How to Protect Your Brand from the #Deinfluencing Trend Happening Across Social Platforms

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The #deinfluencing hashtag is rapidly accelerating across TikTok and other social platforms with influencers advising followers which products not to buy

In the same way influencer marketing helped drive the #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt trend on social, a hashtag that has more than 40 billion mentions, influencers are collectively leaning into a whole new deinfluencing trend, advising followers on which products not to buy. What started as an organic pushback against overconsumption and consumerism is spreading like wildfire with the #deinfluencing hashtag accumulating more than 400 million mentions on TikTok and gaining momentum across Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

Deinfluencing began as an outcry against inauthentic brand sponsorships, with much of the conversation putting a spotlight on Gen Z and younger social media users becoming more savvy to influencer marketing tactics. The trend centers on younger generations embracing conscious-consumerism and resisting inauthentic brand efforts that involve influencers touting products they don’t actually use.

But as the hashtag takes over social, many brands are becoming concerned that the trend could severely impact their marketing efforts.

“There is this culture among influencers, where, if something is picking up traction, they jump on it for exposure and personal gain,” said one beauty executive during a recent event for beauty brand leaders hosted by Google and the media platform Glossy. The trend is especially alarming when you consider that deinfluencing is just another form of influencer marketing that could be significantly detrimental, impacting revenue outcomes and brand reputation.

To help social media managers stay ahead of this latest trend, we’ve put together a list of tactical actions you can take now to protect your brand from being pulled into a deinfluencing campaign.

4 Ways to Avoid #Deinfluencing Trends

#1 Monitor your product reviews

Before any public deinflucing occurs, there will likely be early indications of negative feedback in brand product reviews. And it won’t take long before red flags begging to emerge. Your first 20 or so reviews will already give you an indication of how a product is being received by your customers. The key is to act on that early feedback which can deescalate any future social media crisis from happening.

#2. Monitor brand mentions

Social listening is integral not only to your brand safety and suitability efforts, but your overall marketing strategy. It’s important to keep an ear to the ground so that you can track brand mentions and spikes in any topics, people or events connected to your company. With the increasing popularity of the deinflueincing trend, it’s especially important to know in real-time if your brand or products have been named alongside the hashtag – and why. Staying abreast of consumer sentiment and negative mentions enables marketers to address an issue before it snowballs into a major challenge for their brand.

#3. Respond to false information

It is rarely a good idea for your social media team to be involved in a public dispute with a customer or influencer. But, if false information is being shared by someone who has sway over your audience, it’s important to correct any erroneous, inaccurate, or simply untrue information about your brand or products. It could be that the influencer has received incorrect information so reaching out to them directly to correct the false narrative may be all that is needed to course-correct and keep your brand from being included in further #deinfluencing posts. Being mindful and respectful of an influencer’s efforts and not assuming the worst can go a long way when starting conversations to address the issue

#4. Use UGC to appeal to consumer desire for more authentic brand interactions

If you haven’t already, it is time to start leveraging user reviews and user generated content in your marketing campaigns. According to a consumer survey commissioned by Emplifi, we discovered 87% of survey respondents believed user reviews and ratings to be the most authentic interaction they have with a brand – far outperforming product reviews posted by influencers. Also, more than half of the consumers surveyed placed a high value on pictures and videos posted by real-life customers. If deinfluencing is all about calling out inauthenticity – promoting your user reviews and UGC is one way to proactively counteract the deinfluencer trend, putting a spotlight on your brand’s authenticity

It’s time brands get real

An interesting aspect of the deinfluencing trend is how it supports what consumers have been telling us all along: They want authentic brand experiences and are willing to pay more to have them. In fact, based on the consumer survey commissioned by Emplifi, consumers rated real-life customer reviews and ratings as the most influential factor in a purchasing decision, outranking return policies, shipping costs, and price.

And it’s not just our data that supports the need for brand authenticity. A 2022 Edelman Trust Barometer report found that 59% of the consumers it surveyed said they would stop buying a product if they did not trust the company behind it. The report also revealed that more than half of the survey respondents said that a trusted brand is worth paying more for.

UGC is a key element to building trust with your audience and offering an authentic brand experience that can impact your most important business outcomes. Not only does it help drive engagement, but it is also a cost-effective tactic that can be used across your marketing channels, from your social accounts and product pages to email marketing messaging and website content.

Most importantly, when considering the current deinfluencing trend and pushback against inauthentic influencer and creator content, UGC clears the path to brand authenticity. It enables marketers to deliver the very thing consumers want most: Real interactions with a brand fully embracing its authenticity.

Kyle Wong
Kyle Wong is a founder, tech expert and frequent media commentator. He currently serves as the chief strategy officer for Emplifi, a customer engagement platform. Kyle is a regular and in demand speaker on topics like influencer marketing, UGC, digital marketing, entrepreneurship and various leadership and career topics.

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