We learned the word “influencer” about, what feels like, two seconds ago.
Now you have to know another – and just as important – one: De-influencer. Or anti-influencer.
They’ve started a trend where social media creators de-influence their followers by telling them about products and brands not to buy or waste their money on them. Can you please show us what it looks like, Michael Scott?:
So, does this mean that all of us working with influencer marketing are doomed?
So, good luck with your plan B.
Nah, we’re joking.
De-influencing is what influencer marketing, in our opinion, should to some extent have been from the start (oh, how controversial).
In this blog post, we’ll tell you all about de-influencing (or anti-influencing), by going through:
In other words: Gold is waiting for you at the end of the rainbow.
Overall, de-influencers or anti-influencers are content creators who do the opposite of influencers:
They want us not to buy and spend money on a product. Either because it’s not worth the money or the hype or has been over-exposed and, thereby, made people fed up.
Also, you can actually see anti-influencing in the form of influencers recommending their followers not to fall into the trap of viral trends (started by other influencers).
This is especially the case within beauty and fashion as social creators are reacting to over-consumption by posting videos saying: “Hey, you don’t need four foundations and six lipglosses in your beauty drawer – at once).
And just to give you a feeling of how much anti-influencing has said kaboom! in no time:
We checked the number of the hashtag #deinfluencing one day on TikTok. It was around 165 million.
Then we checked it again the day after.
Now, there was more than 170 million hashtags.
That’s insane in the membrane.
So, why has this new trend turned social media upside down?
Since we’re used to only hearing sales messages and ‘fairy tale’ stories when influencers talk about products and paid collabs, it’s deliberating – and much needed – to hear what de-influencers have on their mind:
They’ve discovered the (viral) effect of giving consumers reviews rather than recommendations.
So, while influencer marketing is authentic storytelling, de-influencing is authentic storytelling 2.0. It’s more unfiltered and ‘raw.’
Overall, you’ll see that de-influencing happens in two ways:
A social media creator tells or shows why a product doesn’t live up to its promise and, by that, expectations. The product simply cannot do what the brand says it’s able to.
In this case, the de-influencer questions the product’s functionality and quality.
It could be a mascara that promises to give long, divided lashes, but while the social creator applies it in front of the camera, the mascara smudges and makes the lashes lumpy.
Here, a social media creator compares a product that promises to do something unique or exceptional with cheaper products that can do ‘the job’ just as well. It could also be similar products that are easier to use or are of better quality.
In this case, de-influencers take hyped or popular products down from their pedestal.
Let’s say that a hair oil for €50 went viral.
Then, a content creator questions its ‘magical’ effect by showing you that a €7 jar of coconut oil from your kitchen cupboard can give you the same result.
The funny thing is that anti-influencers are where we usually follow content creators that we are influenced by and make us click the buy button: On social media platforms.
While writing this blog post, de-influencing is by far a ‘TikTok thing.’ But we also see a rise of the trend on Instagram.
Since these are visual platforms, you’ll see the trend unfold in the form of de-influencing videos.
If you dive into the social media world of de-influencing, you’ll find that a content creator can tap into the trend in different ways. We’ve defined four types of anti-influencers.
Some anti-influencers are driven by a ‘deeper’ and more political purpose. They’re anti-capitalistic, anti-materialistic, or activistic.
They use social media to react to over-consumption and climate change by telling us, their followers, why we shouldn’t listen to influencers who are trying to sell us a product.
The second type of de-influencer you can meet ‘out there’ is a professional or an expert within a specific area. So, this person has the knowledge, education, and authority to split hyped or popular products into atoms – and call bullshit on them.
Take for instance fitness instructor Ben Carpenter (@bdccarpenter). He is known for spotting pseudo-science at a far distance and busting myths about exercising, food, and nutrition.
As you can see in the video below, Ben Carpenter’s worst enemy is (self-declared) health and fitness gurus who cause misinformation to thrive on social media like a bee swimming in an ocean of honey.
Anti-influencers don’t have to be big influencers with a big amount of followers. It can also be people you meet on a daily basis on the street, in the supermarket, or at the gym (and if you manage to drag yourself to the gym on a daily basis: We equally admire and detest you).
An example is the TikTok user @michellecharmie who, with a fairly small following (at the moment), went viral with the video below (it got 164.000 views).
She tests different beauty products from different brands and, according to her, products from hell:
This type of influencer is, in our opinion, the most interesting:
More and more influencers ‘as we know them’ have started to de-influence products and brands while they still create content for ads and paid collabs. They’re not de-influencers but still de-influence. They’ve realized that de-influencing makes their personal brand more diverse and honest and, by that, makes them more trustworthy.
