How well do you know your laws of physics? Deinfluencing, a new trend on social media, suggests that just like “for every action there’s an equal and opposite reaction,” equal and opposite social media trends are a viable strategy, too.
So if you’re not the type of person to go all-in on trying to convince everybody your life, or a certain place, or a certain product, is perfect — well, have you considered contrarianism? Or at the very least, offering honest opinions about experiences that may not follow the popular influencer narrative.
What Is Deinfluencing?
Deinfluencing is a type of social media content that focuses on offering alternative views to common topics, particularly ones that have been hit heavily by the influencer world. In other words, it's bursting the bubble (or at least providing realistic context) on some of the most popular things you may be seeing in your feed.
It’s not necessarily just being negative about something that’s received a lot of attention from influencers, though. It’s simply about providing the “real life” take versus the “Instagram” one (if you’re familiar with the trend, which was arguably the first form of "deinfluencing").
Deinfluencing is particularly popular in the travel industry, where influencers are very likely to share picturesque shots of lavish, dreamy locales. Instead of simply creating more FOMO for would-be travelers, people like Bekky Khera use their profiles to talk about the realities of those popular locations.
For instance, Khera recently spoke on Positano, Italy — known as the “Instagram capital of the world” for how many influencers flock there to share pictures. “Positano is really beautiful and I did enjoy my time there,” Khera says in a post. “However, I think it’s one of those places that if you don’t have a lot of money…if you’re not making this a big splurge trip, it’s not really worth doing on a budget.”
But it’s not simply saying, "Nuh uh!" to pretty pictures. It’s also offering helpful, realistic perspectives against highly curated social media content. Bali is a top influencer target, but Khera says the Philippines offer amazing beaches, culture, food, and people at a much more affordable rate.
Finding A Niche In The Counter-Culture
Deinfluencing isn’t just a trend in travel, though. There’s a whole subculture of social media followers who love seeing experts offer alternative takes to places and products that suddenly flood our feeds. One of the more popular ones to pop up? Testing all of those “As Seen On TV” products you trip over as they fall into the aisle at Walgreens.
There’s also a growing contingent of YouTubers and social media personalities putting humorous and thoughtful spins on things like makeup and fitness and wellness products. Basically approaching these industries as, “What does it look like when an ‘average, every-day person’ uses this product?” That may help people get a different understanding of the product than before.
The point here is this: if you’re struggling to find a certain niche or unique angle in your content, don’t be afraid to embrace the “unpopular” side of something you love. As long as you feel like your content is still authentic to you and creating a net positive in the space, go ahead and “deinfluence“ the heck out of something.
Sometimes there’s a great intersection between promoting a product and deinfluencing others. Do you remember the “Will It Blend?” videos? Those ran for 14 years and were ultimately just a viral marketing campaign for a series of blenders. But they worked because they often took popular products that all the influencers were talking about (like new iPhones) and chucked them into blenders. It was a little controversial, a little funny, and a lot effective. Not to mention unique.
The State Of The Influencer Economy
So why do new trends in the influencer space matter? Well, like it or not, the influencer economy is a huge part of content creation in general. Even before social media, things like product placement and coordinated viral campaigns followed the same concept of influencer campaigns. They're an important part of a healthy content creator ecosystem.
But especially in the last few years, many companies have (rightfully) started to question the actual efficacy of some influencer campaigns. Most people agree that they’re overall important and effective, both for brands and creators. But the relative inability to measure just how effective coupled with some exorbitant, eyebrow-raising rates from influencers has created a big shift in the industry, particularly in the willingness to maintain the status quo.
It’s not the same creator economy it was five years ago, or even one year ago. Things like influencer insurance and Hollywood strikes are creating questions for creators. User-generated content is providing perhaps a more accessible and genuine connection between some brands and creators.
So when something like deinfluencing pops up as a trend, it’s probably a good indicator of the general sentiment in the industry. That’s not to say influencing is done for — after all, deinfluencing is really its own form of influencing. But for any content creator who is building a brand around themselves and their reach, understanding these trends will help set you up for success no matter which way the influencer economy moves.