worth pursuing if you find the right influencer that can reach your target audience and secure the most effective results.

S4S Instagram Shoutouts

We’re now entering the unadvised territory.

You’ve probably seen random comments on Instagram posts that say, “S4S.” Well, it basically means that an account is blatantly asking for a shoutout.

You could probably find many Instagram accounts willing to do S4S (shoutout for shoutout), but we strongly advise against it.

It’s always better to play a bit longer but more rewarding game than risk ruining your reputation and authenticity by using shortcuts and engaging with inauthentic, random pages.

And most importantly, it doesn’t provide real results. Think about it:

What’s the use of a shoutout from an account that has no meaningful content, is unrelated to your niche, and whose following is full of fake accounts and bought engagement?

Organic Instagram Shoutouts

Now, this is arguably the perfect shoutout form:

A similar account praises you – or your brand – and introduces you to its audience simply because they’re convinced you’re awesome. No payment is involved; these are completely free shoutouts.

That’s something to strive for. Why?

You’ll get discovered by your ideal buyer persona and get a ton of social proof and a boost in brand awareness. That’s priceless – regardless of how many followers you currently have.

Based On the Shoutout Post Format

Influencers reviewing photos taken with retro Canon camera

Instagram Feed Posts

Feed posts are a basic but highly popular type of content for Instagram influencer marketing. Whether it’s a single photo, a carousel, or a Reel, the simplicity of these sponsored Instagram feed posts is what makes them so appealing.

They are simple to create – and even easier to share – making them perfect for this kind of marketing strategy.

Instagram Stories

Instagram Stories – a format that originated on Snapchat – have surpassed Snapchat as the second most popular medium for shoutouts.

With over 500 million Instagram users engaging with Stories daily, it’s a goldmine for reaching a larger audience. These temporary posts provide a window into your brand’s world, showcasing authenticity and building a closer relationship with fans and potential customers.

3 Benefits Of Shoutouts On Instagram

Instagram influencer talking about a brand she loves

Depending on the type and form of a shoutout, you can expect different but equally valuable benefits. In most cases, the paybacks overlap – and you often get more for the price of one. 

With that said, let’s explore the main benefits of Instagram shoutouts.

Increased Brand Awareness

Building brand awareness is a critical step in establishing your online identity. When you get a shoutout from social media influencers, they essentially introduce your brand to their loyal followers.

Aligning with influencers within a similar niche and target audience can increase brand awareness – and as your brand’s visibility soars, you’ll reach new corners of the digital realm and captivate potential customers on Instagram.

Exposure To New Audiences & Getting More Followers

One of the most enticing aspects of shoutouts is the chance to tap into new audiences.

If you’re looking for ways to grow your Instagram profile and get more followers, a shoutout from an account similar to yours will double your chances of getting targeted following. It’s a gateway for organic growth.

Lead Generation & Driving Sales

Shoutouts are not just about gaining followers; they can also drive tangible business results.

When an influencer promotes your product or service, their endorsement carries significant weight. Their audience will be more likely to take action, resulting in increased website visits, higher engagement rates, and, ultimately, a boost in sales.

How To Get Shoutouts On Instagram In 2023

Instagram influencers creating a shoutout post

Whether you’re a business or an influencer, the rules are pretty much the same. Here’s what the process looks like – from initial research to outreach and execution.

#1 Explore Existing Connections & Shoutout Opportunities

Before you start the search for new collaborations and shoutout pages, try to find the hidden gems among your existing contacts.

You can always ask your business partners and influencer friends to give you a shoutout, for example. It’s a win-win situation for everyone involved:

You’ll get a chance to be discovered by their audience – and they’ll show up in front of yours.

#2 Find Instagram Shoutout Pages Similar To Yours

Business owner finds a good candidate for Instagram shoutouts

You’ve exhausted your existing shoutout opportunities? Then it’s time to create some new ones, which brings us to our next step – finding the appropriate IG shoutout pages. In short, you’ll need to find accounts that are similar to your own page – but aren’t your direct competitors.

Accounts That Post Similar Content

Fitness influencer creating a shoutout post

Just because you share similar content doesn’t mean you are, in fact, direct competitors.

If you’re a clothing brand specializing in yoga and leisurewear, for example, any account that shares content related to yoga and wellness can be a good match. Don’t go too general, though; you don’t want to choose accounts you don’t have anything in common.

The most effective way of finding accounts similar to yours in terms of content is through industry-specific hashtags on Instagram.