So, you’ve probably figured out that de-influencing and de-influencing videos can hit you from all sides on social media. And maybe you’ve already bitten your nails halfway down. Before you take your creative manicure further:
Don’t stress out.
‘Cause now, we’ve come to the part you’ve been waiting for: How to prevent de-influencing from hitting your product.
We would actually go as far as saying that de-influencing is your golden opportunity. Let’s be honest: If your product is rubbish, we can’t help you. If it has potential, it should be able to stand strong against and even prevent de-influencing by sticking to these three strategies:
As you probably already know, your product cannot make everyone happy. And guess what? You’re not supposed to. ‘Cause if you try to make everyone happy, you’ll make no one happy.
Instead, you have to know what matters to your target audience to appeal to them. When you know that, you also know how to ‘translate’ your product’s features or functionalities into benefits – for your customers.
Let’s say you’re selling a facial creme in a dispenser. It can do the exact same as a facial creme in jars. But yours costs twice as much. And in this post-corona-reality, the dispenser makes consumers think of hand sanitizer.
So, your finest job is to make the buy worth it. Or even better: Change the way your customers perceive your product (and its, in this case, less pretty design):
First of all, you tell the consumers that the dispenser ensures that you don’t have to put your fingers into a jar and, by that, cause bacteria to spread, both in the creme and in your face.
And secondly, the creme doesn’t oxide and loses its effect (and promise) over time. It would do so every time you took the lid off the facial creme in the jar.
Then, the benefits of your more expensive dispenser facial creme are about hygiene and long-lasting quality.
So, what you need to remember is: Find the reason why your product is worth it, and tell the reason to consumers who buy into it – i.e., your target audience.
And you’ve surely cracked the code when you’ve found social media influencers who can reach your target audience and who know how to make your product relevant and valuable to them. That brings us to the next strategy.
This approach makes you proactive.
As a part of your influencer marketing brief, you agree with your influencer to note all details about their ‘trial and error’ phase when using and testing your product.
An influencer telling honestly about successes and bumps on the road has two benefits:
Let’s give you an example of this.
It comes from the Danish influencer @emmamartiny who’s promoting the Dyson Airwrap. And we guess we don’t insult anyone by stating that this product has (literally) put the D into de-influencing.
Dyson might have avoided this if all their influencers had told the same story as Emma Martiny (the caption is in Danish, so if you don’t speak ‘rød glød med fløde,’ let’s give you the highlights):
She starts by saying: “I’ve finally become friends with my Dyson Airwrap. Fortunately, because it’s quite an investment.”
Then, she answers the most frequently asked questions she has gotten from her followers:
She thinks that the Dyson Airwrap is worth the high price because she expects to use it every day. Also, she tells that she uses around 5-10 minutes to style her hair, and finally, she shares her personal ‘hack’ to make the hairstyle last.
She indirectly says that if they value their time and hairstyle more than the price they’ll also be happy about the Dyson Airwrap. And she gives her audience all info they need to decide whether they want to buy.
This is what influencer marketing should have been, in our and maybe also your opinion, from the start.
So, remember this:
Your influencers can easily recommend and, most importantly, sell your product while being honest about the ‘buts’ and the fact that it wasn’t ‘love at first sight.’
The last approach is right up our alley – and what we recommend in general to every company working with influencer marketing:
To build and nurture conversations and a strong community around your brand and product.
This approach has some similarities with the example from above; where the influencer engaged her followers and involved their ‘voices’ in the collab.
But in this case, the conversations should happen as part of the product development.
Ideally, before the product is launched.
The process can be an enclosed community where your influencers and their audience gather around, have conversations, and give feedback on your brand.
It gives you the chance to dive into data or insights that, first and foremost, tell you what matters to them and, based on this, how you can make your product better.
Also, it strengthens the relationship and sense of community between you, your influencers, and the ones who are going to want to buy your product in the end:
And they’re more likely to do so if they feel like they’ve been a part of the process.
Finally, building a community will make you aware of the unanswered questions your customers might have.
And unanswered questions are barriers that make them hesitate to buy.
Before we let you go, we have a confession to make.
We actually didn’t make these three strategies for the occasion:
We recommend them in general as part of your influencer marketing.
So, to sum up the strategies: The cure to de-influencing is targeted, trustworthy, and data-driven influencer marketing.
To take your influencer marketing to that level, you need an influencer marketing software. Want to know about ours? Feel free to reach out.
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