The rise of social media has transformed the way we consume content, this change in behavior has had a particularly strong effect on the way we shop. Influencers have become a (if not the) driving force in the e-commerce industry, with many people making purchasing decisions based on their recommendations. Influencers put in incredible amounts of work to ensure they create a following and have tested built out social proof that brands can tap into. From the viral Heatless Curling Rod Headband to the popular Cloud Slippers, thousands of brands are leveraging affiliate marketing to sell their goods. However, there has been a recent trend called de-influencing that threatens to shake up the current influencer marketing landscape as we know it.
What is De-Influencing
De-influencing is a growing trend where content creators on platforms like TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube share their negative experiences with certain products and suggest alternatives. This goes against the conventional practice of many influencers who are hesitant to give negative reviews for fear of losing potential brand deals or being considered difficult. By sharing their honest opinions and experiences, de-influencers aim to help their followers make more informed purchasing decisions and avoid wasting their money on products that don’t live up to the hype. For example, a de-influencing creator on creator would openly share their negative experience with a popular skincare product and instead suggest a more affordable and effective alternative.
The de-influencing trend challenges the status quo by encouraging a paradigm where content creators discourage people from buying or using certain products. But the question remains: should content creators get on board with this trend?
On one hand, de-influencing aligns with the values of authenticity and transparency that many content creators strive to embody. By sharing honest reviews and opinions about products, they can build trust with their audience and create a sense of community, this has a lot of promise to strengthen the engagement and bond between influencers and followers. And as you get more granular, it can be especially effective in niches like beauty and fashion, where the market is saturated with sponsored content and influencer marketing.
Moreover, de-influencing can be a way for content creators to stand out from the crowd and differentiate themselves from their competitors — at least for now. By offering an alternative perspective on products, they can attract an audience that is looking for more than just glossy endorsements, people who are logging into social media for the sole purpose of getting product recommendations. Content creator who share their honest experiences have the chance to build a real sense of connection and loyalty with their followers, leading to a more engaged account, which can translate into higher engagement rates and ultimately more brand partnerships.
On the other hand, de-influencing can be a risky move for content creators, especially those who rely on brand partnerships as a source of income. By discouraging people from buying certain products, they risk alienating potential sponsors and damaging their reputation as influencers. For example if you de-influenced on one product while advocating for another, there is a very high chance you burned a bridge with the brand you de-influenced. In a saturated market this may be a risk you are willing to take, but it does have the potential to close a few doors on future work.
Additionally, de-influencing can be perceived as overall more negative. Just like in traditional advertising, focusing too heavily on the bad can be helpful in small amounts, but is overall less attractive to customers. Social media is already ripe and over-exposed to criticism and toxic comparisons, so sticking to the bright side may be your way to differentiate yourself. Pulling one brand down in order to promote another, while more natural, is by all definitions a negative trend.
Is it Right for You?
So, should content creators get on board with the de-influencing trend? The answer is not clear-cut, as it depends on a variety of factors including the creator’s values, niche, and goals.
For content creators who prioritize authenticity and transparency in their platform and brand, de-influencing can be a powerful tool for building trust with their audience. By offering honest reviews and opinions, they can create a community of engaged followers who value their perspective, making them more likely to generate sales for products they do recommend.
However, for content creators who rely on brand partnerships as a source of income, de-influencing can be a risky move. By discouraging people from buying certain products, they risk alienating potential sponsors and damaging their reputation as influencers.
Ultimately, the decision to engage with the de-influencing trend should be based on a creator’s individual goals and values (maybe not the yes or no you were looking for, but unfortunately the true bottom line).
So What is the Future of De-Influencing?
However, it’s also possible that the de-influencing trend could lead to a decrease in the overall value of influencer marketing. If a significant portion of the audience becomes skeptical of influencer endorsements, brands may be less willing to invest in influencer partnerships, and creators may struggle to secure collaborations. This could result in a decrease in the overall revenue potential for creators and a shift towards alternative monetization strategies.
Ultimately, the long-term effects of de-influencing will depend on how the trend continues to develop and how both creators and brands adapt to the changing landscape. There is room, potential, and demand for this trend to be greeted with refreshing honesty that has been lacking in social media. But the results are in the hands of the brands, is working and selling in an environment where endorsements are honest more than bought a place their products can still sell? If the answer is no, wouldn’t it be better for consumers to know that truth? Whatever side you land on with this trend there are very real pros and cons, but the overall trend proves to be an interesting step that may show glimpses that the social media we know (and love? hate?) today, may be ready for some change.
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