Most RDs (registered dietitians) know all too well, there is a wealth of misinformation involving nutrition and health being consumed every day, especially when non-certified individuals come to be seen as “experts” only due to their 30,000 followers on Instagram or popular YouTube channels. While this may feel like an injustice to the fully educated nutrition community, this is actually great news for RDs. By using the same means and tactics these accounts have proven effective, true professionals now have the opportunity to take hold of the space every consumer hopes to access: THE TRUTH.
With this bit of optimism in mind, there is a great deal to learn from what influencers have done to date. Here are a few examples of how your wealth of knowledge and expertise can be utilized to create trusting relationships, build a network, and get your business growing and booming:
Step 1: Start With Where You Are
Take an audit of your current visibility before you start putting more of yourself out there. More often than not, we have a greater public footprint than we think. This can be great news: it means you’ve already done work on creating a personal brand, so you can focus your energy not on starting from scratch but on building from your foundation. It can also mean that your less professional side is showing a bit more than you’d prefer.
A great first step is to Google yourself, look at your social media profiles, as well as any websites and blogs you may have previously created. Do this from the perspective of a potential client: what’s the most immediate information you would find about yourself? This could be your published credentials, what university you attended, any published research or articles you’ve written, and even much more personal information. It’s good to be aware of the whole picture, so you can think about what things you’d rather keep private (like a personal social accounts) or what things you’d like to advertise a bit more (like a published dissertation you’re proud of).
Now that you know what your first impression currently looks like, take some time to clean up the old and less professional things that don’t serve the image you’re trying to create.
Step 2: Think About Where You Want To Be
After getting honest with yourself about the reality of today, it’s time to visualize your ideal future. What goals do you have? What kind of business or personal brand are you hoping to build? What clients do you want to attract? What do you want to be seen as an expert in?
Do the same exercise as before, looking at this from a prospective client’s point of view. What would you need to see in that initial Google search that would give you enough information to decide whether an RD is credible or trustworthy enough for you? Make a list of the most essential things that come to mind and keep it handy as you start to strategize.
Step 3: Get Creative About How To Get There
Now that you’ve got a Point A and a Point B, it’s time to make a roadmap. Be flexible moving forward and look at this as an ongoing process that will require regular adjusting and readjusting based on the reality of your experience. A great thing to do is look at what others are doing and get inspired. What RD’s do you admire? What about their work and their approach is so attractive to you? Who do you find credible and why?
It’s important to let this be a creative process. Keep a notebook handy for writing down any ideas that come to you, any posts that inspire you or tactics you see working for other people. Social media marketing thrives on creativity, so don’t limit yourself to what’s already been done. As long as something fits within your ideal brand image, it’s worth taking seriously.
Here are just a few common types of content health, diet and lifestyle influencers have successfully used to grow their following:
Creating a blog where you regularly publish informative content is a great way to establish yourself as a credible source people can rely on. The goal should be to create a space where clients and potential clients routinely go to get their nutritional and dietary questions answered. There is plenty to learn about the effective styles of blog writing, though the key is to create easily sharable material with an attractive and intriguing tagline.
A blog is where you can truly diversify your content, as well, making shorter, easy to consume posts along with longer, more detailed ones where the depth of your knowledge can really shine. Be sure that these posts are approachable, however. When looking to gain a following that can lead to a steady stream of business, it’s best to meet the average consumer where they are, rather than flooding them with esoteric language more easily appreciated in educational spheres. Be sure to think like your target audience: what are they looking to learn? What will they be surprised by? What’s most valuable to their health?
Tips & Tricks
In the same theme of easily sharable material, building a list of short tips, tricks, and health hacks is a great way to always have something publishable for things like Twitter and Instagram. For example, create a post with a surprising nutritional fact about avocados or introduce your audience to an affordable superfood.
Try to make these eye-catching and to the point, maybe even attaching an image whenever possible. Content of this type should make users stop scrolling through their long feeds and spend some time with your material and your name.
Most people looking to improve their nutritional health find themselves looking for easy to prepare recipes that will leave them feeling satisfied and nourished. Crafting content like this means even more sharable material for platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and more that can link to your website and blog. Think about your audience and what their level of cooking experience or their weekly grocery budget. Once again, if you can include an image, always do.
To go a step further, maybe create videos of yourself preparing your recipes! This can serve the purpose of demonstrating their simple preparation and can include your commentary on what the dietary benefits are of each ingredient. Here, your also given the opportunity to show how relatable you and your services are, bridging the often daunting gap between potential clients and the professional.
Another valuable idea is posting videos of you and your peers simply sharing important information about any number of topics relating to your field. Maybe you choose to interview a colleague or simply create where you comment on particular dietary benefits. Make sure to have videos that are essential and easy to consume, as the most popular videos on YouTube tend to have a duration of two minutes or less.
There are plenty of RDs and nutrition-focused people with great social media presence to look to for ideas and inspiration. Make sure to go follow accounts you admire on Twitter, Instagram, etc. and learn from what they’re doing well.
Here are a few people we admire to help get you started!
Kathryn Doherty – @FamilyFoodTable
Kathryn’s Twitter is filled with visually appealing posts with links to recipes and to her own blog. She regularly updates her feed and is consistent in her approach, which makes her a reliable resource for followers!
Kara Landau – @TravelDietician
Kara combines her passion for diet and nutrition with a passion for travel – both highly attractive topics for followers. In addition to sharing pictures of her adventures and healthy living tips, she uses her Twitter page as a place to share relevant articles about health and nutrition studies. She’s a great example of how your content doesn’t always have to be original. Instead, make sure you’re connecting with the information and resources that are already out there and that your audience is eager to learn from. By interacting with these pages and with credible material, you quickly get seen as a credible resource, as well, all the while remaining a relatable figure for followers to engage with.
Sally Kuzemchak – @RMNutritian
Sally’s accounts are filled with links to her beautiful website and blog, all themed around giving real moms a place to go for healthy recipes, advice, and recommendations for family-friendly products, all in a highly relatable and friendly voice. By gearing your content towards a particular group that you feel passionate about helping, you can focus your energy in really productive ways. Consider exploring what topics and issues within diet and nutrition really get you fired up. Maybe you’ll find yourself wanting to build your content around those themes.