FORD Launches The Smart Crib

Is this the world’s first smart-crib? Ford says so, and now babies can get to sleep sleep at home the same way they sleep in a car as the smart crib reproduces your car’s movements and sounds once you train it in your car via the connected app experience, on trips around town. The app […]

Digital Buzz Blog

Instagram Influencer Marketing on a Smart Budget

So you hear that influencer marketing is a must but you don’t have $ 50,000 to pay a celebrity to post on Instagram. Lucky for you, there are many options out there for a company to integrate Instagram influencer marketing without blowing your entire year’s budget.

In this article, you’ll learn:

  • Why Instagram influencer marketing is so popular
  • How to set up a budget
  • How to create your marketing campaign

Why is Instagram Influencer Marketing So Popular?

For some companies like Wendy’s, NewsWhip says engagement on influencer paid posts run up to 100 times the engagement of a brand’s own post.


In terms of ROI, TapInfluence’s study found influencer marketing is 11 times more effective than traditional marketing efforts.

When used effectively, influencer marketing can play a big role in your campaign. For example, Cleanly targeted a person who is often on the go and could use a laundry service. Ideally, the audience is also comprised of travel enthusiasts and could take advantage of Cleanly’s services.

How to Set Up an Influencer Marketing Budget

Approach your Instagram influencer marketing budget like you would for any marketing opportunity. It can be included in your annual marketing budget, monthly social media spend or even part of a campaign budget. Once you have a cash amount in mind, decide how to best put it to use.

For companies that have a low or non-existent cash budget, you do have other options:

  • Offer a product or services exchange
  • Run a collaborative contest
  • Offer discounts to their audience

LIFEWTR partners with creatives and its influencers match that segment. Matt Allard’s account is filled with mostly personal explorations, so a sponsored post has an even higher impact on LIFEWTR’s followers.

How to Create Your Influencer Marketing Campaign

We’re using the term “campaign” a bit loosely here. Instagram influencer marketing can be ongoing and/or it can be specific to one marketing campaign. In either case, creating your campaign is similar.


The objectives of most influencer campaigns are:

  • Raise brand awareness of the company, product or services
  • Increase sales
  • Bring in new customers
  • Improve current customer sentiment about brand

In a recent survey from eMarketer, 88% of marketing professionals found influencer marketing to be effective or extremely effective at raising brand awareness. The study makes sense. We tend to trust our peers’ opinions on brands more than word straight from the brands’ mouths.


With this in mind, you should determine what your own goals are for setting up influencer marketing.


To go hand-in-hand with the goals, you need to have matching metrics to help you measure success. Depending on how the campaign will be structured, you have several metrics that you can use:

  • Influencer-specific discount codes: The number of times each code is used.
  • Referral links: The total number of clicks and successful conversions for each link.
  • Engagement: If it’s a public post, you can track the number of engagements. If it’s an Instagram Story post, you can request analytics from the influencer.
  • New followers: If there are campaign dates, then this metric could be used.
  • New customers or purchases: If the campaign or program is about a specific product or service, you can track sales to see if they increase.

Today is the final recipe for this 4 part series!  Hope you all had fun with the protein powder recipes. My last labor of love is a welcome mat to Autumn (seriously one of my favorite seasons). Muffins! 🍂🍁🐿🍂 . How about some Spiced Sweet Potato Chai muffins?  Y’all are not ready.  And P.S. – this recipe might be one of my best EVER.  Let me know what you think.  Recipe below! • • • Part IV is “Bake it!” Spiced Sweet Potato Chai muffins made with w/ the addition of @kuranutrition Chai Plant Based Vegan Protein. You can feel full and totally satisfied.  Get 20% off @kuranutrition ‘s products by using CK20 at checkout.#ad — Sweet Potato Chai Muffins 35g ( ⅓ cup or 1 ¼ packets) Kura Chai Plant Based Vegan Protein 220g (1 ⅔ cups ) Gluten free 1 to 1 flour 200g (1 ¼ cups) coconut sugar 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 222g (1 cup) sweet potato puree 171g (¾ cup) ghee (or butter), room temp 75g (¼ cup) coconut yogurt 2 eggs 1 teaspoon vanilla TOPPING: 143g (3/4 cup) brown sugar 34g (1/2 cup) walnuts 1 ½  teaspoons cinnamon 2 tablespoons buckwheat flour 70g (1/3 cup) butter 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray the muffin tins with coconut spray. 2. Mix the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, mix the wet ingredients. 3. Add the wet to the dry, being careful not to overmix. 4. For topping, combine first 4 ingredients in a small bowl. Stir. Using a fork, cut in butter. 5. Add the batter to the tins and cover each muffin with the topping. Bake for 12-15 minutes.

