This piece was written by one of our contributors; business mentor, published author and influencer-specialist – Fab Giovanetti.
As influencer marketing continues to boom, more and more people set themselves up to become “influencers”. However, whether we like it or not, we are still living in the Wild Wild West of the industry, especially when talking about transparency and responsibilities.
Although there are great people with an amazing mission out there still, the market has become diluted, and most influencers work without a clear framework or guidance in order to grow their brand efficiently.
It’s hard for the average consumer to properly assess who is truly going to be trustworthy. This is why there are simple things you can look for on someone’s Instagram account to make sure they are trustworthy influencers. The following benchmarks are very similar to the ones we use at ROHWI and are devised to protect the public interest by ensuring that health and wellness influencers work to a high standard of practice and be transparent about their advertising work.
Whilst experience and qualifications are undoubtedly very important if the actual content of the influencer doesn’t inspire you their knowledge becomes redundant. Let’s be honest, personality is key – and the quality and feel of the content will be received differently by each and every person!
You should be asking yourself whether their content speaks to you, whether you feel like they understand you and their content is something that inspires you on a daily basis. Seriously, if you are not a fan of puns, I can easily suggest you to stir away from my content. The same can be applied for anyone else.
As a general rule of thumb the more experience an influencer has in a topic, the more likely they are to be able to provide content you want to read and consume. Following up on my article about persuasion, how do you get motivated? Is it by being inspired, or educated? What content can really enrich your life and help you learn a specific topic (for example exercise or entrepreneurship?)
To an extent, education is subjective as there are so many schools of thought and research all the time in the health world. Nonetheless, if an influence has a list of qualifications behind them it shows they are committed to sharing information about wellness through their own studies and research.
Education is very important, and qualifications in a particular field are the foundation of becoming an expert at your craft. However, in recent years many professionals have moved over to the online space and have created careers based on producing consumer content meant for engagement with the public.
The health and wellness influencer community is varied and spans across a number of specialised areas. Unfortunately, standardised qualifications are the exception not the rule in this sector. There are many differences of opinion on what warrants qualification across the fields of nutrition, fitness and wellbeing.
In our register we open our doors to both professionals and content creators, and this is because we do not believe that the approach with this register is to penalise those who are not able to access higher education systems. The internet has democratised who has consumer influence. What we cannot really compromise on is that all content creators need to work to an industry standard in regards to health and wellness information.
This all to say that qualifications are great, but there is another very important element to consider.
Language is incredibly overlooked when it comes to what happens on Instagram.
The first place to look at this is the bio: how do you feel the influencer is portraying themselves? Are they not being truthful about their qualifications or background?
Yes, this comes down to “attention to detail” and being able to quickly recognise some warning signs.
Who are the brands these influencers align themselves to? Do they fully disclose partnerships?
It may sound boring, but this attention to detail is what really can bring a higher level of responsibility and make the influencers aware that what they say has an effect on people. Do not underestimate the power of looking through people’s captions and see whether their claims are too bold, unrealistically or not fully backed up.
This is just the beginning
Let’s be honest, we are just scratching the surface of this industry, and there is a lot more to be assessed – and a lot more conversations to be had – in order to make the online space more trustworthy.
Obviously, it should not all be down to consumers.
We have reached out to so many influencers before launching and to be honest it was a mixed bag.
Getting people to take on a mantle of accountability and adapt their way of working is not an easy road to travel especially if it is financially rewarding to continue to keep the status quo. I may make a bold claim here, but if you are a health and wellness influencer that produces content to inform the public and works in partnership with brands you need to be part of the change (ROHWI is definitely a great place to start).
People need to be working to an industry standard and influencers need to be held to account for both your conduct and content. Our hope is that this can truly be a change for the better.