If you are curious to find out who a Health Influencer is then this article is just for you!
Here I talk about this professional figure together with one of the most renowned influencers of the sector: Francesca Oggionni, a professional dietician who has made health influencers her career.
Her blog “An Apple for Dietitian” can be found on the internet, although her main communication channel is Instagram, where she dispenses advice on proper nutrition, addressing, in particular, the female world of fertility and breastfeeding.
During the interview, I explored this field with her, asking her for useful information for anyone who wants to know what is behind this profession and start taking their first steps into the world of the Health Influencer.
In particular, in this article, I will discuss the following issues:
- what is meant by Health Influencer;
- the path Francesca took to become this professional;
- the channels used;
- ways of interacting with the community;
- advice for those who want to approach this world.
Who is a Health Influencer?
A health influencer is a person who has to be trained from a clinical-health point of view in order to give truthfulness to what they disseminate.
Social media today have great potential as they influence the opinions, choices, and habits of many people, especially when you have a large following. It is, therefore, necessary to convey useful information, otherwise, it can be dangerous for everyone’s health.
So whether you are a dietician, a nutritionist, or a doctor in any field, before you can be a Health Influencer you need to have done the relevant studies to be able to spread your knowledge.
Health Influencer: specifically, what do you do?
I deal with food and nutrition.
As a graduate in Dietetics, Food, and Human Nutrition, I made sure that my work became visible through social media and that is why I became an Influencer in my field, which is a relatively new concept.
My task within the social world is to entice people who follow me to:
- undertake healthy and correct eating habits;
- manage nutrition throughout the day;
- how to compose one’s meals in a balanced way,
- ingredient choices at the supermarket.
In short, I carry on healthy dissemination inherent to the food world with a focus on personal well-being, which is not the same as being a food blogger. I am often asked for recipes: I can juggle in the kitchen, but that is not my job!
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When was the idea of using digital in your profession born?
Tell how it all started
My journey as a health influencer started a long time ago when Instagram, my preferred channel, was not yet used as much as it is today by health professionals.
In fact, I was one of the first dieticians to talk about nutrition on social media.
As soon as I graduated, social media had started to take hold and I used them for purely personal enjoyment.
The first thing I did was to start a nutrition blog, which was very fashionable at the time and is still active today on my current site. Initially, I used Facebook as my social channel, which was the medium I found most effective because it was very fashionable at the time.
Later I moved to Instagram where I turned my personal channel, which I had opened for fun, into a professional profile.
What motivated you to do this?
I became a Health Influencer because I could see the interest of those who followed me, although they were few at first, in what I was posting and what I had to say. From there I got the idea to think about using a social network not only for fun but also for something more inherent to my profession.
In fact, when I started talking about nutrition on social media, especially Instagram, I was one of the first: when I was looking for other nutritionists or dieticians, I found very few, and at that time, the health influencer was not yet a real profession.
There were fashion and beauty influencers, but there was no one to spread scientific knowledge through social media. So I continued to use Instagram because, on the one hand, I enjoyed writing posts, just as I enjoyed writing food-related articles on my blog.
In fact, I love writing, photographing, and sharing: these have always been my means of communication and all this has led me not only not to abandon the channel, but to increase its use.
In addition, I saw the potential of this channel to gain more visibility and grow both professionally and in terms of customers.
Which digital channels do you use the most? Who is your target audience?
Instagram is my main channel. My website with the blog section remains active. The target audience, on the other hand, has changed over the years.
As soon as I graduated, I dedicated myself almost exclusively to weight-loss programs, while in the following years, I realized that my path as a dietician and nutritionist was to devote myself to the world of women, targeting pregnant and post-partum women in particular.
The latter is the sphere that I now nurture and turn to, especially since I became a mother myself. Having lived this experience in my own skin has allowed me to have more empathy to convey what I know in this sphere.
On a social level, I maintain communication on two fronts:
- General food disclosure.
- Communication is more addressed to the female world.
How do you engage your community?
Stories are a new tool on Instagram: at first, I was very hesitant because I didn’t really know how to use it. Today, however, they have definitely proved to be very useful because they allow me to create more engagement for my followers.
Before my daughter was born I had a lot more time to devote to it, so I used to do a lot more directing. Now time has become a bit limited, but I always try to carve out time to do directs, maybe with some other professional Health Influencer colleagues.
My stories have turned into written stories: this is the tool I use the most. I also continue to publish posts with a more didactic, informative purpose, explaining certain content. I also show my everyday life as a mother and dietician.
In the beginning, there were no stories, there was the post gallery and there was no concept of creating one’s own image on social media: this is now indispensable, especially when several professionals have entered the world of Instagram and had to find their own personality, their own way of communicating.
For example, in my case, I created as a Health Influencer a particular style that those who follow me recognize. Those who follow me have identified it: I always use the same colors, the photos have a similar style, I have created a nutrition education format where the photo on the cover is always in the same style.
The covers of my featured stories are always the same: in general I have created harmony in my style. All these are relatively new concepts: we have been talking about images on social for very few years.
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How to become a Health Influencer?
First of all, in order to become a Health Influencer one has to be trained, have a qualification, or at least study to have this title: this for me is the basis.
Then you have to find your own communication style, your own image, and your personality. Nowadays, social media are “big families” where you can immediately see who is plagiarising: this is debasing for the user because it is as if they are reading your copy.
It has happened to me that they take a lot of inspiration from some of my ways of communicating and that bothers me because I have put time, energy, and imagination into creating images. It is important to create your own personality.
Fine, there’s an Influencer you like and you want to draw inspiration from it because you liked it graphically; however, let it not be copied outright because it debases both the person you copy and the community itself.
Researching the target audience could also definitely be a winning strategy. It depends, however, on what you deal with if your profession leads you to specialize in some topic, then as a Health Influencer you already have a clear target audience.
This is certainly a winner, but then it is not a winner in terms of numbers because if it is a small niche, then there is slower growth. What you have to say is of interest to fewer people: if, however, growth in the number of followers is not the main goal then it is not a problem.
It creates an interesting niche profile.
What the person has to say and how he or she wants to say it is important to classify the social channel. The sector in which one works and the person’s own attitude lead to channel preferences. For example, there are those who are better at speaking, in which case YouTube is the most appropriate channel.
For example, I have dietician nutritionist colleagues who are Health Influencers and work best on this platform: they do short spoken lectures. I, on the other hand, am much better at photographing and writing.
For me, the image is a much more important impact and that is what I want to convey to those who follow me, which is why Instagram is my preferred communication channel.
If I identify myself, moreover, with a younger target group, then I will focus on different socials. There are others to consider. If I target an older age group, however, Facebook is still the most suitable social. It depends on the age, what you have to say, and how you want to say it.
Conclusions and Career Coaching
Today, digital technology has created professions that were unthinkable until recently and led to a reflection on influencers. As I showed in the interview with Francesca Oggionni, An Apple for Dietician, the Health Influencer is a newly emerging reality.
It is not simply a person who shares certain food-related content with the community, but rather a professional working in the world of human health and well-being.
Digital gives anyone a voice and anyone can listen. It is therefore important to understand the importance of conveying scientific information when dealing with Healthy topics.
It is also indispensable, as we have seen, to have notions related to the world of social media and to develop the concept of Personal Branding or digital identity. One has to be fully aware of how to show oneself to the community of reference, but above all one has to be aware that the digital world is constantly and incessantly evolving.
So, as was the case with Francesca, one must always keep up with updates and adapt to new digital formats and new forms of sharing!
If your desire is to become a Health Influencer, request a consultation with an expert. He will help you identify the best training path for you