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In the above example, Christiann includes a discount code in the caption, making this an easy metric to track for Kura Nutrition.

Create Ideal Influencer Profiles

Just like your usual customer profiles, influencer profiles consist of demographics that you want to target.

These profiles should include important statistics like:

  • Follower count
  • Engagement rates
  • Post aesthetics
  • Any history of working with brands
  • Expertise, interests or specializations
  • Locality (if your company is location-specific)

If your budget is small, you’ll want to aim for micro-influencers. These are accounts with usually less than 1,000 followers but have a highly engaged audience.

In fact, released some statistics on average costs per influencer by number of followers and their respective engagement rates.


Follower count is still a high determiner of influencer value. However, it’s a better investment to use micro-influencers than celebrities. Posts that cost $ 49 each had the highest engagement rate at 9.0% when compared to other post costs.


Based on the budget you determined earlier, you can now estimate how many influencers you’re able to account for.

As we had mentioned before, cash is not the only thing you can offer an influencer. Sometimes a service or product exchange is enough if the interests match.

Influencer marketing can include special events like this Grey Goose dinner Instagram post example. Events can be run on a budget as long as you’re offering something exclusive or enticing enough for people to want to join in. If you’re struggling with figuring out the financial end, take a look at this post: How Much Should You Pay Social Media Influencers?

Research the Influencers

This is a key part of Instagram influencer marketing. After you’ve created your ideal influencer profile, you need to make a big list of all the accounts that match the profile. Make sure you include contact information in your list. Some influencers list contact information in their profile while others state their preferences in their website.

Hopefully, you already have some people in mind who would be a good fit. If not, you can do further research through tools like Klear and InfluencerDB. There are many free tools out there and most have paid tiers too. Don’t only trust the tools. Be sure to do your own research on each profile as well.

Sprout Social’s own Instagram Profiles report includes information on influencers who have engaged with profile. This would be a good starting point if you have an account with us.

instagram top influencers engaged report

You can click on any of these accounts to get details on their audience size as well as your conversation history with them. Plus, you can add in details like contact information and internal notes about the influencer for your team such as “open to working together on a campaign.”

instagram conversation history

Here’s one more “hack” you can use to get insights into influencers you’re interested in working in. Use our Instagram Competitor’s Report. Add potential influencers you want to work with to the report. Once Sprout has been able to gather some data, you’ll be able to get great insights like how often they post, engagement numbers an more.

instagram competitor report


Agencies also exist to do the legwork for you. But if you’re on a budget, doing your own research will be a big money saver.

Gnarly Nutrition’s customer base is all about healthy eating. Naturally, athletes and people interested in exercise are a great fit for the brand. Products don’t have to be in a photo for a sponsored post to be effective. An influencer’s honest captions and lifestyle photo is a more subtle form of advertising.

Don’t be afraid to branch out. Marshall Movie could’ve easily found film enthusiasts to talk about their film. Instead of only going the obvious route, they connected with artists like Jade to talk about why the movie was important to them. The caption and photo is all in the creator’s style and offers a unique perspective on the film.

Contact the Influencers

During the research phase, you should’ve written down how to contact them. Now is the time to draft up your email or Instagram Direct Message.

While you can have a template for your message, it’s best to include some points of personalization. For example, if you’re a coffee roaster, you could say something like “Hi Brandy, we happen to have the same coffee as this one that you’re drinking! Would you be interested in trying our version out to taste compare?”

If you’re running a campaign, you’ll want to note what you’re asking of them. Do you want them to test a product? Do you want them to post a discount code? Remember, if you have a small budget, you probably won’t be able to ask for too much. You can have guidelines in what you’re looking for but you should give the creators creative control over the posts. Too much oversight leads to a post that reads like an ad.

Clearly, this post is part of a larger Petco campaign. Some of the words were given to them by Petco, but the imagery is in line with the rest of the account.

One note to mention here is that if you have an ongoing Instagram influencer marketing campaign, you should begin conversations with targeted influencers before you start asking them for posts. Once you’ve built up a relationship, it’ll be easier to ask and even easier for them to say yes.

Instagram Influencer Marketing Tools

Newly announced, Instagram is rolling out Branded Content features in both posts and Stories. The feature announces paid partnerships to disclose when a creator or publisher had an exchange.


While #ad and #sponsored may still be used in posts, the Branded Content feature also allows publishers access to the creators’ analytics. For publishers that include influencers frequently, this tool could be a very useful tracker for your ROI.


