How to Source the Best Instagram Influencers for Health and Fitness Brands

instagram Jan 28, 2016

Oh, January. The time of new starts and fresh beginnings, with aspirations translating mostly to yoga classes and green juices. Lucky for Insta users, there has been no shortage of inspirational posts featuring beautiful people doing just these things, acting as a constant reminder to stay hydrated, eat your veggies, and get your butt to that overpriced studio to work your core.

On your mark, set, January resolutions!

It's what you could qualify as influencer marketing at its finest, as well as a natural fit for an industry that aims to create new habits within its user base. Sidenote: content with the hashtag #fitspo has approximately 272M Instagram impression so far this month. Better get to that treadmill, STAT.

Something to think about, considering that influencer marketing budgets are expected to grow by 59% this year in the world of fashion and beauty. Not only that, but 21% of brands who have never even engaged in the practice are planning on getting it started asap. If you think that sounds like a small number, it's because 57% of them are already doing it. It can be assumed that fitness and health brands are most likely on that boat.

Brands are quickly letting go of some creative control and allowing products to be marketed semi-organically through an increasing number of (trustworthy) voices. For this type of narrative to work, brands need to be selective with who they choose as an influencer, and we hate to repeat ourselves, but authenticity tends to reign in the fake world of Instagram. Consumers know the difference between a genuine post and a disguised advert - especially as loyal followers.

The key lies in finding brand ambassadors that provides a natural fit. Whether a brand goes with a more traditional type of influencer (i.e. celebrities, models, athletes, people who are in the general public eye) or bloggers/cool kids (the Instagram-famous kind that wouldn't necessarily be known outside of the platform) comes down to budget and the type of audience they’re looking to target.

With this big January health push in mind, we decided to check out 4 health and fitness accounts to scope out which brands are pushing their products (sponsored or not, or both - see if you can spot the difference) and just how influential these bearers of brand story have been over the past month.

Pressed Juicery

The Pressed Juicery account saw a big growth in followers this month, from 2.9K in December to 5.2K so far in January. Whether or not this spike can be attributed to increased interest and/or engagement due to New Year’s resolutions is up for debate, but what cannot be denied is that their UGC definitely helps.

![@pressedjuicery organically reached ~10M Instagram users this month.] (/content/images/2016/01/-pressedjuicery-instagram-reach.jpg)

L.A. cool kid and YouTube star @alexalosey produced their top piece of earned content, reaching 547K users and bringing the account 68 new followers the day it was posted. The best part is that it wasn’t even sponsored. A perfect (unsuspecting) influencer candidate for the upcoming year.

I posted a what I eat in a day video! link in my bio. I should be sponsored by @pressedjuicery by now

A photo posted by Alexa Losey (@alexalosey) on

That’s how it’s done, folks. PS if this is what health means, then we’re all over it.

Soul Cycle

Soul Cycle also saw a big jump in new followers this month, getting 5.8K in December and 9.7K already thus far this January. No doubt that users are making the (Instagram) commitment to get themselves back in gear after a long month of food and drink.

![@soulcycle organically reached ~40M Instagram users this month](/content/images/2016/01/soul-cycle-instagram-reach.jpg)

Actress and model @bellathorne produced a big spike in impressions for @soulcycle earlier this month, reaching 6.5M peeps and helping the account to secure 122 new, followers the day it was posted. While she may be more on the traditional side of the influencer split, there’s no doubt that it's a natural fit.

Real sweat = real vibes.

S’well Bottle

S’well Bottle follows suit with audience growth this month, jumping from 6.2K in December to 7.2K new followers in January. Hydration is important and these beautiful bottles clearly provide consumers with inspiration to not only ensure their daily 8 cups, but to share their healthy new habits as well. Cheers!

![@swellbottle organically reached ~7.9M Instagram users this month](/content/images/2016/01/swell-bottle-instagram-reach.jpg)
Modern Family’s @jessetyler produced their top January UGC, reaching 923K users and adding 189 new followers to @swellbottle’s account the day it was posted. Perhaps a sponsored post targeting the New Year’s resolutioners of the Instagram world? Or could it be that Jesse is just really into his new faux wood bottle? That’s for you to decide. Wink!

Wood I like to go to the gym today? Wood I? I think I wood!

A photo posted by Jesse Tyler Ferguson (@jessetyler) on

The red plaid really enhances the overall lumberjack vibe of this photo. Way to go, Jesse.

Spiritual Gangster

Spiritual Gangster hit new levels for follower growth this January with 18.1K compared to 13.9K in December. This health and wellness thing is decidedly trend...

@spiritualgangster organically reached ~10.9M Instagram users this month.

Instagram mega-babe <a href"">@rocky_barnes sits in the middle of the traditional vs. IG-famous influencer split with an audience of 720K. She produced @spiritualgangster's top UGC this month, reaching 504K users providing their account with 115 new followers. A clear sponsored post, but also a natural fit. Best of both worlds.

How could anyone resist those doe eyes? Hypnotism on behalf of S'well, fo sho.

It’s clear that there is not only a big market for influencer marketing in the health and fitness industry, but that there are also a ton of tastemakers out there who are a total natural fit[spo] for these brands. The tools inside Dash Hudson’s Instagram marketing and analytic platform make it easy to find influencers that are providing reach and new followers through quality and seemingly authentic content.

Similar to word-of-mouth, quality content leads to natural conversions and this past month proved that to be true for wellness-conscious brands. Sponsored or not is up for debate; the best posts are the ones that leave us completely unaware. But one things' for sure, users were clearly committed to New Year’s resolutions, as each of the accounts above saw increases in follower growth over the past month.

Want to see UGC and influencer insights like this for your brand? Let us know!

Jenny Pratt

Vice President of Customer Success at Dash Hudson