As we learned in the recent election cycle, consumer attitudes and actions are deeply influenced by social media. We rely on our social networks for guidance about purchase decisions, travel plans and, particularly, health and lifestyle choices. This isn’t new.
Before online social networks existed, the Framingham Heart Study found that social ties have a profound impact on individual lifestyle decisions. For example, an individual’s likelihood of becoming obese increased by 57 percent if he or she had a social connection with someone who became obese (all other factors remaining equal).
We are social animals, and our connections are amplified on social media. It is not surprising that health and lifestyle content is heavily shared on social networks, and that it has a powerful, real-world effect on consumers, making it the most important platform for wellness brands to reach—and impact—consumers.
Although “wellness” has been a media darling for many years, at CureJoy, we realized that most of our community members are relatively new to healthy living lifestyle choices. Creators and brands must take this into account when crafting content.
Of course, consumers want healthier, happier lives for themselves and their families. But rather than sudden transformations, they are seeking advice and tips for making small, daily changes that fit into the way they live now. Social media is the perfect vehicle for delivering content that is bite-sized, actionable and accessible.
Effective content must simplify wellness so that consumers can make the small lifestyle changes that lead to big benefits over time. Content must be optimized for consumption in the social and mobile feed.
Finally, the message must not preach or talk down to “newbies.” Tailoring content for this “next wave” of wellness consumers can be very powerful. Consumers are deeply driven to live healthier lives, and they are turning to social media to learn how.
For all of the good that social media can do, there is a dark side. “Fake news” about healthy living products—overstated or spurious claims—poses a real threat to consumers. At CureJoy, we have seen that social media has a powerful impact on the way consumers eat, shop, exercise and relax. Because many consumers are new to wellness, they are particularly susceptible to overstated claims and inaccurate information.
It is essential that the health and wellness industry police itself to assure that the advice we provide to consumers is valid, and that any commercial sponsorship is clearly disclosed. CureJoy’s content is created by expert practitioners, based on their field-tested experience. We vet the content to assure that it is pragmatic, credible and trustworthy.
Publishers and brands must work together to provide valuable, validated healthy living advice that places consumer safety and well-being first.
Dikshant Dave is CEO of health and wellness community CureJoy, which reaches 80 million monthly users via social media, mobile applications, email and the web.