Outside of using Branded Content tools, you could use low-budget analytics like:

  • Turning on notifications for when the influencer posts
  • Asking the influencer for their Story or post analytics (if they have a business account)
  • Manually recording engagement on a post after a certain period of time

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World Market’s Ambassador Program is clearly laid out on their site and has a corresponding hashtag. If your influencer marketing is part of an ambassador program, you can easily monitor hashtags to respond quickly to their posts. Sprout’s Smart Inbox makes monitoring seamless and part of your daily social media manager routine.

The Ultimate Social Monitoring Tools

You can use Instagram influencer marketing effectively and with a small budget if you plan carefully. Instead of the usual free product and cash in exchange for a post, consider other options like special events and giveaways. With a little creativity, you’ll find that your brand can reach new audiences without Selena Gomez posting about it.

This post Instagram Influencer Marketing on a Smart Budget originally appeared on Sprout Social.

Sprout Social

Amazon Alexa and Smart Speakers Are the Next iPhone

Amazon Alexa and Smart Speakers Are the Next iPhone

The iPhone is called that because when it debuted 10 years ago, making telephone calls was the primary reason to have such a device. My, how things have changed.

I used to get 10 to 12 phone calls and voice mails each day. Now? One or two at the maximum.

And my kids (proud Gen Zers) won’t talk on the phone at bayonet point. They’d rather listen to Gilbert Gottfried sing opera than place or receive an actual telephone call.

The magical thing about the iPhone is that we bought it for one reason, but quickly discovered lots of other ways in which the device is a boon. And the exact same pattern is repeating right now with Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Apple HomePod, and the “smart speaker” phenomenon.

New research from NPR and our friends at Edison Research called The Smart Audio Report (download it at no cost here) confirms and illuminates this trend.

The Smart Audio Report

4 Ways Smart Speaker Adoption Mirrors iPhone Adoption

The full report is fascinating, and I absolutely suggest you give it a look. Here are the data that really stood out to me, in terms of Amazon Alexa and its brethren walking the same path as the iPhone.

I was one of the first people to get an Amazon Alexa, and many of these research findings struck a chord with me personally. My notes about that are below, in italics.

Device Was Bought for Specific Functions, and Is Now Used for Many More Functions

90 percent of smart speaker owners bought one for music. 86 percent wanted one just because it seemed like a cool, new gadget (that’s me).

Today, however, the average smart speaker owner is using the device for 7.5 functions, and 12 functions (adding an item to a shopping list, for example) are being used by at least one-quarter of all owners.

Like the iPhone, once you get a smart speaker, you start to discover more and more ways it can work for you. It starts to slowly creep into your life, like kudzu, or The Rock.

Usage Goes Up, Post-Ownership

47 percent of smart speaker owners use the device more today than they did one month after purchase. This indicates a strong level of feature discovery, since we typically use a new tech toy a ton immediately after we get it, and then the glow fades.

(Because I travel so much, I tend to use mine in spurts. I really need to get the Echo Dot and bring it with me on the road.)

Increased Usage Makes Smart Speakers Indispensable

Nearly one in three Americans would give up sex before they give up their smartphone. Talk about raving fans!

Smart speakers are well on their way to similarly strong bonds with their users. According to NPR and Edison Research, 42 percent of owners say their smart speakers are essential (and I use the plural because four in 10 own more than one).

Further, 65 percent say they “do not want to go back to life without a smart speaker.”

(I agree. I also don’t want to go back to life without ATMs, Co-Schedule, or Dang coconut chips).

65% of smart speaker users say they don't want to go back to life without one.
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Owners Struggle to Keep Up

This may be the most iPhone of all the findings in The Smart Audio Report: 72 percent of owners say they don’t know enough about their smart speaker to use all of its features.

Smart speakers are creating FOMO among their users, just like the iPhone did when it was shiny and new, and people didn’t understand all it could do. To some degree, this condition persists, given the millions of options available in app stores.

(I get an email from Amazon about every 45 seconds telling me about something else I can do with Alexa. I love tech, but I’ve got a life to lead. I seriously need to take a whole weekend and just plow into all the stuff I can/should be doing with it, but am not yet.)

I am bullish on smart speakers in general, and this study also highlights their role in increasing consumption of music and podcasts. They may end up being a transitional technology, like the iPad, as we may land on in-ear versions of Alexa, et al. soon enough. But for now, it’s fascinating to see history repeat itself.

How about you? Do you own a smart speaker? How has it changed your behavior?

