The Power of a Social Media Lifestyle

Mom and daughter in kitchen taking selfie and baking
Photo: Antonio_Diaz/iStock/Thinkstock

Do you know people who roll their eyes as soon as they hear, “Research suggests…?” Maybe they are skeptical or uninterested. Whatever the reason, not everyone wants to talk “evidence” or hear about studies. That’s where I lean into social media.

The people I know who are skeptical of research often highly value life experience. What worked for a friend might work for them. Lifestyle is a very powerful form of persuasion. RDNs are uniquely suited to translate evidence into a lifestyle and present it on social media. The Power of a Social Media Lifestyle -

As an example, I observed that moms following me on Instagram showed less interest in posts starting with “research shows…” What really inspired them to feed their kids veggies were pictures, stories and videos of me feeding my own kids veggies. On my Instagram feed, I call evidenced-based feeding practices “tips & tricks.” I use my own life as a registered dietitian and mom of two small kids to model evidence-based behaviors. That’s how I reach all different kinds of people with evidence without alienating people who aren’t interested in hearing the “evidence-based” language.

Lifestyle marketing has been around for a while. In the public health field, it’s part of “educational entertainment” and “social marketing,” and in the marketing field it’s part of “storytelling.” In parenting, it might be called “role modeling.” Whatever you call it, sharing your story and lifestyle is a powerful way to connect with people. When you share your story, people often respond with empathy — they have been there, too. That opens the door to lifestyle changes in a deep and meaningful way.

As RDNs we can be out there telling our stories and showing our lifestyles that are rooted in the evidence. Social media gives us the opportunity to reach all different kinds of people with messages they can understand.

Jennifer Anderson
Jennifer Anderson, MSPH, RDN, is a mom of two young boys and inspires other moms. She also is a nutritionist consultant and leads digital communications and content strategy for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's SNAP-Ed Connection.