The last decade has seen trends come and go, mostly with influencers being at the forefront. From things to buy to brands to choose–these influencers have been telling consumers what to think and do. This has led to the rise of influencer marketing, which involves brands partnering with influential personalities to market their products. But more recently, we’re starting to see a new trend called deinfluencing taking over the social media landscape.
So what is deinfluencing all about and why is it trending right now? What makes it different from influencing and why should brands care? Learn all about the deinfluencing trend in this guide.
Deinfluencing Trend Explained: What It is and Why It’s Important:
What is Deinfluencing?
Deinfluencing, as the name suggests, is a trend that involves influential social media personalities telling their followers what not to buy and which brands to avoid. They may provide realistic and scathing reviews or discuss products that are not worth the hype, essentially helping consumers to critically evaluate their purchases. The main goal is to persuade others to make conscious buying choices and limit over-consumption.
While the trend first became popular in the beauty and lifestyle industries, it has since been picked up by influencers in other industries as well. Similarly, although it started out from TikTok, you can now find plenty of influencers on other platforms participating in the deinfluencing trend.
Why Deinfluencing is Trending
Over the past few months, the deinfluencing trend has taken TikTok by storm. You can find thousands of deinfluencing videos where TikTok users are trying to inform their audience about products they don’t need to buy. Most of these videos get hundreds of thousands, and sometimes millions of views. So why is this happening and why is it popular among social media users?
Although influencer marketing has been all the rage in the past decade, many believe that it’s overdone. With influencers constantly pushing out new “trends” and products people “have to buy,” it’s quickly resulting in widespread shopping addiction and overconsumption as consumers try to keep up with the latest trends.
Take, for example, the #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt trend, where influencers and other TikTok users shared videos of products that they ended up buying after discovering them on the app. For the most part, this trend encouraged people to make impulse purchases based on viral videos they found on TikTok even if they didn’t really need those products.
With harmful trends like these contributing to overconsumption, deinfluencing aims to tackle this issue and promote more sustainable buying choices. Essentially, deinfluencing influencers inform consumers about what not to buy in spite of the hype. They get people to give a second thought before making impulse purchases so they’re more conscious about what they end up buying.
This is particularly essential when it comes to calling out and curbing the impact of influencers who help to promote fast fashion brands with shady practices such as Shein. At some point, many TikTok influencers were sharing videos of their “Shein hauls,” encouraging their followers to buy the brand’s cheap and trendy pieces.
However, this can have an extremely harmful impact on the environment, with the company releasing 700-1,000 new items in a day. As the brand first experiments with 50-100 pieces of each new item first to test their popularity, that’s about a minimum of 35,000 units per day. You can imagine how much carbon emissions that will contribute to. Deinfluencing is beyond necessary to help mitigate the impact of social media influencers on overconsumption, which negatively impacts the environment as a whole.
On top of this, many influencers today are lacking the credibility, relatability, and transparency that originally got people to trust in influencers in the first place. From influencers lying about the products they’re promoting to participating in tone-deaf campaigns that fail to consider important social issues–popular influencers have taken their influence for granted.
Some would say that they now only care about making money, even if it means losing credibility. The deinfluencing trend partly became popular as a way to call out these influencers and put an end to any dishonest or shady attempts at making money.
Finally, it’s important to acknowledge the role that the economy plays in the popularity of this trend. The economic impact of a global pandemic can still be felt as consumers feel the need to be more conscious about how and where they spend their money. So it only makes sense for them to look up to reliable individuals who can help them make informed buying decisions, thus leading to the popularity of deinfluencing content across social media.
Influencing vs. Deinfluencing: Understanding the Differences and Similarities
In a sense, deinfluencing is still a type of influencing since the goal is to sway people’s purchase decisions…even if it’s to make fewer, less expensive purchases. At the same time, there are several key differences between deinfluencing and influencing. Let’s take a closer look at the main comparisons between the two so you can understand these important distinctions.
- Both influencing and deinfluencing aims to sway people’s buying behaviors and purchase decisions. However, their similarities more or less end there.
- Influencing aims to get people to buy products regardless of their effectiveness or usefulness. Meanwhile, deinfluencing aims to get people to only buy products that address their unique and specific needs.
- Influencing tries to encourage impulse purchases by hyping up products and trends, typically getting people to buy something based on a viral trend before they have the time to think. However, deinfluencing tries to get people to pause and think before buying something and typically involves honest reviews and opinions about overhyped products. Deinfluencing helps consumers assess whether products are really worth the hype.
- In influencing, most creators are sponsored by brands and paid to promote products, which often compels them to only focus on the positives. Many of them might even try to gloss over any negative aspects of the product, resulting in them losing credibility. On the other hand, deinfluencing isn’t bound by brand sponsorships, with many creators choosing to be brutally honest and even critical about any negative aspects of the product. This makes deinfluencing creators more relatable and trustworthy for everyday consumers.
- Regular influencers usually no longer give a second thought about the brands they promote. If it helps them make money in the end, many of them would willingly work with brands that engage in shady business practices. Meanwhile, deinfluencing creators are highly conscious about any products they promote and are very selective about the brands they work with (if they decide to work with brands at all).