Convince and Convert: Social Media Consulting and Content Marketing Consulting

SkyScanner Introduces Smart Messenger Bot

SkyScanner, one of the world’s most popular flight search and booking engines has just released its Facebook Messenger Bot, and it’s pretty dam awesome. Perhaps its most powerful feature is the multi-user experience letting friends or family search and book together. The SkyScanner Bot even lets you split the total booking price how ever you’d […]

Digital Buzz Blog

Smart Gloves Turn Sign Language into Speech

This is such an amazing invention, and I know a few groups have been playing around with the technology, but this latest iteration from SignAloud really steals the show. Gloves that turn Sign Language into Speech in real time. There really isn’t that much more to say, other than please do spend the 2-3 minutes […]

Digital Buzz Blog

5 SMART Blogging Goals To Set In 2016

The new year is a time for setting actionable goals, both personally and professionally. So let’s make some of those apply to your blog. What should your blogging goals be? Firstly, before we dive into the specific goals themselves, let’s talk about how they should be structured. I recommend you create S.M.A.R.T. goals. A S.M.A.R.T. […]

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Dave Schneider

Dave Schneider contributes a monthly column on Blogging. Dave is the cofounder of NinjaOutreach, an innovative new blogger outreach software for marketers based in Boston, Massachusetts. He writes about blogging for businesses, entrepreneurship, and has a love for travel, having visited over 40 countries.

5 SMART Blogging Goals To Set In 2016 by Dave SchneiderMaximize Social Business

Windmill Networking is Now Maximize Social Business

Introducing June: The World’s First Smart Oven

Attention tech-loving-foodies. Meet June, the world’s first smart oven, where the more people that own it, the smarter it becomes. It’s an oven created by ex-apple employees, designed to be more powerful, smarter and more beautiful than all other ovens! The countertop oven features Wi-Fi connectivity for software updates, an in-built digital scale, Nvidia processors […]

Digital Buzz Blog

ReApply Reminder: A Smart Sunscreen Bottle

Australia has the highest incidence of skin cancer in the world, so to help protect people from the sun, a new R&D project has created the “ReApply Reminder” A Smart Sunscreen Bottle and iOS app designed to save lives by pro-actively reminding people when to ReApply Sunscreen. Powered by custom Bluetooth LE technology in the […]

Digital Buzz Blog

Size is Not An Obstacle: Marvelous UIs for Smart Watches

If you are a real pro or at even a novice with a vast potential and immense enthusiasm there is no insurmountable obstacle for you; and such a trifle as the size of a device screen that, as a rule eases off a workflow and sometimes even halts the whole process is a simple barrier that needs to be overcome in a short time. A great deal of designers have proved this with their recent works that feature incredible app UIs of the highest quality created specifically for iWatch.

Although the brand new Apple product has not even hit the shelves of the American market, creatives around the world have already presented their visions of future app interfaces that can run on this tiny smart gadget. What’s more, each such concept is built according to all specifications provided by the company and constructed with current design trends in mind. So that with just a little imagination and our fresh collection you will be able to visualize a future of smart wrist wearables. Let’s take a look at 20 first-rate, carefully planned and neatly realized designs.

Smart Watch UIs

Future of Popular Apps for Apple Watch by Jan Losert and Lukáš Kus

This pair of highly gifted designers have a refreshing take on various popular apps including Skype, Shazam, Yahoo News Digest, Tinder, Instagram and others. They present their vision of how these app interfaces will look on tiny screens of iWatches. The project is truly inspiring.

Future of Popular Apps for Apple Watch

Apple Watch: Instagram by Joel Filipe

The artist speculates about what kind of changes Instagram should undergo to meet the requirements of the smart watch. How will it handle a bulk of splendid photo shots and at the same time not overwhelm regular users? He demonstrates a series of chic and sophisticated screens with black and blue used as core colors.

Apple Watch Instagram

Taasky for Apple Watch by Jakub Antalík

Here you will find different standard user interfaces starting from the home screen and ending with a screen flow. The artist has managed to take into account numerous essential details inherent to the Taasky app and provides a potential user with an excellent functionality and comfortable environment. For better understanding, there are animated gif samples.

Taasky for Apple Watch

Spotify Pulse – Apple Watch UI by Omar Choudhry

Much like the previous example, the designer has done a great job of reconstructing and even slightly improving a basic user interface of a popular app, in this case Spotify. There is a range of professionally crafted screens accompanied by descriptions that clearly demonstrate a workflow.

Spotify Pulse Apple Watch UI

Redesign of Healthcare Communication

Redesign of Healthcare Communication by Marian Mota features almost 10 flawlessly executed interface designs that totally comply with Apple market standards. The artist has succeeded in creating a pleasant and handy experience for medical workers.

