Frequently Asked Questions

What is the long term goal for the register?

The goal of the register is to change the way influencer marketing is currently conducted within the health and wellness industry. Poor quality information, irresponsible communications and inappropriate affiliations are unfortunately common place, and we are looking to change the way health and wellness influencers interact with the public and consumers.

 

We are working towards having ‘health and wellness influencers’ registered as a protected term in an effort to provide clear public guidance on who is and is not a trustworthy source.

Does the association/professional body I am part of not cover me already?

ROHWI does not cover your practice as a professional in your specific field. The register was founded to proactively manage growing concerns on the conduct and content by produced health and wellness influencers.

There are very specific nuances that cover online communications that sit outside the current remit of existing associations guidelines and protocols. Becoming an online influencer, especially one receiving remuneration for posting content, is in our view, a separate profession, even if current qualifications are the launchpad to building an audience.

Currently, you can be both qualified and registered influencer and produce poor quality information. We believe online communication skills can not just be ‘picked up’ they require formal training and ongoing education to ensure that content producers are working to the highest standard. The main premise of the register at this phase is to upskill, educate and hold influencers accountable to a set standard.

 

We are working towards having ‘health and wellness influencers’ registered as a protected term in an effort to provide clear public guidance on who is and is not a trustworthy source.

I am a qualified and registered nutritionist/dietician/personal trainer – why do I need to join this register?

Qualifications in a particular field are the foundation of becoming an expert at your craft. However, in recent years many professionals have moved over to the online space and have created careers based on producing consumer content meant for engagement with the public.

Developing content for a mass audience requires a very different set of skills to 1:1 consultation with an individual client. There are marketing and advertising laws in place, industry standards set by credibility body WellSpoken and science communication metrics that need to be adhered to in order to be compliant when developing content.

We believe that these are not skills that can be ‘picked up’, they require formal training and ongoing education to ensure that content creators are working to the highest standard.

The main premise of the register at this phase is to upskill, educate and hold influencers accountable to a set standard.

I don’t have any qualifications just an interest in health and wellness and a following – can I join?

Yes, we classify an influencer as  ‘an individual who has the power to affect purchase and health decisions of others because of his/her authority, knowledge, position or relationship with his/her audience. Due to their ability to alter their audiences decision making, influencers often receive remuneration (financial or otherwise) directly linked to content production. Influencers include, but are not limited to social media personalities, health bloggers and health writers.’

We categorise influencers in two pools:

  • Registered professionals – those who are registered to a skill-based professional body and have an official registration number
  • Content creators – those who may or may not have standard qualifications in their field but are not linked to a professional body

The focus for this register is to ensure that all influencers, whatever their background or education level, are working to high standards when it comes to the principles of information sharing and ensuring that they stay within the remit of the expertise (or lack thereof).

Why is the register open to both professionally qualified and those who are not qualified with anything?

The health and wellness influencer community is varied and spans across a number of specialised areas. Unfortunately, standardised qualifications are the exception not the rule in this sector. There are many differences of opinion on what warrants qualification across the fields of nutrition, fitness and wellbeing.

We also are acutely aware of the differing levels of privilege and access different groups of people are exposed to and do not believe that the approach with this register is to penalise those who are not able to access higher education systems. The internet has democratised who has consumer influence, however, we believe that all content creators need to work to an industry standard in regards to health and wellness information.

Due to the disparity across the sector, we choose to define an influencer as follows: ‘An influencer is an individual who has the power to affect purchase and health decisions of others because of his/her authority, knowledge, position or relationship with his/her audience. Due to their ability to alter their audiences decision making, influencers often receive remuneration (financial or otherwise) directly linked to content production. Influencers include, but are not limited to social media personalities, health bloggers and health writers.’

The focus for us is to ensure that all influencers, whatever their background or education level, are working to high standards when it comes to the principles of information sharing and ensuring that they stay within the remit of the expertise (or lack thereof).

I don’t like/agree with some influencers that are on the register – what is your response?

The focus for us is to ensure that all influencers, whatever their background or education level, are working to high standards when it comes to the principles of information sharing and ensuring that they stay within the remit of the expertise (or lack thereof).

We do not believe that credibility automatically means censorship. Even with the scientific community, there is discourse and disagreement on certain topics as the nature of health and wellness is not always clearcut.

There are lots of ways to communicate a multitude of different topics some with scientific research others with just anecdotal evidence.

Our role is to uphold an information standard when it comes to influencer content to ensure that whatever the opinion of information it is: substantiated, within the remit of the provider, balanced in tone and flags areas of uncertainty – in order for the reader to assess whether the information is relevant or justifiable in their perspective.

Why was this register established?

Influencer marketing has boomed in the last 5 years and online content creators have become the go-to for consumers to seek out health and wellness information.

However, the health and wellness online space has become oversaturated with poor quality information, irresponsible content and inappropriate brand affiliations.  

The primary objective of the register is to protect the public interest by ensuring that health and wellness influencers work to a high standard of practice when producing consumer content. Influencers also have a responsibility to work with brands in an ethical manner as well as being fully aware of how to protect their content and be transparent about their advertising work.

What are the requirements for getting registered?

