Influencer marketing has found its place as an advertising method, but I’ve noticed some troubling behaviors in the wellness influencers community. As someone who exists in the realm of wellness and fitness social media, I want to bring attention to some of these actions. Influencing is great, but not at the cost of integrity and responsibility.
Shame Other’s Choices
As wellness influencers, we should never shame anyone for their wellness choices. Every body is different, and everybody has varying needs and resources. The fitness and wellness journey is an individual one, and while we can (and should) share our experiences, putting others down does not pass the vibe check. Encourage your fans and followers were they are. It will yield better results for everyone. Always, always be kind.
Shill Products You Don’t Use
Since I started blogging and sharing on social, I prided myself on being genuine. If I share or work with a brand, it’s because I truly like and use that product. Yes, I turn down proposals to collaborate on things that don’t mesh with my lifestyle, or that I have tried and don’t like, or even that are conflict with my other brands. If I rave about a race, it’s because I loved it. When I talk about my Road ID, it’s because I wear mine regularly (and so does my son and my puppy). At a certain point, shilling items for a paycheck will make your followers feel used and taken advantage of.
Stop Saying “If I Can Do It, Anyone Can Do It”
The reality is, professional (and semi-professional) wellness influencers’ jobs revolve around… you guessed it. fitness and wellness. They push themselves hard, try new experiences, and present a gram-worthy image, but their priority is most likely… fitness and wellness. They aren’t necessarily playing on the same field as their followers and therefore, shouldn’t make those fans feel badly for not having the same time and resources to devote to their own journeys. By saying “if I can do this, anyone can” sends an unrealistic message that their fans just don’t work hard enough, and that’s just not always the truth.
Prey On Insecurities
People follow influencers because they look up to them in some way. Fans are inspired by and want to emulate those public figures. That’s a huge honor, but also, a great responsibility. When influencers make statements that prey on their followers’ insecurities, it can be an exploitive thing, designed to sell something, or keep followers coming back for approval, help, or affirmation. Ethical influencers can, and should, operate effectively without these tactics. Build up, rather than break down. It’s the right thing to do.
NEVER GIVE MEDICAL ADVICE!
I cannot stress this enough. Unless a wellness or fitness influencer is actually a doctor, they should NEVER dispense medical advice. Even certified coaches and nutritionists should also make a disclaimer that their clients or fans should consult with a doctor before embarking on a new fitness regime or diet. No matter what an influencer is selling or promoting, it is flat out dangerous to promise to help, cure, or otherwise fix someone’s health issues.
What are your thoughts on how wellness influencers should behave?
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