Influencer Strategy’s Role in Marketing your Programs and Services
By RDBA Executive Director Annette Maggi, MS, RDN, LD, FAND
With health and wellbeing programs continuing to be offered in digital spaces and the crowded landscape in social these days, a frequent concern for retail dietitians is how to effectively market your programs and services to consumers.
Developing an influencer strategy can be an effective way to drive traffic to your healthy living offerings.
It’s true that retail RDs are influencers themselves, but the goal of an influencer strategy is to leverage the networks of local influencers to increase awareness and drive participation in your programs.
The best way to use influencer marketing is to first identify those ideally suited to promote your services. In some cases, the influencer may be a business or health care center. If you are offering classes on nutrition during pregnancy, for example, outreach to ob/gyn docs is likely to drive traffic to your programs. Gyms would be likely to drive attendance in weight management programs you offer as this is likely a core interest of their member. In 2017, Hy-Vee announced a partnership with Orange Theory, leveraging the connection between food and fitness.
In other circumstances, the influencer may be an individual whose audience aligns with one of your target markets. Using the example of nutrition during pregnancy classes, if a local female newscaster announces a pregnancy, reach out to offer her consults and services. As somewhat of a local celebrity, this person’s reach is likely extensive, getting your message out to a broad audience. Inviting local parent bloggers and presidents of school PTA groups to participate in a kids’ cook-along or school lunch store tour free-of-charge can hit the exact right audience.
The goal of influencer marketing is not just about finding local individuals with the highest number of followers, but about finding the right ones who can sell your products and services to their audience. Consumers are tired of the multitude of advertisements that show up in their inboxes and on their social feeds. Instead of scrolling endlessly through social feeds or searching the vast amount of information on the web, shoppers follow influencers whose style they like, who are in a similar life stage, or have a similar personality. Consumers trust these influencers and start identifying with them. They then take the recommendations from these influencers seriously. These are the influencers that can drive traffic to your programs and services.
The sway of the right influencers is even greater during the pandemic as more than ever, consumers want the connection with other people, not businesses or corporations. They seek the personal touch and recommendation of the influencers they follow.
Leveraging influencers is probably the oldest way of marketing – word of mouth. Can you afford not to build this strategy into your marketing plans?