All potential registrants need to submit the following information for review by the applications team:

  • All content platforms
  • Proof of qualifications/registration (if relevant)

The application team will review each submission and assess:

  • The credibility of existing online content
  • Whether the influencer is appropriately representing themselves (e.g. qualifications and out-of-remit advice)
  • The quality of social engagement
  • Follower growth behaviour
  • Media value (level of influence within their community)

 

Based on the outcomes of this assessment influencers will either move forward to the training stage and then full registration or be asked for certain modifications to be made and then re-apply.

How can a register cover so many people working in different specialities within wellness?

The health and wellness influencer community is varied and spans across a number of specialised areas. Unfortunately, standardised qualifications are the exception not the rule in this sector. There are many differences of opinion on what warrants qualification across the fields of nutrition, fitness and wellbeing.

Our information standard does not focus on the specifics of the content topics but the pillars of credible writing and sharing. We seek to ensure that influencers:

  • Produce good quality wellness information
  • Communicate about wellness in a responsible manner
  • Have credible partnerships and affiliations

By being on our register we provide our registrants with a robust framework that supports high-quality responsible, ethical and evidence based communications.

How do you police influencers on your register and what sanctions do you give?

The main premise of the register at this phase is to upskill, educate and hold influencers accountable to a set industry standard for health and wellness content sharing.

The intention of the register at this phase is not to proactively enact punitive measures as this doesn’t build an organic culture of cooperation and compliance.

From our perspective, poor quality information is linked primarily to a lack of education and training on health and wellness writing principles, and we firmly believe it is not fair or ethical to penalise those who do not yet possess that knowledge or who haven’t had the socio-economic privilege to access higher education systems where this is taught.

Once a standard becomes the status quo within the wellness industry, at that point sanctions will not only be easier to administer but also appropriately understood and agreed to by the wider influencer community.

It is important to emphasise this is a start to changing the industry, compliance takes time and with any new regulation there are lead times to allow the industry to shift to a new way of working.

How will the complaints/feedback system work?

We can only deal with complaints linked to one of our registrants. We take all complaints seriously but we look at whether or not our standard has been contravened  rather than simply basing our decisions on the number of complaints a piece of content might prompt. Raising a concern follows the following process:

  • The public can raise a concern via the ‘Contact’ page of the website.
  • The concern will be assessed by the ROHWI team:
    1. If the concern is not deemed to be in conflict with the standards and guidance we will inform the complainant of our feedback
    2. If the concern is deemed as valid we will contact the influencer to discuss any possible breach. In a case of gross misconduct or a refusal to cooperate we will remove the registrant from  the register

 

At no point will the identity of the complainant be shared externally with the public or the influencer in question. All complaints are treated as confidential.

What is the process following a complaint on content?

Concerns raised are assessed against our prioritisation principles to determine the most appropriate course of action. Under these principles we will:

  • consider what harm or detriment has occurred or might occur;
  • balance the risk of taking action versus inaction;
  • consider the likely impact of our intervention; and
  • consider what resource would be proportionate to the problem to be tackled.

Should a complaint be received regarding one of our registrants we will conduct an investigation and a decision will be made at the high council level on whether they lose their place on the register. We will always look to work with the registrants to see if a mistake has been made through a lack of understanding or a direct intentional breach of the codes of conduct.

Will you work alongside the qualifying board such as nutrition or fitness associations to ensure the qualifications an influencer is claiming to have are true?

As part of the application, registrants will need to submit their official registration numbers/certificates should they be claiming to be qualified in certain areas. These will be checked with each relevant association.

We are continuing to work with the leading associations to ensure our processes are robust and in line with there current specifications and are proactively expanding our council members to reflect the leaders of the industry.

What are the benefits to the consumer?

Our primary objective is to provide public protection by ensuring that health and wellness influencers, work to high standards of practice when producing consumer content.

While there is an infinite number of ways in which credible content can be curated, our training and framework to which everyone can adhere, ultimately raising existing industry standards and ensuring that the fundamental aim of all health and wellness information is achieved.

While influencers operating within the wellness industry have a legitimate right to promote products, services and provide lifestyle information to consumers, there needs to be a balance between the needs of industry partners, professionals and the rights of consumers to have credible information.

Credible information has the power to influence the consumer’s decision-making process and drive positive uptake when it comes to choosing a wellness product or service to opt into. The impact of misinformation can be unthinkable, none more so than that concerning our health and wellbeing.

The main challenges in wellness by influencers are poor quality information, irresponsible communications and inappropriate affiliations. The current lack of industry-specific legislation has meant that consumers and other stakeholders have been active players in holding wellness brands and ambassadors accountable.

What does “credible content” mean and how is it addressed in the register?

Credible content is defined as any piece of information which is accessible by a consumer, whether that be articles, health tips, social media posts or vlogs. If it is providing wellness information to the public – it needs to be credible.

The register is not just about monitoring influencer content but working to train and educate registrants on establishing internal frameworks to uphold the development of credible information – going right to the roots of content generation.

Our training and ongoing continued professional development with registrants looks to assist in the development of editorial policies, submission review processes, event management guidelines and internal operating procedures.

The result of this two-pronged approach is a shift in the way influencer health and wellness content should be produced and what the resulting content needs to look like.

I am a ROHWI member - where can I find my registration number?

Once you sign up for the register, you’ll be prompted to create an account – and you’ll be allocated your registration number, available to you in your profile.