I recently caught up with co-owner and marketing mastermind behind Boston co-retail space For Now, Kaity Cimo. She runs the space with friend and business partner Katharine ReQua. They opened a year ago and have played home to over 80 brands in that time.
Shoutcart Alternatives: Which Is Right for You?
Influencer marketing has never been more popular and as more and more marketers catch wind of the success this technique can bring, the number of ways to get onboard have skyrocketed.
Nowadays, you don’t even need to reach out to an influencer directly to have them plug your brand in a good old-fashioned Instagram shoutout. Instead, you can use a tool like Shoutcart, which allows you to pay for shoutouts like you’re buying any other product.
In this article, we’re going to take a look at Shoutcart and some of its competitors. If you already know what Shoutcart is, you’ll be able to find a few alternatives that are definitely worth checking out. And if you’re new to Shoutcart and influencer shoutout programs in general, then you’ll get a comprehensive introduction to the topic.
So, for the newbies out there, let’s start with a question:
What is Shoutcart?
In a nutshell, Shoutcart is a marketplace for Instagram shoutouts, which is just another word for sponsored posts. Influencers add their services to the marketplace, and users like you can browse through them, select an influencer, and purchase a shoutout from them just like you’d buy a book on Amazon.
Unlike traditional shoutout requests, you don’t actually have to be in personal contact with any of the influencers you’re requesting a shoutout from. This has its ups and downs. On the one hand, the process is quick and easy. On the other…well, there’s no personal connection, and you’re not going to get a truly inspired post out of the influencer.
Instead, you have to create the post you want them to upload yourself. This gives you more control, but if done wrong, it will look more like an advertisement than an honest post in the influencer’s voice.
Since the entire process is completely transactional, you can even get shoutouts from celebrities like Akon. However, those shoutouts will not be made public to the celeb’s audience and you can only link to them and use them as social proof.
Influencers can set their own pricing on Shoutcart, so prices vary. Based on our research, prices range from $10 to $700, with an average price of $143.
Considering that the going rate for a post from an influencer with 250,000 to 1 million followers is usually $1,000-$3,000, getting a shoutout from an influencer with 497,700 followers for $35 is a real steal.
And the quality of that shoutout? Well, given the fast-food nature of Shoutcart, it’s fair to say you’re not going to get the same level of service as you would for $3,000. But, since you get to create the post yourself, that shouldn’t matter much.
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Reach and inventory
Shoutcart has a huge range of influencers to choose from, so most brands should be able to easily find an influencer that suits them. Shoutcart lets users filter by category and sort by price, number of followers, and “score”, which is a metric designed by Shoutcart itself. Unfortunately, there’s no explanation of what goes into a good or bad Shoutcart score.
Shoutcart reviews and reputation
Shoutcart is one of the biggest influencer marketplaces, but its customer reviews and reputation are less than ideal, to say the least. A quick look at its Trustpilot page shows it has a 2.5/5 rating and most reviews say something along the lines of “scam!” An unsettling number of Trustpilot reviews state that they paid money and never received what they were promised.
Now that you’ve got your bearings as far as what the platform does, let’s take a look at some alternatives to Shoutcart you may want to consider.
Buy Sell Shoutouts
The first thing you’ll notice about Buy Sell Shoutouts is that its website doesn’t load correctly, which is never a good sign for a tech brand.
Moving on. Let’s see how it compares to Shoutcart on the same points.
Overall, Buy Sell Shoutouts is cheaper than Shoutcart. While prices on Shoutcart ranged from $10 to $700, the highest price we found on Buy Sell Shoutouts was $657, but most influencers seem to be pricing their services somewhere from $15 to $50.
Reach and inventory
The number of influencers on Buy Sell Shoutouts is also quite a bit less than the number on Shoutcart. For example, there are only 23 profiles to choose from when filtering by fitness influencers, and of those, quite a few aren’t even influencers at all — they’re generic “buy followers” services.
Buy Sell Shoutouts reviews and reputation
Just judging by its site alone and the clear lack of a vetting process for Buy Sell Shoutout’s “influencers,” this probably isn’t a site you want to be involved with.
Unlike Buy Sell Shoutouts, InfluencerCart has a working website that’s actually quite well designed. Clearly, InfluencerCart was influenced (pun intended) by ShoutCart, even down to the name itself.
