The growing backlash against superficial influencer marketing and its culture of excessive consumption is gaining momentum. How can brands and retailers safeguard themselves from being singled out for criticism? Avoiding the Crosshairs: Navigating the De-Influencer Marketing Revolution with Authenticity.
The rise of de-influencing has caught the attention of corporate marketing teams worldwide. This trend involves individuals using social media, particularly Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube, to discourage their followers from purchasing certain products.
They may promote alternative, more sustainable options, expose unethical practices by brands, or call out misleading advertising by other influencers.
Brandwatch, a social analytics platform, reported that mentions of de-influencing on these platforms increased by over 3,000% between January and March, accompanied by hashtags such as #antihaul, #overconsumption, and #whatnottobuy.
Users reacting to de-influencing posts often express disappointment with products that didn’t meet the marketing hype despite heavy promotion by other influencers.
The democratization of information on the internet, particularly on social media, has become a challenge for companies to control. Traditionally, influential creators with millions of followers have been utilized by companies to market their products.
In-app shopping features on channels with algorithmic preferences for short video content have particularly driven consumer purchases. According to research by Kantar, over a quarter of social media users have made product purchases based on influencer recommendations.
However, influence is not limited to mega-influencers with millions of followers. Micro-influencers have 1,000 to 100,000 followers and have gained increasing value for brands. Research by YPulse shows that 58% of millennial and Gen-Z consumers do not consider the size of an influencer’s following as a factor in their trustworthiness.
Micro-influencer engagement may vary depending on the platform, with TikTok reported a higher engagement rate at 17.9% compared to Instagram at 3.9% and YouTube at 1.6% (Influencer Marketing Hub, 2021).
Furthermore, the content generated by ordinary shoppers can also significantly influence purchasing decisions. Research by consumer experience platform Nosto reveals that 79% of viewers find user-generated content impactful, whereas only 9% attribute the same impact to influencer-generated content.
Retail Revolution: Navigating the Trend Wave with Agility and Success!
To thrive in the era of de-influencing, brands and retailers need to change their approach to influencer marketing and social media engagement. According to Melanie Kentish, managing partner of Dentsu Creative UK’s talent and influencer division, authenticity and shared values between influencers and brands are crucial for successful partnerships. Giving influencers the freedom to talk honestly, even if it means not being entirely positive about a product, tends to yield the best results.
With the ongoing cost-of-living crisis, authenticity has become even more vital to consumers, particularly in the fashion and beauty sectors. Last year, YouGov found that 40% of UK adults reduced or halted spending on clothes due to high inflation. De-influencing has also impacted luxury brands, such as Olaplex, Dior Beauty, and Skims, as consumers question their value.
As a brand, it’s important to listen to what the community is saying, according to a spokesperson from cosmetics retailer Lush. Companies should treat critical reviews as valuable feedback and be open to constructive criticism about their branding, pricing, and products, says Kentish.
Companies must act quickly and respond strategically in extreme cases, such as when a product faces online cancellation. Imogen Coles, UK influence lead at Ogilvy, advises that an integrated effort involving sales, product, and social media teams is crucial to effectively address reactions to de-influencing.
Embracing authentic communication, listening to consumers, and responding promptly to feedback are key strategies for brands and retailers to adapt and succeed in the age of de-influencing.
Thriving Through De-Influencing: Unlocking Business Success!
De-Influencing for Sustainability: Empowering Consumers for Informed Choices!
Besma Whayeb, Director of Ethical influencers, believes using influencers to promote sustainable lifestyles is crucial. With over 26,000 followers on social media and a popular blog, she emphasizes the responsibility influencers have towards their audience and the planet. Besma advocates for scrutinizing brands’ employment practices and ecological impact, and promotes circularity and supply chain transparency in her content.
Unveiling the Truth: De-Influencing and Sustainable Consumer Choices!
A sentiment analysis by Brandwatch reveals that 22% of online conversations about de-influencing highlight consumers’ happiness at being empowered to make informed and sustainable purchasing decisions. Besma Whayeb’s advocacy for responsible consumption and using influencers to promote sustainability is gaining consumer traction.
De-influencing can catalyze positive change, encouraging brands to prioritize ethical practices and consumers to adopt more conscious buying behaviors during economic challenges.
Detox Your Digital Life: Embrace the Power of Partial Unplugging!
In a bold move, Lush, the cosmetics retailer, stepped away from Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook in 2021, prioritizing in-person events and alternative online communication formats like podcasts. Lush’s research with The Future Laboratory revealed that consumers appreciate brands that prioritize ethical considerations over social media reach, with 70% of adults in the UK, US, and Japan supporting a brand’s decision to leave a platform it deems unethical.
This underscores the importance of brands and retailers focusing on authenticity and value alignment in their influencer partnerships and social media marketing strategies. Establishing a customer-centric feedback process that actively engages with their audiences and messaging that emphasizes responsible production and consumption of products can build trust and attract eco-conscious consumers.
In navigating the complexities of influencing and de-influencing, companies must recognize that social networks can provide a space for communities, constructive conversations, and powerful calls for collective change. By staying attuned to their customers’ needs, remaining flexible in their approach, and prioritizing ethical considerations, brands can thrive in the ever-evolving landscape of influencer marketing and social media engagement.