Everyone has seen the blogs of young inspiring individuals who seem to have their whole lives together—meal prepping, hitting the gym 50 times a week and spending ungodly amounts of money at the local Whole Foods, all the while, living in some outlandish penthouse on Park Avenue and posting it all on their health food accounts. You can’t escape these people… and I am here today to tell you that I am one of “those people.” No, I do not spend outrageous amounts of money at my local Whole Foods—I am your average college student who thrives on my Kroger Plus Card. And no, I don’t live a high rolling lifestyle… but rather I live in a cute college house with 7 crazy roommates. However, the one thing that does reign true is that I do enjoy posting aesthetically pleasing photos of healthy food along with tips and tricks for a healthy lifestyle.
Hi, my name is Elizabeth Willis or @Kickinkale on Instagram, and this past summer, I was lucky enough to score a marketing internship in New York City. Thrust into a world of unknown, this Atlanta girl had to find her way in a big city which started with the most important thing…food. Having always been very health conscious, I have found enjoyment in planning meals, working out and providing positive mind and body tips for others. This summer, I took what I have always loved doing and began posting regularly on Instagram with the hopes that others would see my posts and become inspired by its content. It is my goal to use this blog to locate other Athens health-food enthusiasts and discuss with them their strategies on gaining a following basis as well as how they use various social platforms to consume and put forth information.
Gina Karsaboom, also known as @avo_and_abs online, has been a member of the Instagram health community since July of 2014. We met up to discuss her health account and she was able to answer some questions for me. Gina originally started her account in 2014 as a platform to track her fitness journey. She recounts that she barely knew anything about health and fitness, but started a 12-week fitness guide and found that Instagram had a wonderful, supportive fitness community to encourage her along her journey. As she continued posting on @avo_and_abs, her interest for health and wellness grew and she became more and more interested in the industry and nutrition. Through the process, Gina became aware of her disordered thoughts throughout her fitness/health journey and now uses the platform to share her love for food as well as to spread awareness about disordered eating thoughts. Gina explains that her main goal for creating the account was to “motivate individuals to achieve a balanced, holistic, and intuitive lifestyle. I would also like to create an honest conversation about disordered thoughts and encourage others to be vulnerable about their struggles.” Gina posts various content ranging from information regarding the best brands to buy from, to mental health related information, to her breakfast with the locations of where to find all of the ingredients.
When Gina was asked about the content she posts, Gina said “food posts are the most successful in terms of likes and comments because they tend to be visually pleasing with bright colors. However, I receive a large amount of engagement with my followers when I post an Instagram story speaking about my struggles to achieve balance or about my disordered eating thoughts. I find that when I post genuine content, I receive the most engagement.” Gina has also begun to establish herself as a true expert in the field and companies such as RXBAR, Healthy Human, Primal Kitchen, Nākd, RBar Energy, Georgia Grinders, Crazy Richards & Krema PB as well as many others have begun to give Gina free food for promoting their products. Gina elaborated on the process by saying “companies mostly reach out to me and send me their products to try and share with my followers. However, I have previously reached out to a couple of companies and contacted them because I was curious about their products. I absolutely love working with companies and trying new products to share with my followers!” Gina’s account has gained a substantial following base with 2,322 followers while only following 435. Gina has found that she looks at other health accounts such as @healthywaysfordays, who is also a student at the University of Georgia, for inspiration. According to Gina, “When seeking other accounts to follow, my number one requirement is quality, raw content. Anyone can capture aesthetically pleasing pictures of food, but not everyone can be real and vulnerable on social media. I like following people who use their accounts to spread awareness about their struggles, just as I do.” This vulnerable content has been taking many online platforms by storm, and Gina has found that these types of accounts not only grab her attention but also inspire her to pass this form of media onto her followers.