In a social media u-turn, one of the most popular trends dominating attention on TikTok encourages users to stop spending too much. Users are being urged, by a new generation of influencers, to practice sustainability and abstain from passing fashion trends.
In just a few weeks since the craze started, thousands of videos with the hashtag #deinfluencing amassed nearly 200 million views.
Deinfluencing Has Come at the Right Time
At a time when the cost of living keeps rocketing up, it makes so much sense that social media influencers find a home in such a trend. Many of the same individuals who have admired and acted upon influencers’ consumer advice believe it to be immoral and crude for them to advise their followers to make unnecessary purchases when some people cannot afford to eat. What’s worse is that influencers are not only given these products as gifts; they are also paid to advertise them.
Deinfluencing TikTok videos don’t only come in a “don’t-buy-this” format, they can be as simple as the influencer actually showing what they use in real life, like Aysha Harun who has 6.6 million likes on TikTok:
It can also come in the form of showing what one purchased for very little money and still looks good on you.
Deinfluencing is a sensible strategy when people are actively looking for ways to save money right now. Excessive consumption generally has a downside, not the least of which is how harmful it is to the environment.
After subsisting on a diet of paid partnerships and sponsored content, your Muslim customers are starving for authenticity, which is one of the main reasons deinfluencing is popular. Whether to trust or not to trust influencers is an issue. This is connected to an overall feeling of gloom about living in a culture where we are constantly sold something.
Every Muslim brand should consider supporting or even implementing deinfluencing. It seeks to combat the insatiable desire for material goods promoted by influencers and the latest trends. If mainstream audiences are realizing they don’t need an abundance of material things, imagine how this will resonate even more with Muslim consumers.
Deinfluencing is essentially the rejection of extreme influencer culture and embracing being moderate. In this day and age, it may appear to be an extremely brave declaration, but moderation in our lives and actions is a fundamental concept in Islam.
But waste not by excess: for Allah loveth not the wasters.Source: Quran 6:141
Moderation means the praiseworthy character traits situated in between two extremes-excess and deficiency-like generosity, which is between extravagance and stinginess; and courage, which is between foolhardiness and cowardice. Moderation means ‘justice’.Source: Moderation in Islam
Skepticism Around Deinfluencing
It’s great to discourage unnecessary consumption, but deinfluencing is still in its early stages. It remains to be seen whether it will have the desired impact on influencer culture. Some question whether the trend will have a positive impact, owing to the fact that some “deinfluence” certain products only to turn around and recommend alternatives, effectively promoting a product.
For example, removing a popular halal cosmetic product and promoting the one the influencer uses instead still encourages spending. Some argue that using this type of deinfluencing content defeats the whole purpose of it. One could argue that this is a bit harsh. Why? Because it is best practice to provide an alternative when telling someone to stop doing something; otherwise, they will continue to do it.
Moderation in purchasing is a trend that could restore sanity and balance to social media purchasing behaviors, and deinfluencing could be the first step.
End of Influencer Marketing?
This is by no means the end of influencer marketing and if you are looking for Muslim influencers, the deinfluencing trend should not deter you. Recommending and selling is still a powerful consumerist tool. However, you should expect influencers to adopt a more authentic stance in a bid to ensure followers trust them. Being authentic is the reason why influencers became so popular in the first place.
Consumers today do not believe that influencers truly support the products they promote. In the cosmetics industry, new beauty ventures are frequently labeled as “money grabs,” and recommendations are accused of being sponsored or paid for.
“I don’t think it’s surprising that we are seeing this trend. Influencers became popular in the first place as people trusted their opinions more than traditional advertising and news. There was a hunger for the truth, seeing real people doing day-to-day things, and using products we might be interested in. But there has been a shift. With the rise of influencer marketing … some of that authenticity and trust has been lost.” – Hannah Turner, Senior Influencer Account Manager at Disrupt
Influencers may seek authenticity once more in order to protect their income, but it’s a step up from being paid a fortune to casually recommend some subpar bogus tan to millions of people.
Whether deinfluencing is just another TikTok fad or a long-term shift, one thing is certain: it has sparked a much-needed discussion about how we buy.
If you use influencer marketing as part of your marketing strategy, or this is something you have considered, you will know that the power lies in gaining the trust of your followers. Deinfluencing allows authenticity and although this is a word which is thrown around casually when talking about influencer marketing, it remains the key to influencer strategy. Will an anti-consumerist revolution, materializing on the very same apps that are engineered to sell to us, survive? That remains to be seen, but as long as your content is authentic you can incorporate an influencing (or deinfluencing) strategy for your halal brand, today.start targeting muslim consumers