For my next “Under the Influence of Instagram Influencers” blog post, I decided to move away from fashion and fitness and look into an influencer who had dedicated his life to helping people, in the office and on Instagram. Mikhail Varshavski, better known as @doctor.mike, is a twenty-eight-year-old Russian American doctor working in New Jersey specializing in family medicine. Dr. Mike, since his residency has built his brand and following on Instagram to now 2.6 million followers and growing.
But is it simply his medical degree from The New York Institute of Technology that has gained him fame? I don’t remember ever wanting to follow my doctor on social media. Aside from his ability as a physician, Dr. Mike has built a brand through Instagram using his style, looks, and adorable husky, Roxy. Using all of his appealing qualities Varshavski was able to build a brand based on the qualities of an Instagram influencer laid out in my first blog, trustworthy, attractive, personable. I mean a good-looking guy in scrubs with an adorable dog, why not hit follow?
I don’t know about you but to me, there seems to be mass of attractive people on Instagram who seem to know what they are talking about. So what exactly makes Dr. Mike worthy of millions of follower, and a mention in this blog (among other much more important articles)? Varshavski began to really gain popularity when Buzzfeed wrote an article about him. However, this article had little to do with the various medical articles published in some of the greatest medical journals. Or mentioning he is the youngest doctor in his hospital. This article named Varshavski as the “Hot Doctor”, but as much more than this, he used his new found fame to influence his followers, not about fashion, weightless, or comedic trends, but about medicine. With competition through other Instagram personalities, it is very hard to educate through social media. However, Varshavski may have figured it out, using his attractive features and Instagram influence to promote health. Unlike my previous posts of Chiara Ferragni promoting clothing and beauty products and Kayla Itsines promoting her own brand, Varshavski uses promotions from other companies to promote health to his followers. From posting about the health benefits of Quaker Oats to making a difference with a non-profit, Dr. Mike promotes well-being, and he has our attention. Now just because he is using his brand to help others doesn’t mean I believe he isn’t profiting. But isn’t it nice to see someone on social media not posting all about themselves? I think so.
However, the comparison between Dr. Mike and my first blog about Chiara Ferragni brings up and important theme about this series of blogs: both the influencers and brands they promote are building their brand and profiting. While Ferragni promotes brands such as Dior, Varshavski promotes non-profits and brands such as American Express. These brands choose to use influencers (or brands) to promote themselves in the light they would like to be seen. Dior would like to be seen as high-end and exclusive while American Express would like to associate itself with accessibility and helping others.