Let’s go back to our example – a yoga clothing business or a yoga scheduling software

Researching hashtags like #yoga, #yogapants, #yogainspiration, and #yogachallenge could be an excellent starting point.

Accounts With A Similar Follower Count

Keep in mind that it generally makes much more sense to find accounts that have a similar amount of Instagram followers like you.


Well, for one, it’s easier to reach common ground when it comes to mutually beneficial collaborations. Two, influencers with bigger accounts are less likely to do free shoutouts and may ask for payment in return. And three, an account that has a similar-size audience will be easier to reach. 

Level Of Engagement

Influencer marketing metrics

Once you’ve listed some possible shoutout opportunities, it’s time to fine-comb through them based on engagement. You don’t want to select pages that mostly have fake followers and spammy comments.

So, be sure to analyze their followers to likes and comments ratio.

If an account has 10K followers but only gets 10 likes and a few comments per post, that’s a red flag. They probably don’t have that many active followers, and there’s a chance they’ve been buying their followers, comments, and likes.

#3 Engage With Their Posts Through Likes & Comments

Business woman engaging with other social media accounts

You’re sure you’ve got the best matches?

Okay, then, it’s time to get the ball rolling – and start building a relationship with them. Here are a few ways to do that:

For starters, you can follow them on Instagram – and other social media channels – and engage with their posts through likes and comments.

Try to avoid generic comments, though. Things like “Nice pic” are off the table if you want to make a real connection. Instead, find posts that clearly reflect the main values of their account and ask questions, leave personalized compliments, and bring up relevant discussion topics – things that show you’re genuinely paying attention to their content.

Of course, you don’t want to move too quickly, either. Otherwise, you might come off as too blunt or spammy.

#4 Perfect Your Outreach & Start The Conversation

Influencer responding to a DM from a brand

You shouldn’t just sit around and wait for other businesses and influencers to give your page an Insta shoutout. Be proactive about it; reach out to a few accounts from your list and simply ask for it.

Here are a few tips on creating a personalized pitch for each account:

  • Start by introducing yourself and your profile. Send them an Instagram Direct message and, after a brief introduction, mention something you admire about them or what drew you to their profile in the first place.

  • Be direct. Explain how you and your business would benefit from being promoted by them, and be clear about the type of shoutout you’re interested in doing.

  • Offer something valuable in return. It might seem like an S4S spamming scheme, but it’s not. You’re just showing common courtesy – and people appreciate that. You can offer a free product, a subscription to your service, or an Instagram shoutout in return.

#5 Nurture The Connection

Business woman sending DMs to influencers

You’ve made the initial contact; what now? Well, you can’t just send a DM and forget about it.

Even if you don’t get a positive response straight away, take the time to follow up and nurture that connection. You still want your name to pop up in their Instagram notifications from time to time.

Oh, and don’t suddenly stop engaging with their posts because they didn’t say “Yes” yet; it shows that you were just in it for the shoutout.

#6 Give To Receive

If you really want to make someone notice you and decide to give your business or influencer account a shoutout, think about what you can do to praise them first.

By showing true appreciation for a brand or influencer, you’re communicating that you’re not only after what they can provide to you.

So, pick something that represents their most important value – and give them credit for that.

Here’s an example:

If they’re a business selling hand-made cruelty-free handbags made from reusable resources, repost content related to their newest product line and add a personal touch – a caption about how admirable and inspiring the quality, technique, and materials are.

Should You Buy IG Shoutouts?

Creating content for influencer campaigns

We always recommend taking a more organic approach to growth. However, we’re also aware that it can be time-consuming – even overwhelming – to do it all yourself. And, to be honest, done right, paid IG shoutouts can produce the same (if not better) results as free shoutouts.

So, if your budget allows it, then sure, do a couple of paid shoutouts from time to time.

Of course, you still need to take the necessary precautions, analyze the potential collaborators, and take your time to find the right match.

Do your research and be meticulous about who you choose. Take their number of followers, engagement rates, style, and the industry they’re connected to into account and ensure you’re not dealing with fake influencer accounts.

Your brand’s reputation is at stake here.

Final Thoughts

Young woman smiling while checking her Instagram

That’s about it when it comes to getting Instagram shoutouts. Follow the steps we’ve talked about today, you’ll never be short of Instagram shoutout opportunities – and you’ll soon be enjoying the benefits of an Instagram shoutout.

Whether your goal is boosting your Instagram following, increasing sales, or improving your engagement rates, with this classic influencer marketing tactic, success is pretty much guaranteed.

Speaking of success, consider signing up for Flock Social. We’ll help you take your Instagram game to the next level!


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