DeInfluencing, Genuinefluencers and the rise of Recession-Core Influencing

Unpacking the Latest TikTok Trends Brands Need to Know About  

It’s no joke that ‘deinfluencing’ is trending. No less than six weeks into the new year #deinfluencing has over 70 million views on TikTok alone with more and more creators joining the conversation every day.  

In fact – TikTok has coined deinfluencing a ‘term of the year’ due to its stratospheric rise into the common vocabulary. But what is deinfluencing, and should brands who’ve jumped headfirst into influencer marketing be worried about it? 

We first heard this controversial term uttered as TikTok creator Mikayla Nogueira went viral following a controversial lashes endorsement, now dubbed ‘Mascaragate’ that left her audience questioning the transparency and authenticity of her paid partnerships. This drama awkwardly coincided with the negative fallout from Tarte’s controversial Dubai influencer trip which caused a stir for its extravagance and questionable necessity during the cost-of-living crisis, and thus deinfluencing was born and the hashtag snowballed into a trend. 

Tearing up the rulebook on influencer marketing, deinfluencing sees influencers and creators alike do away with telling you what to buy, watch, eat or do and instead flipping the script, openly discussing products and experiences they feel their audience should not buy into – effectively doing the very opposite of what many brands are paying creators to do.  

But rest assured, deinfluencing is not the end of influencer marketing…however, it could be a segway for the industry as we know it. As a result, influencer marketing could well be in for a shake-up which will require brands to reassess how they work with creators going forwards.  

The rise of deinfluencing has also prompted a new designation of creator to take the stage – the so-called ‘genuinefluencers’. These hugely authentic and ‘real’ creators are not only attracting huge audiences on platforms like TikTok and Instagram, but brands are wising up, the smart ones choosing to work with those influencers who have voice, demonstrate purpose or have strong ethics to boot.  

As consumers, we don’t want to be plied with ads, especially not on TikTok. But this once safe space is now infiltrated by paid promotions en mass, and as such, users are seeking out genuinefluencers to avoid disingenuous (or sometimes totally fake) endorsements. 

It is clear that the way consumers see influencers is changing. Deinfluencing and the rise of genuinefluencers only goes to show that as users, we want to see real people living real lives, supporting brands that they truly want to get behind (rather than just the ones they are being paid by) and above all else, doing it a relatable, transparent, and ethical way.  

So how can brands come up with a successful influencer marketing strategy in the age of deinfluencing? Here’s how we see it…brands need to: 

  • Be selective with the creators and influencers they choose to work with 
  • Spend time getting to know their audience and who they interact with 
  • Prioritise working with creators that have a genuine interest in your brand  
  • Work with creators who aren’t always picture-perfect, content should be relatable  
  • Think about where your audience are in life, make sure your messaging is attainable  
  • Embrace the human element, consumers want authenticity  
  • Think about what is being promoted and how it might be received; look at the bigger societal picture to avoid coming across as tone-deaf 
  • Make sure partnerships align with and support brand values  
  • Be open to feedback  
  • Be transparent about your own journey  
  • Have a conversation, rather than talking at your audience 
  • And above all else, keep it real 

If your brand falls foul of being deinfluenced, rather than panicking, take a second and break down the why behind the negative review. Use it as an opportunity to double down on re-connecting with your audience, find out what they like, how they view your brand, and what you could be doing to better serve them. 

So… could deinfluencing actually be a force for good? Maybe, yes. At least for consumers.  

The timing of the rise of deinfluencing and genuinefluencers is no coincidence with some pitting it as a direct response to the cost-of-living crisis that is seeing the consumerism fuelled by influencer marketing take a big hit in terms of social responsibility.  

According to a new report from the University of York, experts say that influencer marketing could now be entering an era dubbed “recession-core influencing” – with deinfluencing an arguable catalyst for it.  

Consumers are crying out for authenticity from brands and influencers alike, so with the average consumer being now much more socially, environmentally, financially, and ethically conscious, deinfluencing is a welcome step away from feeds now laden with potentially misleading or financially unattainable ‘ads’.  

It is clear brands will need to be wiser about the way they work with influencers and the messages they choose to push through influencer partnerships in the months to come, but for the consumer, deinfluencing can only look to improve user experience in the short-term and in turn, build stronger relationships for them with more authentic brands in the process.  









Hayley Musson.