07 May 2019
Well, for a start, let’s be a bit careful about who and what we are happy to call ‘Fitness Influencers’.
You don’t need to float very far in cyberspace to encounter someone touting the latest health or fitness craze; the wellbeing industry continues to grow at an almost exponential rate. As a result, anyone and everyone wants a slice of the action.
This is, of course, good and bad. A good amount of these people do know fad from fab and are, therefore, worthy advocates. The ones to watch out for are the bad influencers, those happy to promote untested or potentially harmful diets and fitness programs.
Well, broadly speaking they’re people ‘in the know’ who promote their programs or programs created by others online. Instagram is full of fitness influencers declaring their support for the latest health craze. And they may do so using some emotional and aspirational language to convince new people to jump on board.
They are very much an online phenomenon born out of our reliance on digital content to shape our lives. The internet gives influencers unprecedented access to our lives, hopes and dreams.
Generally, fitness influencers aren’t certified fitness gurus or perhaps even fitness experts; they’re everyday people with the ability to be relatable. They build a fan base by being like us and sharing their successes and failures with fitness and nutrition.
As a result, they become more believable when they endorse a program they have had personal success with. Ultimately the best fitness influencers will become recognised fitness brand ambassadors or sponsored athletes.
That’s the biggest plus the entire influencer craze can offer, and it stems directly from the intimacy and relatability of their online relationship with followers.
A follower will relate to the struggles of their influencer; they’ll relate to the trial and error as the influencer tests diets and fitness fads. And they’ll relate even more when their influencer finds something that truly works – "if they can make it work, so can I."
Crazy though it may seem, fitness influencers have altered the way health and fitness companies market their products. Gone are the days when some form of celebrity endorsement got the cash registers ringing; now companies seek out reputable fitness influencers to publicly represent their brand. Influencer marketing for almost all product-driven businesses is critical to their success, especially in an industry as competitive as health and fitness. People are loyal to their favourite influencers, there is an element of tribalism and people will stand with who they like and relate with the most. After all, these influencers are the embodiment of Joe and Jolene Average’s success.
A personal trainer may actively promote programs to an online market, but, by definition, they aren’t categorised as a true fitness influencer. They are, however, a qualified expert on all things health and fitness. So if you’re sceptical about the whole influencer approach, a personal trainer is someone you can safely trust with their recommendations for diet and exercise.
That said, the most successful online fitness influencers succeed through relatability, notability. Perhaps the best way to judge the top fitness influencers is through their social media followers. If they have a staggeringly large number of dedicated followers, chances are they’re doing something right.
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