What Is The Deinfluencing TikTok Trend? – Why This Anti-Influencer Movement Is Taking Off
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“TikTok made me buy it!” is a phrase you might have seen heard or seen floating around the Internet. It’s about the power Tiktok has in driving consumer behavior, especially when it comes to quirky and niche products.
It’s all about the power of influencer marketing.
You know, when you scroll through your “For You” page and see a product being used in a video. You can’t help but think “I need that in my life!” Then you click a link in bio and buy, making a purchasing decision based on the influence of the creator and power of the platform’s algorithm?
Well… Tiktok made you buy it.
The TikTok phenomenon has led to many products being purchased by users. Some popular TikTok made me buy it items include:
- Fashion and beauty products, such as clothing, makeup, and skincare.
- Home goods, such as furniture, decor, and organization items.
- Food and drink products, such as snacks, cooking ingredients, and supplements.
- Technology and electronics, such as phone cases, chargers, and headphones.
- Outdoor and fitness equipment, such as bicycles, trampolines, and gym equipment.
- Art and crafts supplies, such as paints, markers, and journals.
Millions and millions of people have reported making a purchase after seeing it on TikTok. That’s great for the creators, ecomm businesses, and marketers hawking their wares.
But that’s also exactly where the problem lies.
While it’s great that businesses can connect with potential customers through the platform, it’s important to remember that not all influencers are truthful about their experiences with the products they’re promoting.
Some may be paid to promote certain items, and may not have actually used or even like the product.
TikTok’s algorithm is freakishly powerful at matching a charming and charismatic influencer with a high-intent audience.
Audiences aren’t dumb. They have critical thinking skills. We’re all human, at the end of the day. People know when they’re being duped by a snake oil salesperson eager to make a buck.
How do TikTok influencers make money?
First, let’s first consider how influencers make money on TikTok.
Influencers on TikTok, whether they’re using the platform as their primary source of income or as a side hustle, use brand deals and affiliate offers to make money. These deals involve getting paid in advance for creating content about a product or service, or earning a commission from sales generated by featuring items on their channel.
Just think about how you behave when someone approaches you with a pamphlet on the street. If you’re anything like me, you recoil and cringe a little bit. Then you politely decline or ignore them, no matter what they’re pushing.
That same thing happens online, when influencers try to overly push a product for financial gain to their audience. You probably cringe a little bit. Or, if it’s someone you like and the content is a blatant sales pitch, you brain probably thinks “sellout.”
The bottom line: No one likes being sold or solicited.
At the end of the day, advertising is the nature of influencing someone’s behavior. It’s really just brainwashing by playing into human needs and desires.
Too many TikTokers have forgotten that consumer trust and their relationship with their audience is a two-way street.
On TikTok and other social media platforms, people are starting to become keenly aware of creators and influencers promoting unnecessary products.
In other words, they’re starting to get over the phoniness.
This is exactly where the deinfluencing TikTok trend comes in.
What is the deinfluencing trend on TikTok?
A new trend on TikTok called “deinfluencing” is emerging as a result of user frustration with influencers who are seen as overly aggressive or insincere.
Deinfluencing trend is already striking a chord. At the time of this writing, TikTok is currently displaying over 33 million views on the #Deinfluencing hashtag.
The “deinfluencing” trend on TikTok involves users expressing their dissatisfaction with influencer content and culture, particularly in the crowded fashion and beauty industry. They want content creators to be more authentic and natural, and less focused on aggressively promoting products.
Especially concerning is how many content creators start out with the specific aspiration to be influencers at the get go, rather than just using makeup or wearing outfits to look their best or building an organic, symbiotic relationship with their audience.
Here are five specific reasons why the deinfluencing movement is starting to be embraced:
Social media is meant to be inclusive, where participation means being on equal footing with others in the ecosystem. All members in the social media ecosystem should be on equal footing. At least, in theory.
Gatekeeping by influencers on TikTok can be obnoxious because it creates an exclusive environment where certain products, lifestyles, or memes are deemed “cool” and only accessible to a select group. It can be pressure-inducing, disingenuous, and out of touch with their audience, making people feel excluded and fed up.
The influencer market is oversaturated with too many individuals vying for attention and pushing similar content, leading to a decrease in perceived value. People are also getting sick of influencers who are insincere, fake or gatekeepers.
Just like Holden Caulfield, no one likes a phony.
The constant bombardment of sponsored content can also feel overwhelming and inauthentic, leading the audience to question the authenticity of the influencers, making them less trustworthy and less likely to be followed.
Product oversaturation is a problem in the influencer market because it leads to repetitive content, decreased perceived value, and a lack of authenticity. People get burned out from hearing about the same product from multiple influencers, leading to a decrease in trust and engagement.
It also creates pressure to keep up with the latest trends, making it tiring for the audience. As influencers are competing with one another, they may end up promoting products they don’t use or believe in, making them less authentic and less valuable to their audience.
Influencer content is seen as shallow, superficial and lacking in substance. Think: Infomercials and cable shopping channels. When shilling a product, many influencers aren’t genuine or honest about a product and its utility – they’re simply shilling it.