- In influencing, there’s no consideration for the impact of consumers’ buying decisions on the environment and the larger social landscape. On the other hand, the entire principle of deinfluencing is based on the need to reduce overconsumption and make conscious buying choices for the greater good–whether the impact is environment or societal.
Why Brands Should Care about Deinfluencing
Now the big question is–how does this all tie into your brand strategy? Why should your brand care about the deinfluencing trend? Does it even tie into your brand’s bottom line? Let’s take a closer look at some of the reasons why you should pay attention to deinfluencing.
Consumers Care About Making More Conscious Buying Decisions
There’s no doubt that consumers are increasingly becoming conscious about their buying decisions and how their habits affect the environment. They’re becoming more willing to buy from sustainable brands, with many even willing to pay extra for sustainable products. In fact, 90% of Gen X consumers would be willing to spend 10% more for sustainable products–a number that stood at only 34% just two years ago.
This isn’t too surprising considering how it’s important for 78% of U.S. consumers to maintain a sustainable lifestyle. Naturally, there’s been significant growth in retail sales for products that make environment, social, and governance-related claims. These products saw a 28% cumulative growth in a five-year period while products without such claims saw a 20% growth.
These numbers prove that consumers care about how their buying habits impact the environment and are, therefore, more conscious about what they choose to buy. That means they’re actively looking to reliable sources (read: deinfluencing creators) to assess brands and products so they can make informed purchase decisions.
Deinfluencing Creators Command Greater Trust and Influence
It’s safe to say that regular influencers have lost some of their influence over the last couple of years. This is largely due to a type of promotion exhaustion, where most influencers try to push products in front of their audience and get their followers to buy more stuff even if they don’t really need them. In many cases, these influencers may even make objectionable claims or blatantly promote products that don’t really work.
As a matter of fact, several influencers have been exposed for blatantly lying about things like their lifestyle, their looks, or their health conditions. Others have been caught promoting fake money-making deals or agreeing to promote fake weight loss products, for example. In late 2022, there was even a lawsuit involving eight influencers who allegedly lied to manipulate stocks.
More recently, a TikTok mega influencer was caught in a controversy involving false lashes. Mikayla Nogueira was accused of wearing false lashes in an attempt to misrepresent the effectiveness of the L'Oréal Paris Telescopic Mascara.
@angelikaoles #mikaylanogueira caught lying in her recent #makeup ♬ original sound - Angelika Oles
Regardless of the specifics, the main point is that these influencers don’t really care about what their followers do or buy as long as they end up making money from those purchases. As a result, consumers have collectively started to lose their trust in these influencers. While many consumers might still follow these influencers for their content, they won’t necessarily follow their advice or consider their buying recommendations anymore.
Instead, consumers are turning to deinfluencing creators who aren’t afraid to call out brands and other influential creators when it’s necessary. With brutally honest reviews and opinions, they help consumers to think more critically about the brands and products being hyped on social media. They typically do not promote brands but even if they do, it’s for brands that they truly trust and whose products actually worked for them.
As a result of their honesty and transparency, these deinfluencing creators have been able to win the trust of consumers as a whole. This means that people look to them for unbiased opinions and buying recommendations. They’ve also amassed a significant following of their own in the process, making them viable partners for brands.
However, as mentioned earlier, many deinfluencing creators refuse to partner with brands. So you need to look for creators who are already brand loyalists and have honestly talked about your brand in a positive light.
It Could Impact Existing Marketing Efforts
The growth of deinfluencing will likely have an impact on your existing marketing efforts, especially if they involve influencer marketing. For example, if your marketing copy makes claims that are not clinically proven, you could be more susceptible to being called out by a deinfluencing creator.
Similarly, let’s say one of the influencers in your campaign has a history of lying about the products they promote or working with brands that are less than reputable. If the influencer gets involved in a controversy, all of their claims about your product could be put under the microscope. Not only will you lose out on potential customers, but you could even end up losing the trust you’ve worked so hard to build.
As such, it’s important to closely keep an eye on deinfluencing trends and realign your marketing efforts to mitigate the harmful impact. You may even want to completely rehaul your campaigns to include deinfluencing creators.
Making the Deinfluencing Trend Work for Your Brand
With the right approach, deinfluencing can also be an effective way to win the trust of your target audience and build a stronger connection with them. For this, you’d need to carefully reexamine your brand positioning and form partnerships with relevant deinfluencers who are already fans of your brand. This will help add authenticity to your efforts and enable you to build a strong brand community with deinfluencing creators at the forefront.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is an example of deinfluencing?
Dermatologists telling consumers which skincare products aren’t worth the hype or they should avoid is an example of deinfluencing.
Is deinfluencing still influencing?
Deinfluencing is still a form of influencing since it involves swaying people’s purchase decisions.
What is a deinfluencer?
A deinfluencer is someone who educates their audience about which products not to buy.
What is the deinfluencing trend on TikTok?
The deinfluencing trend on TikTok involves creators informing their audience about products they should not buy and suggesting better/cheaper alternatives.
What is the meaning of overconsumption?
Overconsumption is the excessive consumption of something. In the retail world, it’s the excessive buying of things you don’t need, mostly influenced by current trends and influencers.