The U.S., and countries around the globe, are facing an ever-evolving series of health issues, including obesity, food deserts, child hunger, poor maternal health outcomes, and the resurgence of communicable diseases. Traditionally, health communicators and marketers have talked about these issues in a vacuum, in which related information is only visible when people are specifically seeking it out.
If we are to give global health the attention it deserves, we need to weave it into our everyday conversations and experiences. Ultimately, we need to normalize the conversation around health.
The emergence of everyday online opinion leaders has created a whole new market for shifting consumer perceptions and behaviors. In fact, many of these everyday online opinion leaders, called influencers, have built such large-scale social media presences that they now have the voice, the platform, and the following to reach millions of people with personal points of view on any number of topics. There are great opportunities for engaging with online influencers to support health promotion programs.
However, navigating this online community is new to many people. Understanding how this online community works, the opportunities for paid and unpaid engagements, and the value that health programs specifically have with this community, is paramount to successfully working with influencers.
This book draws from research with over 400 online influencers, the latest industry data, and practical, real-world experiences working with influencers over the past ten years. An easy-to-read guidebook for marketers and health communicators alike, this book leverages storytelling as a means for sharing lessons-learned and providing readers with practical knowledge about the online marketing industry and influencer community, as they relate to health.
Table of Contents
Foreword Introduction Chapter 1: Influencers: Old and New Chapter 2: Followers and the Importance of Trust and Credibility Chapter 3: Relationships, Relationships, Relationships Chapter 4: Online Influencers and Health Chapter 5: Online Influencer Perceptions of Risk Chapter 6: it’s Just the “Great Unknown Chapter 7: The Importance of the Message Chapter 8: The Importance of Great – Not Good – Graphics Chapter 9: A Path Forward
Dr. Amelia Burke-Garcia is an award-winning digital health communicator and researcher with more than fifteen years of experience creating innovative and impactful digital interventions for public health initiatives. Currently, she runs the Digital Strategy and Outreach Program Area at NORC at the University of Chicago. She has led numerous influencer-focused efforts on behalf of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
"In regularly working with Dr. Amelia Burke-Garcia on influencer marketing initiatives over the past several years, specifically for clients in the public health and wellness space, I've seen her passion and deep knowledge about the field and her work firsthand. She is one of the most well-organized, articulate and strategic partners I've worked with, and unlike many marketing practitioners, she approaches social media and influencer work with the sound reasoning and trained eye of a great researcher. Dr. Burke-Garcia’s dedication to matching the needs of her health clients with influencers who authentically engage their audiences on relevant topics, paired with her creativity, strong work ethic and solutions-based approach to influencer marketing, have resulted directly in the success of one campaign after another. Within my company, we consider her a valued partner, and when she shares insights, ideas and case studies from her work, others should sit up and take notice." — Erin Olson, vice president, client services, The Motherhood influencer marketing agency
"Strategic use of new methods for communicating health messages effectively in a digital-first world is critically important to ensuring that the right message gets shared and understood by the right person at the right moment. Unfortunately, there are not many authors with the relevant expertise needed to effectively guide strategic digital health communication. Dr. Amelia Burke-Garcia, however, is one of the most well qualified experts for guiding evolving digital health communication technologies, policies, and practices . Her vast experiences in digital health, coupled with her clear and conversational writing style, enables her to connect directly with readers to help them make informed choices about the best use of digital health communication. I highly recommend her important new book, Influencing Health: A Comprehensive Guide to Working with Online Influencers to everyone studying or using digital health information systems." — Gary L. Kreps, PhD, University Distinguished Professor of Communication, Director of the Center for Health and Risk Communication, George Mason University
"Many of us who work in communication and marketing are easily swept up in the latest technology and social media channels without having the evidence to support of our decisions or a strategy to drive our activities. We are at a critical moment with influencer marketing, and this burgeoning field, which is expected to grow to a $10 billion industry by 2020, is desperately in need of supporting data, thoughtful research, and an evidence-based approach to guide today’s brands and organizations. Dr. Amelia Burke-Garcia is the leading communication expert in this field, and her understanding of effective communication principles, published data on influencer marketing, and personal connections with many of today’s leading influencers makes her the perfect person to write this book. My colleagues are repeatedly asking me for resources that provide best practices and tips on influencer marketing, and I am anxiously awaiting this book’s publication. I’m confident it will serve as an invaluable resource to our field." — Erin Norvell, Executive Director, Society for Health Communication; Founder and Principal Strategist, Digital Edge Communications