When it comes to influencer marketing, food and beverage brands are beginning to step away from big stars in favor of a different track.
There’s no denying celebrities’ wide-following and trend-boosting power, but brands seeking a wellness halo are increasingly turning to influential food and lifestyle bloggers instead. By having a more accessible representative behind their content, companies can increase their reliability.
Influencers Are the New Celebrities
As consumers prioritize health and wellness, they’re more inclined to look for information from someone who feels like a trusted friend than a public figure. Most people in this crowd don’t just want to see what their favorite stars are up to — they want reliable content that can help inform their purchase decisions.
Wellness influencers are viewed as “real” people — approachable and authentic. Including them in marketing leads to higher engagement in ads, regardless of whether the content is sponsored. Moreover, because these influencers are truly passionate about healthy eating and a well-balanced lifestyle, they’re more likely to put care into their endorsements and avoid mishaps.
Rachel Mansfield is one healthy living blogger and Instagram influencer who has promoted food and beverage brands on her platform. When she used Barney Butter as a key ingredient in her Quinoa Chocolate Crunch Bars recipe, she went beyond an obvious plug to explain why she loves the product.
“Barney Butter Bare is different than the other BB almond butters because of the no added salt or sugar,” she wrote in her blog post. “I aim to eat as clean as I can with no added salts especially, so I am a huge fan of this line. The ‘Bares’ are perfect to add into recipes too that already have sugar (like this one with dates and chocolate!).”
Health advocates like Rachel also broaden consumers’ options for wellness resources —and consumers want those extra options. The most successful influencers deliver honest and credible resources in a way that’s easy to access online.
Choosing Your Brand’s Perfect Health Guru
To earn consumers’ loyalty and trust, you need the right person advocating for your brand. Here are a few tips for marketers going through the decision-making process:
- Know your celebrities from your social influencers. Celebrities are valued mainly for their level of exposure. They’re also not necessarily in charge of their own social media platforms. Social influencers, by contrast, offer specific expertise, credibility and a self-built audience of loyal fans.
- Pay attention to your audience. Brands that listen to their current social media followers generate feedback from already dedicated customers. Taking a look at another brand with an established community can also be helpful in finding what does and doesn’t work for consumers.
- Don’t focus on fame. It’s tempting to spring for the biggest name available, but follower count only goes so far. If the individual you’re seeking to plug your product isn’t knowledgeable, he or she isn’t a good choice for your brand. Look for someone in the “power middle” — influencers with followers ranging from 10,000 to 250,000 — with the ability to convince your specific audience to engage with your brand.
With a little more than 89,000 Instagram followers, mommy blogger Joanna Goddard fits this model perfectly. So it makes sense that healthy snack subscription service NatureBox tapped into her network to promote its products online.
The brand posted multiple pictures of Joanna’s kids enjoying their healthy snacks on Instagram, gaining thousands of shares collectively. For her part, Joanna posted a sponsored blog post detailing why she loves NatureBox and gave her subscribers a discount code. The posts felt authentic — what mom doesn’t want her kids eating healthy? — and boosted both the brand and Joanna’s credibility.
At the end of the day, putting a face to your brand isn’t just about reaching a larger audience or connecting your product to a well-known figure. Instead, you want to reach consumers by empowering them with trustworthy content. You’ll bring your brand the credibility consumers are after when you work with a wellness influencer.
Sarah Clark is the president of Mitchell, an award-winning public relations firm that creates real conversations between people, businesses, and brands through strategic insights, customized conversations, and consumer engagement. Mitchell is part of Dentsu Aegis Network, which is made up of nine global network brands and supported by its specialist/multimarket brands.
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