It’s been a few weeks now, but the de-influencing bandwagon doesn’t seem to be running out of steam.

If you’re a regular, accustomed TikTok visitor, you’ll have no doubt stumbled across de-influencing content. Creators highlight products they don’t think are worth the hype, and instead suggest alternatives which might be cheaper or easier to get hold of. 

#Deinfluencing videos have racked up roughly 208 million views on TikTok as of 21st February. But what’s the driving force behind it?

Over-consumption, lack of disposable income

On first glance, a number of creators seem to be actively ditching the #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt trend, highlighting how constant hauls and ‘must-buy’ content are problematic for both our spending habits and the environment. 

The beauty and fashion spaces particularly have seen a rise in the de-influencing trend. Multi-step skincare routines, viral products, and constant fashion hauls have led to the creation of niche trends dominating the trend cycle. Some have proven popular and worth the hype – take for example the Trigwell Cosmetics Powder Puff, or the Uniqlo Round Mini Shoulder Bag. These products often sell out within minutes, with customers hoping to get their hands on them.

But with virality comes risks. One day, a brand’s product is a rare commodity, the next it could be included in a de-influencing video in the name of deterring over-consumption.

“Anti-haul” content has seen many TikTokkers advocating for the opposite of what the app usually does (providing a platform for brand-creator partnerships to target a new demographic of consumers). Instead, it stimulates conversation and critical thinking around spending culture and where consumers actually want to spend their cash. Especially in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis which is impacting a large proportion of the global population.

So, what’s the problem?

What started out as a genuine means of communication with their audiences for some creators has led to others taking advantage.

It’s all well and good encouraging followers to stop unnecessary buying, but directing them towards another product – especially one you might have an affiliate link for – isn’t a good look. It’s re-influencing, not de-influencing. After all, it’s much more sustainable to use products you already own. Throwing something away because you’ve been told it’s not worth it and buying a dupe or cheaper product further contributes to the problem. 

We’ve seen many iterations of the creator world and each time, authenticity wins. Refinery29’s Alexandra Koster refers to those using the de-influencing trend to monetise their channels as toxically authentic.

Impact on brands

It’s a good time for brand marketers to re-evaluate their approach to creator marketing – ensuring they’re partnering with the right talent and not overloading their communities with sponsored content.

While we always encourage brands to stay ahead of the curve and jump on trends which are relevant to their identity and audiences, some are best left alone. De-influencing is one of them. It’s first and foremost a user-generated trend, powered further by creators. If brands want to engage with any exposure associated with de-influencing, they should prioritise community management. For example, leaving comments on posts to share their appreciation and support. They should also consider building a list of creators to work with in the future, based on those who are already flying the flag for them.

The trend continues to drive strong audience engagement, but it’s important to remember that trends by their very nature don’t last forever. Creators looking to take part in the trend should look to remember how and why they built their communities in the first place. Signposting to affiliate products within de-influencing content is pretty tasteless. For brands, it’s time for community management to shine. Leave the selling to the next trend.

Article written by Tatum Greig, Senior Community Manager, EMEA, at Billion Dollar Boy.

← Back to News