by Brittany McSorley
Another social media marketing trend is upon us. We’ve been through our fair share of marketing developments, but this latest is my favorite. Why? Because this trend has an honest, pragmatic, and thoroughly negative spirit, and I was raised in New England, where we Don’t Like Things and are dying to tell you about it. Reviewing things unfavorably is our bread and butter. We live to be disappointed.
It’s obviously great news, then, that the practice of “deinfluencing” has recently gone viral. You may be familiar with deinfluencing’s annoyingly upbeat sister, influencing, which is the word-of-mouth marketing method that populates your Instagram Explore page with videos of young hot people strongly recommending products to you. Sometimes the influencers have partnered with that brand, and sometimes they’re just shouting out a product they genuinely love, but the content is always upbeat and intimate, sparing you the chilly, transactional energy of, say, a magazine ad for The Gap.
(Disclaimer: I am being snarky about this because I’m a little ashamed of how well influencer marketing works on me. A couple of weeks ago, I bought a hair tie designed for sleeping that cost $32 because a woman with beautiful hair filmed herself working out while using it. Her hair stayed perfectly in place while she ran on the treadmill, and when she took it down after her shower, her meticulously styled curls from the day before were completely intact. Obviously, I had to have this hair tie. Ask me how often I curl my hair. Weekly? Try once every four months, buddy! It didn’t matter. The woman in the Instagram video had soft, shiny hair, and I want soft, shiny hair. My lizard brain took over. I gave the hair tie people $32, and now I use the hair tie every night, and you know what? My hair does look less insane in the morning. Plus, elegantly looping my unstyled tresses through it before I begin my skincare regimen each evening makes me feel like a delicate princess. Consider me influenced.)
Anyway, deinfluencing is the refreshing practice of sharing with one’s followers which products are Not Worth It. Like everything important, it started on TikTok, and in no time people all over the world were volunteering their own candidates for items that are overpriced, overrated, or both. No one likes wasting money, so it’s no surprise that deinfluencing took off so quickly. And for influencers who rely on content creation for their income, being honest about products that leave something to be desired is a surefire way to build trust and grow their own brand. This trend is a powerful reminder for social media marketers that transparency will always win out over sales-y gimmicks.
In closing, I’d like to deinfluence all of you with regard to the following:
- Grapefruit. They don’t tell you this, but it tastes bad.
- Those charcoal face masks that allegedly harden on your skin and yank blackheads out like magic. I did not experience the catharsis I was promised.
- Overhead lighting. Give me cozy table lamps or give me death.
- The fan over the stove. Quiet down, sir!
- The Walking Dead. Enough.
- Chicken on pizza. Those are two separate meals, Dr. Frankenstein.
- Low-rise jeans. I will call the police.