Let’s Talk About Shout Outs

Hey there book lovers!

So this post is part of my bookstagram tip series and I will be talking about my experience with shout outs on bookstagram. I’ll cover what it is, how it works, why it’s helpful and some tips from sessions I’ve participated in.

Firstly, what is a shout out?
A Shout Out is when one bookstagrammer promotes another bookstagrammer in their stories (most common option) or feed. This is usually a picture of their feed (not their bio and highlight tiles) and the user is clearly tagged. This is so people can view snapshots of accounts and follow ones they may not have seen before.

What is a shout out session?
A Shout Out Session is when an account or group of accounts offer shout outs for a specific amount of time. There will be rules for participating like you use be following them and give them a shout out first and then they will return your shout out.

Why is it helpful?
It’s helpful for a few reasons.
1. It gets your account exposure
2. It builds rapport with the bookstagram community
3. You can gain followers out of it
4. If you do a group session, it helps you build friendships
5. If you do a group session, it helps you gain followers by tapping into theirs
6. It helps with the Instagram algorithm

I often see them done in groups, can I do one on my own?
Yes! Of course you can. This gives you the freedom to run it for as long as you like with the requirements that work for you. I find the return is better if you are in a group because you can get exposure to more accounts who may participate. Running one on your own is good practice so you get used to how it works.

Who should I approach?
I think this goes without saying, you should only approach accounts you follow and accounts in your niche. If you want to grow your account it would not make sense to team up with an account that sells shoes when you feature books. You might get followers out of it in the start but they would be likely to unfollow after they get their shout out.
You should approach accounts that you love and that you engage with. It usually helps if you approach accounts of a similar size to yourself. If you have a smaller account and approach 80k -100k accounts they are likely to decline. Hosting a shout out session is a lot of work so it needs to be beneficial to all accounts. This doesn’t mean you can’t approach bigger accounts you regularly engage with – you know your relationship with them better than I do 🙂

How should I ask them?
Send them a message 🙂
The first few times is a bit nerve wracking but it gets easier. Make sure in your message you put in a date frame for your shout out. Even if you don’t have a definite date you can say the last half of August or early September. This will allow them to check their calendar and give you a quick reply. Also give them the opportunity to say no. Sometimes people will have a lot going on such as other shout out sessions, giveaways and general life stuff.

If people approach you and it’s not a good time, you can say no. Just be honest and let them know. Try not to ignore requests because you can’t join in. This way they can spend their time looking for someone else instead of waiting for a reply.

How long should they run for?
This is entirely up to you but I’ve found in the past anything over five days becomes hard to manage. I usually do two days at a minimum and share a reminder in my stories so more people can participate.

What should shout out blurbs include?
They should include clear instructions on how to join in. If they need to follow all the hosts, list them in your captions. Here is an example of one I’ve used in the past.

(insert your own personalised caption here)
I’m teaming up with some awesome Bookstagrammers to share and discover new bookstagram accounts.

To join in on the fun, you MUST be following (please do not follow to unfollow):
– Show some love to our recent posts.
– Take a screenshot of each of our feeds and post it in your story for at least 24 hrs (be sure to tag us so we can see it).
– Leave a comment on ONE of our posts telling us your favourite book cover & tag 3 friends below to join in the fun.
– Only for public bookstagram accounts.
Shout outs will be returned in batches after closing.
This SFS will close on 31st of May.

Returning Shout Outs.
You have to return shout outs because it’s only fair to those who participated. When featuring the feeds try not to get the bio part because it doesn’t really show off their account and content. Everyone has different ways of keeping track. Some really organised people track the stories as they come in. I prefer to make a master list with the group and we all record everyone who commented on our posts and share this in our Shout out group chat. This was no one gets missed and then you look up their account you can press message and see if they shouted you out. There will be a message in messages if they tagged you correctly. If I don’t see the message, I know they didn’t follow all the instructions so they don’t get a shout out. Some people just comment don’t without participating and expect a shout out. This is why it’s really important to be clear in your post caption of the requirements.

What should I use for my shout out photo?
This is entirely up to you. I’ve done a selfie, a shelfie, group collage, a created graphic, feed pictures and previous post pictures. The sky is the limit but you want it to clearly stand out as a Shout Out post. I’ve added a few examples of ones I participated in the past.

Do I have to follow everyone who participated in my shout out?
No you don’t. Just like they don’t have to participate in your post if they see it. I always find a lot of new accounts to follow when I host these sessions so if you see something you like, give them a follow. I really love when people add rainbow, Disney, candles and Pops to their book pics. I usually follow all of them.

– Shout out groups over 5 can be disengaging to followers. The more steps there are the more confusing it gets.
– The more you promote it in your stories, the more people will participate.
– It works well if you have friends from across the globe.
– When returning shout outs try to keep them in batches under 20 so you don’t annoy your followers.
– Archive the post when it closes so you can still access the comments DO NOT DELETE IT until you have your returns list done.
– I usually wait two days before I start returning Shout Outs. This helps me keep an eye on those who unfollow after it closes.
– If people unfollow you, or one of the group before you return their shout out you are not required to return the shout out. Again, your instructions need to be clear to avoid this.
– Try to keep your return shout out batches smaller than 20.
– If you want the disc you see around everywhere the app to do this is called Snapseed.

Shout Out Sessions can be hit and miss. Some I have hosted have taken off with 200+ shout outs to return and the next one could be 80. It’s really random so don’t be disheartened if they don’t go as expected. Instagram is a bit of a mystery like that.

I hope this helps and if you have some tips, questions or comments I would love for you to put them below.

Kimberley xx

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