Like a superhero, by the light of day, Stefanie Valakas is a private-practice dietitian, specialising in paediatrics. But, in the exciting landscape that is social media, she’s rising-star nutrition scientist “The Dietologist”.
Let’s stop right there and award her major branding points for such an incredibly clever and memorable name. Her tagline is equally distinct: “Looking past just nutrients and numbers”.
“It’s definitely challenging to land on a unique point of difference in the social media and online space,” Stefanie shared with us. “My phrase stemmed from wanting people to consider nutrition in this culture of calorie counting, macro counting and tracking. Instead, I wanted to focus on a positive relationship with food, as well as understanding the synergistic effect of whole food!”
“…I wanted to focus on a positive relationship with food…”
As for her online moniker? “Full credit to my Greek grandmother for the name,” Stefanie said. “Dietologos is the word for dietitian in Greek, and that got me thinking: why isn’t the study of dietetics called ‘dietology’? I also felt the word was a perfect hybrid of ‘dietetics’ and ‘psychology’, which are so closely entwined.”
It’s one thing to have a strong and recognisable brand identity – and quite another to find the time to build your brand up on social media. But Stefanie has found a strategy to keep her brand relevant and top of mind.
“Keeping on top of trends is integral,” she explained. “This helps you position yourself as an expert – and squash any fad trends before
they gain momentum.”
She is careful, however, about leaping into online discussions without first educating herself on the topic at hand: “I backtrack to find the trend’s origins, or find papers to form an informed opinion, before sharing my thoughts & opinions with my following.”
Stefanie Shares: 3 Ways to Grow Your Insta Following
1. Be clear about who your audience is, and create content relevant to them.
2. Post consistently (daily or every second day) and ensure it’s high-quality content.
3. Engage with your followers: reply to comments and messages, explore hash tags that your audience likes, and comment on others’ posts.
Time management is key to her social media strategy. “I pre-plan at least one week in advance for all platforms,”
When it comes to the platform she finds most effective for engagement with her key audience, Stefanie is an Insta fan all the way. “If you’re trying to tap into a market of young women interested in health and nutrition, Instagram is the place to be,” said Stefanie.
Time management is key to her social media strategy. “I pre-plan at least one week in advance for all platforms,” she shared. “I also use apps to help keep me organised and visualise what my content will look like on my feed (FYI: for Instagram, she uses Plann).”
She attributes her rapid growth on social media to “Being consistent – it’s by far the most effective way that I have grown my following in a short amount of time!”
In her experience, the content that best resonates on Instagram is personal posts (sharing her own story with emotional eating, sharing her cultural traditions) and relatable quotes.
So, what’s ahead from The Dietologist? “You can expect more social media content and blogs over on thedietologist.com, and also more media articles,” said Stefanie. “I can’t wait to see where this journey takes me!”
We love your enthusiasm, Stefanie, and we’re tracking your rising star to see how high it reaches. We predict – the stratosphere!
Don’t Go It Alone!
We love that Stefanie has done an exceptional job at collaborating with others as she grows her career. Two examples:
— On her blog, her most popular content has come from collaborations, such as with @andytherd.
— Stefanie collaborates with an Instagram coach that works with foodies, bloggers and dietitians to help refine her strategy: Carla Biesinger from @ carlabiesinger
— Also instrumental to Stefanie’s instagram journey: Libby Rothschild (@nutrition_business) and Rachel Paul (@collegenutritionist) – they’ve helped her find focus in the rapidly changing fertility and early-life nutrition space