This post was written by Emily Foster, dietitian and marketer. She is passionate about getting healthcare professionals on social media spreading the word about science. Emily is the founder of Glowing Potential, a nutrition and marketing consultancy based in the southeast of England. Emily recently released the online course, Glowing Social: Social Media 101 for Science-Based Nutrition Professionals*
*This is an affiliate link which means that if you decide the course is right for you and purchase, I will make a commission from Glowing Potential at no extra cost to you. I am supporting this course because I completed the pilot program in the autumn of 2017 and I found it to be really useful. I feel it is important that nutritional professionals know how to make an impact on social media with evidence-based messages.
There are currently 3.196 billion active social media users worldwide, which is up 13% from January 2017. In the UK 65% of the population are active social media users (44 million people!)1; so these are huge numbers. As dietitians we know that it’s important for us to be on social media but admittedly with everything else we’ve got on our plates it can feel frustrating to manage.
Let’s face it – social media isn’t exactly a stable playing field. Algorithms (the behind-the- scenes codes that platforms have to decide what content is “best”) can change on a weekly basis, platforms can decide “yeah… we don’t want to have this feature any more” and poof! There goes something that may have been working well for your audience but now it’s gone. Pair that up with the constant flux of platforms generally wanting to shake things up by moving buttons and features around and you’re left feeling a little frustrated. Because of all of these changes it is important to make sure you’re not putting all of your eggs in one basket with a particular platform. Always make sure you back-up past posts or photos as it’s not a guaranteed thing that your content will be there tomorrow.
All those things being said, it’s not all doom and gloom!
Social media provides free space for you to connect with peers, potential clients, researchers and the media.
Staying on top of social media trends is an essential part of getting the most out of your platforms2 and managing frustration so that you don’t get left in the dust.
When you stay “in the know” with social media trends you:
- Learn the best way to connect with your audience and get your message out there
- Can pro-actively predict what major shifts are happening so you’re not caught off guard if it’s a major platform for you and your business
- Are effective at getting your voice heard above the nutrition misinformation cloud
- Learn what’s working and what’s not working on your platform(s) so that you know what to put the most effort behind
A Real Life Example
A great example of the importance of staying on top of social media trends is Facebook and it’s recently announced re-boot. Many dietitians have Facebook as their main social media platform, if you are aware of the most recent changes (coming) to Facebook you will know that things are radically changing. Fast. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook Founder announced this (amongst a few other things) on January 12th, 2018.
“- you’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media. And the public content you see more will be held to the same standard — it should encourage meaningful interactions between people.”3
In case you didn’t catch that… that’s you if you’ve got a nutrition Facebook page for your business/practice. What this means is that you, as a dietitian who’s a Facebook page owner, will want to inform yourself on what content Facebook begins to consider “meaningful”. You’re organic (unpaid) reach is also very likely to drop and posts that don’t generate conversation amongst your audience will be seen significantly less in your followers newsfeed4.
Here’s the bright side – if you’re aware of the shifts happening and keep an eye out for updates you will be able to take advantage of the changes whilst others are left scratching their heads wondering why no one is seeing their posts. As many dietitians have small businesses or one woman/man-bands the positive is that we are able to easily pivot vs. larger organizations and companies that are much more process-driven and slow-moving.
Three Key Tips to Stay on Top of Social Media Trends as a Dietitian:
- Find an “expert” to “follow” – perhaps a freelancer or PR/Marketing
agency – on your platform of choice that regularly discusses social
- When a platform releases a new feature do a quick search to find out
more about that feature to discover how you can incorporate it into
your strategy and if there are any more updates coming soon
- Attend semi-regular social media trainings or updates online or at
local networking events
As we are all pressed for time, it is essential to ensure that the time you do spend on social media makes an impact.
Keep up to date with social media trends and track what is and isn’t working for you and your audience. With the average person in the UK spending 1hr 54mins on social media per day5 (that’s over 13 hours per week!) there is a tremendous opportunity for you to connect with peers, patients or potential clients.
Interested in learning more about social media trends and how to get the most out of your platforms?
Note: This post contains affiliate links to the online course: Glowing Social: The Social Media 101 Course for Science-Based Nutrition Professionals. This means that if you decide the course is right for you and purchase, I will make a commission from Glowing Potential at no extra cost to you. The reason I am promoting this course is that I completed the pilot program in the autumn of 2017 and I found it to be really useful. Especially as I feel that understanding how to make the most out of social media is really important for nutrition professionals, so that we can reach a wide audience with evidence-based nutrition messages. See my disclosure policy for more information.
- We Are Social. Digital in 2018. January 2018. https://wearesocial.com/uk/blog/2018/01/global-
- Buffer. 2018 Social Media Trends. January 25th, 2018. https://blog.bufferapp.com/social-
- Mark Zuckerberg. January 12th, 2018.
- Social Media Examiner. Facebook Zero: The Changing Newsfeed and What Marketers Need
to Know. January 2018. https://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/facebook-zero- changing-news-
feed-what- marketers-need- to-know/
- We Are Social + Hootsuite. Digital in 2018. January 2018.