It’s all about promoting products and brands instead of providing real value to the audience. They are seen as lacking authenticity, originality, and insincerity.
The high number of influencers leads to saturation and decrease in perceived value, making people less likely to trust and follow them. The constant pressure of consumption of new products and trends is tiring and overwhelming, leaving people feeling like they are being sold to and not receiving genuine content.
It encourages overconsumption and troubling consumer behavior
You know the old saying, “a fool and his money are soon parted?” Buying things you don’t need – the definition of overconsumption – is a trap. It will hurt your financial goals in the long-run.
Influencers on TikTok and other platforms often push a culture of overconsumption by constantly promoting the latest products and trends. They create a sense of FOMO, making their followers feel like they need to have the latest items to keep up with the influencer’s lifestyle, leading to impulsive buying and overspending.
The “TikTok made me buy it” trend is a prime example, with products like the Stanley 40oz tumbler being promoted as a must-have, even though it may not be necessary or affordable, leading to a cycle of overconsumption and financial strain.
It’s textbook “keeping up with the Joneses” consumer mentality.
For the influencers themselves, the constant pressure to promote consumerism and purchase and promote items you do not personally need can be very toxic and draining.
Ever try to be someone you’re just not at the end of the day? It’s exhausting.
Both of those reasons why both infleuncers themselves and their audiences are championing the ethos of the deinfluencing trend.
What are other content creators saying about the deinfluencing trend on TikTok?
Many Tiktok influencers themselves embrace the deinfluencing trend, speaking out about their own experiences as influencers.
In a YouTube vlog titled WHY EVERYONE IS SICK OF INFLUENCERS about what she calls “The LA Influencer Epidemic”, creator Sonya Esman explains why her experience with the influencer industrial complex was so troubling:
“I’ve gone through a lot of phases throughout the years ranging from feeling incredibly influenced, wanting to literally go to Sephora and buy like 50 things that I do not need. This was mostly when I was probably like in high school. Beauty gurus were a huge thing and having a lot of money in your bank account was not.
Becoming that very same influencer that then influences other people’s shopping decisions a few years later in my influencing career, I realized the only things I want are the things that I need or that I use and love every single day and if I don’t use them I don’t want it.
PR packages and purchases that I lug into my apartment every single day. I don’t have the space for the amount of things people send me that I buy.
I used to buy things and just leave them in the shopping bag – like I wouldn’t even open it for weeks, at which point I threw away quite literally 80 to 90 percent of the things that I owned. Not just threw away, I donated it if I could donate it. Or sold it if it was of good value.
At that point, I was also really resenting the work I was doing. I’d never wanted to be a marketer. I wanted to be a creative and somehow I’ve fallen into this like soul-selling, soul-draining job.”
Sonya argues that the word “influencer” should be retired and replaced with more accurate terms like “creators”, “shoppers,” or “educators.”
In another video on the #deinfluencing hashtag, a brand strategist named Madison declares that “influencer marketing is no longer working.”
Madison pins the blame on brands and marketers ignoring customer feedback.
“You need to listen to your consumers. These people here are your customers. They’re your consumers, and they’re tired of it. And they’re giving you everything you need to know. Creators and normal people were creating this trend, telling you to not buy the Stanley Cup, not buy the mini Uggs because they’ve caught on that influencers are selling you product. Influencers don’t really love the Charlotte Tilbury. They’re getting a fat check. And in the back of our minds, do we always know that?
That is why advertising is so effective and it can be so overall consuming. If you see everybody have something, it’s a natural instinct to want it. But now people are looking at everything they’ve bought and consumed since 2020, and they’re going, “why the f*ck do I have 10 blushes that are the same color? I don’t need this.”
They are desperate right now to find brands that offer authenticity. Find creators that offer authenticity. Put that budget somewhere else. Focus on your brand… look at [the] customer and let [them decide] what their actual desires and needs are. Let’s try to sell them a good product.”
Watch the video here:
Resist the influencer trap, be intentional with what you buy
If you’re tired of the same old, fake influencer content, there’s a simple solution:
Seek authenticity in your digital content consumption.
Authenticity is the biggest takeaway about deinfluencing.
TikTok users are on the hunt for creators who are real, relatable, and authentic. Forget the polished, rehearsed, and fake posts – they want to see the real person on the other side of their phone screen.
Authentic content is all about being unscripted, unedited, and genuine. It’s about being true to yourself and your experiences, not just trying to please brands. So, unfollow or block the influencer content that doesn’t make you happy.
Authenticity is what makes content engaging and relatable, and that’s what TikTok users are craving.
Another takeaway from deinfluencing:
As a consumer, it’s on you to be intentional with what you buy online.
Make smart choices about what you need, not just buying whatever TikTok influencers are shoving in your face. It’s about thinking before you click “add to cart” and considering if it aligns with your values, needs, and budget.
Don’t fall for the instant gratification trap.
Sure, the rush of dopamine is rewarding at the time, but it can lead to overspending, financial strain and unnecessary accumulation of things that just lead to clutter and stress.
Stick to what you need and save for what truly matters.