I want to take just a second and talk about something near and dear to my wallet. Shoutouts.
“Shoutouts” seem to be the new form of intangible currency used by “models” to persuade photographers to work with them. I only have two points for this to go over. I promise it won’t take too long.
First, here’s the reality: these perceived shoutouts don’t work. Period.
Let’s say I charge you 300 shoutouts for your shoot (using around numbers). 300. First, how many of you would actually turn your Facebook, IG, Snap, Twitter, and whatever other social media into a billboard of 300 shoutouts for me? I’d wager, none. If you did, it would take you an average of 300 mins to do that (300 mins = 5 hours).
So being realistic, if I give you 5 shots you’ll give me 5 shoutouts. To your what…1000 fan base or 5000 friends on FB? Let’s break that down using FB and IG stuff…
FB says it will allow a fraction of your friends list to see your post. So let’s say that fraction is 10% (that’s generous). So 500 people saw that post, MAYBE – on a good day and if you posted at the right time and all that. So 500 people see it. Out of those 500, 90% of them are “models” that follow you also looking to book for shoutouts. So they contact me and ask for more shoutout photoshoots. And the cycle goes on…
IG feed has a limited reach of around 2-5 mins. It’s about to be even less when then enact this feed limiting thing. It will be as bad as FB. So, without the feed-limitations, let’s talk about these shoutouts and hashtags. Hashtags get cycled every 24 hour period. Let’s say you use the hashtag #awesome. More than 50 milllion people use that in a day. You’re 1…1 of 50…with a feed lifespan of 2 mins.
So let’s go back to the 300 shoutouts I charged you earlier. 300 shoutouts on IG using tags and hashtags will allow 300 people to see your post out of your 3K followers. Most of them are just normal people doing normal things and sharing photos of their cats (I love cats by the way). Do you really think they care what you’re doing in a photo? In the off chance they do, they may contact me, and we talk about numbers. They want a shoutout shoot too! So pretty soon the cycle just continues. Again, I’m homeless but I got shoutouts! 🙂
The only time I’ve seen these shoutouts work is under contract and with people with more than 10K followers on IG and FB. At that time, the folks that have built up these followers organically have been able to reach more than 10% of their fan base and that fan base is loyal and willing to not only purchase the object of value, but also willing to support the cause.
There may be other instances, but that seems to be the best and most popular shoutouts.
No one gives shoutouts unless under contract. That’s just reality. I ask for shoutouts from the people I’ve used as models in the past for my personal projects and I got 1 a week. That’s 6 shoutouts a week. I’m not complaining. Not at all. I appreciate my shoutouts. 🙂 I do! The reality is, these folks can’t just sit there and continually shout me out. They have a life! They have things to do. YOU have a life. YOU have things to do. So what do you do? You have to eliminate something…and that would be shoutouts.
So shoutouts don’t really come all that often unless under contract or something just REALLY LOVES their stuff that they were given. I get that. I’m not mad about it. I understand it.
The other reality is that I don’t have these folks under contract. So without it in writing, who’s actually going to do it but me? That may change soon though…
The people that ask to trade work for shoutouts typically don’t have the following that they THINK they do. In a social media world of purchased followers and all that jazz, finding real, organic, and interactive followers is the hard part. Those that do keep them and are super valuable to folks. Those that don’t…well…you know.
On top of that, you must also look at the KIND of followers that someone has. For example, if I’m a fitness photographer, I don’t want to shoot general everyday portraits. It just doesn’t work for me. If I’m a portrait photographer I don’t want to shoot ripped and shredded abs and bikini competitors. It just doesn’t work that way. People will be driven off one way or another.
This is why I hope that my work speaks for itself. I work hard. I work hours upon hours and days upon nights to get you the best possible photos and videos that I can give you. I don’t want to ask for a shoutout. I want you to give them freely.
So, instead of shoutouts, let’s trade paper. You give me green paper, printed by the US mint, and I’ll give you hours upon hours of my time so you have awesome commercial work and magazine quality images and video to document the awesomeness that is you. 🙂 In the end, we’ll all be better for it.
If your currency is shoutouts, your money is no good here.