For the past two years, I have developed a fascination for Health and Wellness Influencers on Instagram. I have always toyed around with the idea of starting my own health and wellness account, but have not had enough motivation until this class to do so. Since the day I followed Taylor McKellop, better known as @cleaneatsbytay via Instagram, I became hooked on her posts. The first aspect of Taylor’s account that I was initially attracted to was the aesthetic and the general theme of her photos. Taylor uses all four basic principles of design, contrast, repetition, alignment, and proximity within her work (Williams 2008).
Taylor’s front page of her account initially pulls followers to follow her, but the content of her post is what kept me hooked. Taylor is a college student living in Los Angelos, California whose Instagram page is filled with healthy recipes, self-care tips, and honesty that is relatable to an audience who share similar passions as her. Taylor and I share a passion for healthy food. Her account has an abundance of posts that share recipes which are easy, healthy, and cheap; everything a college student could ask for. Taylor leaves step-by-step instructions on how to prep and makes the recipes that she posts. She appeals to average college student by relating to the stressful days and nights that may make eating right difficulty and therefore provides a bit of relief with a delicious recipe right at their fingertips.
When thinking of my own account, I will realize that many of my followers will also be college students, and I want to be able to appeal to pathos by expressing my experience with the busy lifestyle students deal with, and making it easy for my followers to utilize my account. When I post about recipes, I will use the hashtag #EatsByWhit. By implementing a hashtag, my followers will be able to access all my recipes by simply typing in #EatsByWhit into the search bar. On the other hand, I will be able to interact with them to see if they are making the recipes I have posted, and then posting it on Instagram and using the same hashtag.
Lee Tilghman, or @leefromamerica, is another health and wellness influencer who I have followed for quite some time now. She is an advocate for mental health and healthy living.
Lee’s account is similar to Taylor’s but seems to have a larger and broader audience. Since Lee has a more diverse community of followers, when she is writing her Instagram posts, she needs to keep in mind who her intended audience will be, and how she wants to convey herself to her followers. What I love about Lee is that she is able to give tips and advice surrounding mental health, but also reminds her followers that she is not a medical professional, so what may work for her, may not work for another person.
Transparency will be a vital tool for me to use with my followers when I am writing posts about tips that have worked for me throughout my wellness journey. I want to appeal to my audience using ethos by establishing a common ground of trust by being honest about who I am and where I have received the information I am posting about.
Lee becomes creative with the story feature on Instagram. Once a week she goes on IGTV, which is an app on Instagram that allows only “verified” users to upload vertical, edited videos that are ten to sixty minutes long. Below is a link of a post that Instagram shared describing the new feature.
For example, the other month Lee traveled to San Francisco and shortly after her trip uploaded an IGTV called “Exploring San Francisco.”
Throughout this five minute video, Lee took her followers through a day of her trip, bringing them to different restaurants, coffee shops, and landmarks where she gave real and honest reviews. She appealed to her followers by creating content that would be helpful for those traveling to San Francisco and may need a tool to use throughout their trip by voicing her opinion to her followers. Similarly, I am planning on utilizing Instagram’s story feature by using it to interact with my followers mainly in the first and second week. I am going to introduce myself in a real and honest way by going on Instagram “live” and offering a space for my followers to ask questions about me with no editing or time to plan for a response.
The final Health Enthusiast that I will introduce is @shutthekaleup, or more formally, Jeannette Ogden.
Many of her posts relate more to those who have children, but I have found her useful in other aspects regarding fitness, food, and wellness. An element I admire from her account is her relatability with general aspects of life. Even though she is a mom, and posts a lot about pregnancy and dealing with children, she is able to capture the attention of just about anyone who has daily experiences with life.
For example, in the post above about the holidays, her intended audience is broad. She makes it clear that some people do not have the means to celebrate the holidays like others may. To connect with a wide range of readers, especially college students, I will make sure to share tips, recipes, and my thoughts that all groups of people can enjoy. I want to be inclusive to all to make my account as useful as it can be.
I have learned many of my day-to-day habits and lifestyle tools from a majority of health and wellness accounts that I follow on Instagram. I have noticed that many of them have the same experience as me in learning from others. These accounts make it clear that they have received recipes, tips, and ideas from others by tagging that account in their posts. I want to appeal to ethos by establishing credibility and providing back up for the information I post. As I said before, I want to build a strong and trusted relationship between my followers and me so that I can hopefully gain traction on my account. I do not plan on painting myself as the perfect image for wellness and health, I only plan on sharing my true self and the stories that have guided me to where I am today.
The one aspect that all these account shares are Paid ADs. Since Taylor, Lee, and Jeannette are all considered influencers different companies reach out to see if they would be interested in promoting their products. Those who choose to participate, are obligated to persuade their followers to buy or consider using different products. I find these ADs to have a language that sounds forced. Readers can have a hard time distinguishing if the influencers are just posting about these products because they are being paid or if they genuinely use the products. When thinking about my own Instagram account, I will maintain my honesty throughout my writing to appeal to my readers in a way that will encourage them to follow and understand my beliefs.
I am hopeful that by the help from some of my favorite accounts, that my Instagram account can be eye-catching at first, but also interactive and useful for those who share a passion for healthy living as much as I do.
Williams, R. (2008). The Joshua Trees Epiphany. In The Non-Designer’s Design Book (3rd ed.). Berkeley, CA: Peachpit Press.