It’s been a while since I’ve offered up a commentary episode and since the main interview episodes of Winfluence are now also in video, I’ve given some thought to bringing back the commentary episodes as an audio-exclusive, if you will.
That, and, I have to be honest … I resisted making the podcast a video-first offering for a long time. I’m an old radio guy. I love audio. I love audio production. I love mixing the show myself to make it sound awesome, though I admit I use MPN Studios’s team to produce most episodes now just because it’s not a great use of my time with all the other work related things I have going.
But podcasts without video produce less compelling social promotions and while I’m generally happy to just serve listeners in their podcast apps, the truth of the matter is that a good portion of people who listen to Winfluence and any other show for that matter, do so on platforms like YouTube which do not pull content from your audio feed. You have upload a separate file that is a video.
But where one door closes, another opens. Now, I plan on bringing you occasional commentaries … not every week. Just when there’s a topic or issue I want to share thoughts on, or that you ask me to share thoughts on. You can always do that via social media … I’m @JasonFalls everywhere. Or you can email me at [email protected].
And the commentary episodes are now audio exclusive. They won’t be on YouTube. These are just for you, my fellow audiophyles and sound enthusiasts.
Heck, sometimes, I just want to open the mic and roll off a half dozen or more thoughts to get you thinking. So there might be an episode or two down the road that has multiple topics and is more of stream of consciousness drama of me talking to myself, but in order to give you good food for thought.
Today’s topic is the recent trend of de-influencing. I believe it started on TikTok but has inspired many a creator to poke fun at the influencer marketing space. Some of them are poking fun at creators who do a lot of sponsored content. Others are making fun of brands who pay those creators.
It’s causing a stir in industry conversations.
But it shouldn’t. I’ll tell you why.
Scroll Down for a Show Transcript!
Jason Falls Deinfluencing Transcript
De-Influencing. You know something is trending when it comes with its own made-up word. TikTok-ers and Instagrammers are trend followers and the latest big idea to come out of Lemming Land is making fun of influencer marketing.
Just jump to TikTok and look up the hashtag #definfluencing and you’ll see thousands of videos of content creators aiming their sarcasm, or in some cases their hatred, at people who create a lot of sponsored content. Some of them are pointing their torches toward brands … implying the whole sponsored content world is some big evil conspiracy to clutter our feeds.
That’s how the trend started. But it has evolved. De-influencing has broadened a bit in the last few weeks to essentially be described as content creators shitting on products they don’t like.
If you dig into the posts you quickly realize this is more of a trend in beauty and style with people calling B.S. on skin creams and foundation, hair care products that promise to make you look like a fashion model but don’t and so on. While it certainly has some fingers poking into other verticals, what I’ve seen has been mostly limited to that broad vertical.
Which is the one, by the way, that gets the most broad attention because influencers in beauty and style are pretty effective and also have the highest concentration of people trying to be influencers. Thus, it’s the category that produces the most fraudulent behavior and superficial creators.
My pal Marcus Sheridan called out the trend on LinkedIn last week. He said the reasons for the movement was “influencer fatigue.” I don’t doubt that. He also correctly points out that the reason influencer marketing has grown in use and effectiveness is the concept of transparency.
Influencer content is supposed to be more authentic than ads. In general, it is. But the more content creators are being paid to review or endorse products, the less authentic they tend to be. They become paid spokespeople which isn’t as genuine and counters the notion of transparency.
So, Marcus isn’t wrong. More transparent and authentic influencer content doesn’t inspire a backlash.
But, de-influencing is really less about influencers or brands that use them. It is an invitation for people to jump on a trend of bitching about products they don’t like.
This isn’t about influencers or influencer marketing. This is about shitty products.
I watched about a dozen videos as a test of my theory. They were all on TikTok and chosen randomly as I scrolled through the hashtag feed. Three of the 12 were people sarcastically acting like big-shot influencers and over-using a given product. But the content was more about making fun of influencers, not the brand specifically. The other nine were all basically this …
“I love this new trend of de-influencing, so here’s all the products I want you to not buy!”
This is a trend better identified as product whining. That lip gloss smells bad. This dry shampoo makes my hair wet. This skin care cream is unnecessary because the same ingredient is in Jergens. Don’t buy this $99 hair curling whiz bang. Go get a $30 set of curlers at Target.
De-Influencing is not about influencers. It’s not about influencer marketing. The industry may have inspired it, but this is the age-old social media practice of calling brands out for having shitty products and services.
Remember Dell Hell? How about Comcast Cares? If you’re under the age of 35 or 40 go look those case studies up. Lionel Menchaca and Frank Eliason are still around if you want to ping them on Twitter, too. Those are the people behind the original social media customer service case studies.
And that’s what we’re experiencing here.
De-Influencers, I’ll call them that because whiny bitches is somewhat pejorative, De-Influencers are simply here to remind brands that social listening and social customer care are imperative. People will talk about bad products and services online. Every now and then a trend will come along to pour gas on that burning flame.
Go back to customer care school, listen to the feedback, reach out if it seems reasonable to do so, and maybe make changes to make your product better.
This isn’t an influencer trend. It’s the reality of commerce. Of making products. Of cutting corners.
And in the grand scheme of things, it makes our products and services better.
The only real concern for brands beyond making better products is they do run the risk of a de-influencer being over dramatic and brand bashing to the point of hyperbole.
Oh wait … that describes every single de-influencer video I’ve seen thus far.
What do you think about de-influencing? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Shoot me an email at [email protected] or comment on the blog post or social posts about this on my channels. I’m @jasonfalls everywhere.
If you’d like to have your thoughts highlighted on a future commentary episode of Winfluence, record them on your voice memo app and email me the audio file. That address again is [email protected].
Remember these commentary episodes are audio feed exclusives. So why not make sure your friends and colleagues know about the show? Tell someone who might want to know more about influence marketing about this podcast. Send them to WinfluencePod.com or share a link to this episode on your social network of choice. If you have a moment, drop Winfluence a rating or review on your favorite podcast app. We are on them all.
Winfluence is a production of Falls + Partners. The technical production is by MPN Studios. It is presented by CIPIO.ai – The Community Commerce Marketing Platform. Winfluence airs along MPN … the Marketing Podcast Network.
Thanks for listening, folks. Let’s talk again soon, on Winfluence.