InfluencerCart appears to be a budget version of Shoutcart in a lot of ways. The search functionality and design of its site is just as good as Shoutcart’s, but we couldn’t find any influencers charging over $500 per post. Instead, we found a lot of influencers charging $5 to $15 per post, with one even charging a whopping $1.
Reach and inventory
As far as the number of influencers signed up for InfluencerCart goes, you shouldn’t have any trouble finding an influencer that suits you.
However, after taking a look through InfluencerCart’s options, the average number of followers per influencer appears to be lower. While there are quite influencers with over 500,000 followers on the platform, there were a lot more with 10-20,000 followers than there were on the other platforms we reviewed.
InfluencerCart reviews and reputation
InfluencerCart is a small company and doesn’t currently have any customer reviews or any sort of reputation. You’re testing the waters with this one.
If first impressions count for anything, then Influence.co appears to be targeting a higher-end user base. The site is sleek and, unlike the others, gives a clear impression that it means business.
Influence.co seems to be a bit pricier on average than the other sites we’ve looked at, but not by much. Pricing information is a bit harder to come by in general (it’s not clearly listed like on the others), but we found prices ranging from $50 to $400.
Reach and inventory
Influence.co doesn’t have a super-handy search function like the other options we’ve discussed, but it does have a lot of higher-level influencers with huge follower counts, and it’s conducive to more genuine interactions. Instead of simply putting in your credit card number and getting a shoutout, some influencers actually talk with their customers first (gasp) so they can vet each other before pursuing a partnership.
Influence.co reviews and reputation
Customer reviews about Influence.co seem to back up that same high-end first impression of the website. On Facebook, Influence.co has a 4.8/5 rating with lots of reviews from happy business owners and marketers.
FameBit is another high-end influencer connection platform designed specifically for YouTube. Although we said that Influence.co was high-end, FameBit is on another level.
To view FameBit’s brands and creators, you’ll need to sign up — a small example of FameBit’s more exclusive offerings. What is clear to non-members, however, is that FameBit charges a 10% service fee for all collaborations that are serviced through FameBit.
Reach and inventory
FameBit has a network of 65,000 creators including YouTube celebrities like Shalom Blac (1.42 million subscribers), Flula (773,000 subscribers), and Alonzo Lerone (3.98 million subscribers). FameBit has also worked with a number of major brands like Canon, Activision, Adidas, and Sony.
FameBit reviews and reputation
FameBit has received generally good reviews. On G2.com, Famebit received a 3.6-out-of-5 star rating based on five reviews. Users generally found that the tool wasn’t particularly easy to use and customer support was subpar, but once you figure out how to use it, it’s a valuable asset to have in your toolbox.
Now that we’re looking at AspireIQ, we’re firmly in premium territory. AspireIQ is marketed towards larger companies — it’s the only one of the Shoutcart alternatives we’ve looked into that offers an enterprise-level plan. Indeed, it refers to itself as “the enterprise-trusted influencer marketing platform.”
This is not a platform built for new and upcoming businesses (although of course they can still benefit from it), but more established brands used to working with high-end solutions.
AspireIQ does not provide any pricing information on its site — interested visitors only have the option of requesting a demo. However, unlike the other alternatives we’ve looked at, AspireIQ charges on a SaaS model, not per post.
Reach and inventory
AspireIQ doesn’t give information about how many influencers it works with, but given the caliber of its clientele (L’Oreal, Hello Fresh, T-Mobile, and L.L. Bean, to name a few), you can be confident there’s a pretty wide range of influencers to choose from.
AspireIQ reviews and reputation
AspireIQ has good reviews across the board and has gained a reputation as a solid influencer marketing platform. Among the other options on this list, AspireIQ and FameBit are the two most premium options, and with that status comes a better reputation.
Where does this leave you?
Buying Instagram shoutouts is a pretty divisive topic but if you take anything from this post it should be that the industry is alive and well. If you’re interested in boosting your exposure, trying a new marketing channel, or even testing out a new growth initiative there is a platform for every budget.
Of course you can always do it the old fashioned way and do your own research, vet the influencers, and then send out pitch emails – but if you’ve got the means then it may be worth giving one of these a try.
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