Redesign of Healthcare Communication

Starwood Preferred Guest App for Apple Watch by Stephen Gates

Featured on, iTunes and even official commercials, this smart concept is an excellent example of how to properly create app interfaces for the newest Apple product and always be ahead of others. The project is based on a well-thought-out color scheme and a considerable amount of white space.

Starwood Preferred Guest App for Apple Watch

WhatsApp – iWatch Concept by Shaun Stilwell

Here, green that is synonymous with everything organic, natural and peaceful plays the first fiddle, recreating the whole aesthetics and establishing a friendly atmosphere. You will find a dozen small yet sophisticated interfaces made in this color. Flat style, contour graphics and a ton of white space also contribute to the theme.

WhatsApp - iWatch Concept

Adobe Creative Cloud for Apple Watch by Rumiana Williams, Clément Faydi and Paul Osburn

The team has a done an excellent job. They showcase a top-notch version of Adobe Creative Cloud interface for tiny wearable devices, skillfully bringing consistency in style and adding a zest for each layout.

Adobe Creative Cloud for Apple Watch


Recall by Aravind Ravi displays a whole workflow chart made in an illustrative wireframe-inspired manner that presents the overall process in easily digestible portions.


Whatsapp for Apple Watch

Whatsapp for Apple Watch by Benjamin Schmitt has a distinctive circular vibe that makes each interface look harmonious and eye-pleasing. The artist has skillfully laid out content, giving the project a straightforward look.

Whatsapp for Apple Watch

Rush – Apple watch app by Creaktif

The UI strongly relies on a bright color scheme and basic scrolling technique that in tandem offers users a great visual experience. Intelligible icons, contour graphics, and solid color backdrops provide the design with a refined and subtle appearance that is pretty easy to operate.

Rush Apple Watch App

Pizza Order Process

Pizza order process by Cuberto Design instantly increases the appetite with a series of delicious and mouth-watering photo shots. The artist has managed to place into a single screen both image and description without losing readability and cluttering the overall design.

Pizza Order Process

Pomodoro Plus

Pomodoro plus by Hanna Curie catches the eye from the first seconds. The sophisticated and attention-grabbing interface owes its appearance to neon-style elements. While the latter energizes the entire design and adds dynamics, a ton of white space improves each screen with an open feeling.

Pomodoro Plus

A New Way of Buying by Just Asking!

A new way of buying by just asking! by Nermin Hasanovic has lots of interest. There is a series of vigilantly crafted tiny designs, interaction flowchart, animated walkthrough and a bulk of descriptions that make the project quite valuable and informative.

A New Way of Buying by Just Asking!

Simple UI Concept

Simple UI Concept by Owi Sixseven exhibits a startling gradient and majestic monotone background. Paired with a white strong, narrow typography and sleek outline icons they make the interface simply shine. Add to this a lot of white space and your users will read and navigate through the app very comfortably.

Simple UI Concept

Heatworks Apple Watch App by Xubliminal Agency

Here is another app interface design that gets its fantastic look from gorgeous gradients and a sharp contrast between background made in solid black and foreground elements brightened by some tiny effects. As a result, statistics do not look boring, but, on the contrary, motivate to exploration.

Heatworks Apple Watch App

Future Banking Design Concept

Future Banking design concept by Arcana Global transforms a dull, mundane and simple looking app that deals with banking operations into a real masterpiece. Subtle touches of beautiful gradients, semi-transparent panels, and white smooth typography give the interface a soft and pleasant aesthetic.

Future Banking Design Concept

Apple Watch with Skype and Viber by Moe slah

The artist showcases designs of the two most popular apps for communicating with friends and relatives: Skype and Viber. As usual, each interface is made with user experience in mind so that there is plenty of white space, icons are intelligible and easily discernible, and typography is sharp and legible.

Apple Watch with Skype and Viber

Gneo for Apple Watch by Gábor Balogh

Circles, flat style, brilliant coloring and clean backdrops in collaboration with an effective use of space make this design. Want to delve a bit deeper? Explore the video provided by the designer that clearly illustrates the purpose of the concept.

Gneo for Apple Watch

Free Muzik

Free Muzik by Tinny Le has an enigmatic and slightly dark interface that is skillfully brightened by some splashes of vibrant colors. Relatively huge graphics, horizontal line stripe layout, distinctive typography and some visual effects for sprucing up the appearance give this app an incredible feel.

Free Muzik


It seems that designers do not notice the difference between various screen dimensions since whether it is a wide desktop monitor or tiny iWatch screen; their projects look refined, top-notch and pretty handy. It is great that dimensions of devices do not slow down creative folks from building outstanding projects.

Onextrapixel – Web Design and Development Online Magazine