The New Influencer: Telling You What NOT to Buy – Social Factor Alert

“Eat the rich.” “Let them eat cake.” No, these aren’t just cries from the French Revolution, they are also part of the latest evolution in influencer marketing. This TikTok trend has over 323 million views (and counting), and it challenges the hype of viral products by telling what you should NOT buy instead of what you should. Over half of TikTok’s audience uses the app to gain information about products/services, with 33 million users projected to purchase from this research in 2023 alone. So, how will this counter-intuitive movement influence (pun intended) brands moving forward?

De-influencer marketing can be found in a wide array of videos ranging from disappointed consumers, pissed-off beauty bloggers, myth-busting dermatologists, and even eagle-eye retail workers. This builds off the rise of deceptive ad disclaimers, where often a paid review appears the same as the genuine article. De-influencing seeks to move authenticity back to the forefront by upending reviews entirely, even if the outcome may ultimately benefit the influencer anyway. 

Though some will argue that preaching not to buy a product is the same wolf in sheep’s clothing,  others say it isn’t just skin deep. More than just reviewing the product itself, de-influencers call out brands that lack authenticity, eschew sustainability, or otherwise endorse unfair business practices. De-influencing marks a radical shift in influencer marketing, as brands will not only have to create products that appeal to reviewers, but embody practices that match with their values.

Action Items for Brands

  • Lean into it. If consumers want honesty, prioritize influencers based on their authenticity, not just their reach.. Build trust with your audience by ensuring their recommendations are credible and script free.
  • Prioritize long-term partnerships with someone who embodies your principles instead of one-off sponsorships with top social media stars. Longevity in these relationships will help you demonstrate true advocacy, relatability, and trust.
  • Be proactive. First, be involved in online discussions to avoid customer issues and bring solutions to the forefront — before it becomes a de-influencer’s ensuing viral content. (Psst, we can help with that).

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