Health and wellness are integral parts of our lives, and we often look to people with experience in these fields for advice and motivation. Influencers act as inspiration, motivation, and guides in these fields. Influencing is still a relatively new field in marketing, and almost anyone with enough media savvy and wherewithal to start the process can become relatively successful in the space.
What Are Health Influencers?
Health influencers are online personalities, content creators, and bloggers who help their followers live healthier lives. Health influencers do more than record videos, take pictures, and post content on social media platforms. They can also use their following to influence purchases – particularly for exercise classes, supplements, meal and workout programs, and many other products. Health influencers do this on behalf of brands, while acting as affiliates or ambassadors, or for themselves.
Types of influencers can be broken down by platform, but most are further grouped by follower count:
Nano-influencers: 1,000 to 5,000 followers
Micro-influencers: 3,000 to 100,000 followers
Macro-influencers: 100,000 to 1 million followers
Mega-influencers: More than 1 million followers
These breakdowns usually apply specifically to Instagram, which is the most popular platform for influencer marketing. Because of their larger audiences, health influencers are able to reach more people around the globe to spread a message of health, wellness, and positivity.
IIN grad, Health Coach, and author Meghan Swidler (@thatplantbasedgal) became a health influencer in order to share with others the things that made – and continue to make – an impact on her life. “I ultimately want to make adopting a healthy, vibrant lifestyle available and accessible to absolutely anyone who wishes to embark on the journey toward better health,” Swidler says.
How to Become a Health Influencer: Steps and Tips
So how does someone become a health influencer? It’s as simple as starting.
Determine your niche.
What you choose to focus on as a health influencer depends on you! What aspects of health and wellness interest you? What do you have an affinity for? If you love to cook healthy, delicious meals, focus on food and nutrition. If you’re a gym rat and want to help others lose weight and get more in shape, focus on exercise and fitness. But remember: Once you’ve determined your niche, stick to it. Deviating too far from your focus can confuse your audience and cause them to unfollow you.
Develop a follower base.
Most people already have some kind of social media presence that they use to connect with family and friends. One of the first steps to becoming a health influencer is building a follower base to share your content with. You can invite existing friends to support your new endeavor, follow other influencers in the space (and interact with them in a thoughtful way), run paid ads, and cross-promote your content on other platforms to build your following.
Meghan Swidler says that Instagram is her social media platform of choice. “I love that I can actually, regularly engage with my community via direct message, weekly Q&As (which I do every Sunday and Wednesday), and Instagram Lives.”
Share content across platforms.
If you’ve gone through the work to create content, why stop at sharing it on one platform? Content can be repurposed and repackaged into different formats to use on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, TikTok, and more. Ways to repurpose content across different platforms include:
Converting a blog post into a YouTube video covering the topic.
Sharing a screenshot of a tweet to Instagram.
Shortening clips of a YouTube video into several TikToks.
Creating an infographic to share data from a blog post.
Engage with your audience.
One of the more important steps to becoming a health influencer is engaging with your audience. Not only does this promote your platforms in the algorithm, but it shows your audience that you’re also interested in them and their wellness journeys. Swidler has two words for building an audience: authenticity and consistency. “Stay true to yourself and your values and belief systems,” she says, “and be consistent about sharing your message regularly in order to build an engaged and loyal community.”
Create content with purpose.
Don’t create content for content’s sake; everything you post must have a purpose. That purpose can be different for every post, like introducing yourself to new followers, providing information on an upcoming class you’re teaching, sharing new research, or explaining how to do certain exercises. Participating in the latest trends is fun, but if it doesn’t enhance your brand, it may not make sense to do.
Work with reputable brands.
As a health influencer, your reputation is everything. Before collaborating with or endorsing any brand, be sure to thoroughly vet it and make sure what it sells and stands for meshes with your personal beliefs. Credibility with your audience can take years to build ‒ and just minutes to ruin. Gaining credibility as a health influencer can be a complex process, but there are some key steps you can take to begin building trust with your audience:
The Bottom Line
Health influencers are the backbone of the online health and wellness community, providing information and motivation to their followers every single day. You shouldn’t become a health influencer to make money – you should do it because you feel you have something important to contribute.
These steps are just the way to begin your health influencer journey. How you continue to build your online presence as an influencer will depend on the amount of time and energy you have to put into your platforms, how engaged you are with your audience, and what you want to achieve.