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Business Book Review: 'Influencer' by Brittany Hennessy

Influencer by Brittany Hennessy

Overall Rating: 5.5/10

Acupuncture Applicability: 3/10

Enjoyability: 8/10

Note: Most business books don’t apply to a small or single person health clinic. In this Business Book Review series, I'll read the less than applicable books and pick out what works best for acupuncturists.

I literally stumbled across Influencer. I was at the library when I tripped over something, glanced down and saw this book on the floor. Whether forgetful patron or sign from above, the book seemed like an answer to a question I didn't know I had: what is the point of Instagram?

Overall, this book isn't terribly helpful for an acupuncturist looking to improve her marketing game. Acupuncturists have to wear so many hats, in addition to diagnosing and treating patients, that social media marketing can't be our only focus. Also, the areas where social Influencers have the most influence, i.e. makeup tutorials, shopping hauls, outfit posts, travel, aren't TCM.

That said, the book was very well written and packed with tons of information for an aspiring influencer and some good guidelines for an East Asian Medical Practitioner trying to figure out their social media game plan.

Without further ado, what is an influencer?

Ms. Hennessy defines an influencer as 'people who influence others through their social media accounts.' In most cases, if a famous social influencer uses a particular brand of mascara, her follower will buy that same brand. In an acupuncturist case, maybe your influence is to post current availability, suggest an herb product, or invite people to your class.

The idea of an influencer is further refined into content creators and life casters. Most acupuncturists I've seen fall into the content creation side- there are pictures of their business or tools of the trade with small essays describing Chinese health secrets. The other side would be the Instagram account that basically focuses on the person rather than the business or medicine and gives you a window into her life as an acupuncturist.

The book definitely focuses on aspiring influencers in the fashion and beauty fields, but here is the advice I found most helpful.

Advice for starting out:

  1. Type your name into Google. The first page of the general, news, image, and video should only be content you've created. Check every three months to make sure that is true. Add an alert for every time your name is used.

  2. Have an account on each of the big four (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube)

  3. Choose a coherent and mature user name with no underscores or numbers. Keep this handle consistent across all platforms

  4. Make sure all your accounts are correctly linked to each other! Your website Instagram button should lead you to your Instagram, not a defunct page.

YouTube specific advice:

  1. Your intro/catchphrase sets the tone of your video, so choose it wisely

  2. For thumbnails, keep the text minimal and easy to read

  3. Have a good intro trailer to explain your channel

Instagram specific advice:

  1. Your profile picture should be your face from the head and shoulders upwards. Preferably by a professional photographer (rather than a selfie)

  2. Your profile should say what you do, where you are, and give your email for ease of contact.

  3. Choose a filter or theme you like for your photos so your feed is consistent

General Social Media advice:

  1. Post often

  2. Have an editorial calendar to help you keep track of what to do each day

  3. Vary your feed. Don't only take pictures of your tools or patients- include scenery, your self, your friends, etc.

  4. 70/30 rule. I.E- 70% of your content should be created, 30% should be sponsored. (Not too likely with acupuncturists? Maybe keep it 70/30 for an education vs promotion/sales ratio?)

Finally, engagement counts more than total followers. You generally want to shoot for a ~3% or higher engagement on your photos with the percentage equation being (Likes + Comments)/total followers at the time of posting = engagement. Replying to everyone's comments is a good way to build a community.

The above advice is solid, but the two most common pieces of advice from all the Influencers interviewed were:

  1. Be yourself- that's how you'll set yourself apart from all the other accounts

  2. Understand your 'why'

The book gave very little guidance on how to develop your personal sense of style or discover your why, but that was also out of its scope or ability. They are good questions and worth considering. My inability to answer them definitely impacted my previous 30 Day Instagram Challenge until I was able to answer them.

I'd love some feed back from you:

- Was this article helpful? Do you enjoy learning what I'm learning about business?

- What is your style for your social media marketing?

- What is your why for creating social media accounts or even acupuncture in general?

This essay is long enough, so check back later this week where I'll answer these questions myself!

Thank you!


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