‘De-influence’: A closer look at an unlikely TikTok trend


At a time when consumers are flooded with so-called social media influencers peddling their latest products online, a slew of TikTok users are taking advantage of their platform to tell people what’s going on. What should not buy.

The trend, known as “dropping influence,” stands in stark contrast to earlier trends like #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt, where consumers show off products they’ve purchased after seeing them on a social media app.

Today, TikTok users are telling their followers which products are not worth the money or urging them to resist following trends. Some influencers are speaking out about blush, mascara, or other beauty and skin care items that promise much but fail to deliver. And others are telling their followers to avoid the hair stylers and water bottles that TikTok itself helped popularize.

All told, clips with the hashtag #deinfluences have racked up over 150 million views in just a few months. It’s unclear where this trend originated, although one of the first TikTok videos came from a former Ulta and Sephora employee who listed products that were returned regularly at beauty stores.

Paige Pritchard, 33, said it’s nice to see consumers finally having this conversation. Now a spending coach who shares financial advice on TikTok, Pritchard said she chose her career path after pouring her entire $60,000 salary into clothes, beauty products and hair during her lifetime. first year after graduating from college.

At the time, Pritchard was living with his parents to help pay off student loans. But keeping an eye on recommendations from YouTube influencers, who are regularly paid by brands to market their products, she often goes to Nordstrom or J. Crew on her lunch break, easily Easy $500 off per visit.

“When it was time to move out, I realized I had no money,” says Pritchard. “I could barely afford to leave my parents’ house by the end of that year.”

She feels embarrassed and embarrassed, and considers this moment her “breakthrough point”.

Estefany Teran, 23, said she was inspired to make the “reducing impact” video after her sister-in-law told her she wanted a Stanley Cup – a popular 40-ounce drinking cup that has recently gone viral broadcast on TikTok. But it’s out of stock.

“I said, ‘You can go to TJ Maxx and get another cup,'” Teran said.

TikTok trends come and go, and criticisms of consumerism aren’t necessarily new. However, Abhisek Kunar, a marketing lecturer at the University of Essex who has researched how Gen Z interacts with content creators, says influencers catching on to the downward trend of influence can be seen be more trustworthy and use this opportunity to reinforce credibility.

A study he’s done with other academics shows that Gen Z shoppers often ignore influencer campaigns they believe are controlled by companies. Brand deals and influencers have become almost synonymous over the years, but consumers still crave authenticity and those seen as dishonest often pay the price of their reputation. Surname.

Most recently, Mikayla Nogueira, a makeup artist with 14.4 million followers on TikTok, was accused of wearing false eyelashes while promoting L’Oreal mascara in a video sponsored by the brand. (Nogueira reps did not respond to a request for comment.)

“Influencers will still be relevant, but one of their main weapons – that is the credibility of the source – is slowly eroding unless they do something about it,” says Kunar.

However, the temptation to make money can be difficult to overcome. Many influencers make a living from the content they produce, sometimes collaborating with brands. According to the Influencer Marketing Hub, such partnerships have exploded over the past decade, stating that the influencer marketing industry hit more than $16 billion last year, up from $1.6 billion. in 2016. At the same time, the number of people searching for products on social media has increased by 43 percent since 2015, audience research firm GWI said in a recent report.

Compared to other influencer-dominated platforms like Instagram and YouTube, TikTok is relatively new in driving consumer behavior. But the traction there has boosted sales of many items, including books by Texas writer Colleen Hoover as well as so-called products that claim to give skin a shiny and plump look. “dolphin skin”.

Data from market research firm NPD Group also shows that purchasing decisions for skin care products and fragrances, in particular, were influenced more by TikTok last year than in 2021.

Reducing influence – like influencing – comes from a place of authenticity. But the longer this trend lasts, the more it becomes a paradox: Hashtags are being used by some users to surf certain products, then come back and offer alternatives. — basically influence their followers to buy more items, not less.

And it is also possible to make money from it. For example, some of the products mentioned in popular TikToker user alyssastephanie’s influencer videos are listed on her Amazon Storefront, a personalized page on the e-commerce site where people with influence earns a commission from purchases made using an affiliate link. TikToker valeriafride, whose influencer video has received over a million views, also has recommendations listed on her Storefront.

Fride has a caption asking viewers not to buy everything mentioned in her video. She told The Associated Press in an emailed response that she did not and has “no intention” of monetizing the alternatives she recommends, but did not provide further details. TikToker alyssastephanie said in an email that having a Storefront makes it easier for viewers to find the items mentioned in the clip.

Mandy Lee, a fashion critic and freelance writer who posted a TikTok video advocating anti-consumer trends, said she would be suspicious of any first-time influencers joining the fray. this chat because it’s a trend.

Lee, who lives in Brooklyn, New York and has another side job advising companies on fashion trends, says: “It’s hard for me to trust someone who has never done an identity research. about the product, and suddenly now they’re doing it. “I would question if it’s genuine.”

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