The immense power of TikTok influencers has not gone unnoticed by marketers. These days, the platform isn’t just a passing fad any more, it represents a considerable focus within many marketing and advertising efforts—and rightfully so. According to eMarketer, 37 percent of U.S. TikTok users will make a purchase via the platform this year, a 41 percent increase over last year. That’s due to the power of the individual influencer voices on the platform.

Last year, TikTok made headlines for causing supply chain issues when products—from makeup to mini waffle makers—went viral on the platform. The viral buying tendencies on the platform have even sparked their own #tiktokmademebuyit hashtag phenomenon—one that brands everywhere are eager to tap as TikTok becomes less of a social platform and more of an interest-based e-commerce platform.

But what happens when #tiktokmademebuyit becomes #tiktokmademeNOTbuyit? That’s where “deinfluencing” comes in, and it’s the latest social media trend that marketers need to understand.

What is Deinfluencing?

Deinfluencing is when influencers tell their followers to not buy a product. Therefore, influencers are still influencing, but for followers to turn away from something. According to TechTarget’s

“This trend started with the beauty and lifestyle categories but has since moved to other areas and popular products. Influencers discuss products they think are overhyped, and they may provide alternatives to their followers.”

As a marketer, you can see why this trend bears watching. Already #deinfluencing videos have yielded more than 429 million views on TikTok, and that number climbs daily. For the most part, these videos by influencers focus on suggesting cheaper alternatives to popular products, which is an understandably popular approach as people look to rein back on their spending in uncertain economic times.

What Does Deinfluencing Mean for Marketers Today?

Deinfluencers—or anti-influencers, as some have taken to calling them—might be the latest buzzworthy trend on TikTok (especially as far as marketers are concerned). Again, at its core, however, deinfluencing is still influencing as we’ve come to know it, especially when creators are suggesting a replacement product. While the idea of deinfluencing might seem steeped in negativity, it actually spotlights what followers want from creators: honesty.

For this reason, brands would do well to factor deinfluencing into their planning. As a social commerce marketer, ask yourself: What would I do if my product were to be “deinfluenced”?

This, like so many other elements of a brand and marketing strategy, is not something you want to be making up on the fly. Responses on TikTok, after all, should happen quickly. In the case of addressing a deinfluencer post, depending on the creator’s objection, it might make sense to offer a quick apology or statement of quality, both of which are resources that can be prepared in advance and modified as needed.

We all know that money is tight for most Americans right now. That’s a reality that needs to be acknowledged by brands and agencies, no matter the category or price point of the products they represent. As marketers, the key is to ensure you’re accurately marketing your products and leading with honesty.

Is Deinfluencing Just a Passing Trend?

As with anything on TikTok, this is a reasonable question to ask. But in the case of deinfluencing, it’s hard to say.

As Chris Beer, an analyst at GWI, notes: “We’re seeing social commerce go through a recession for the first time.” The fact that the #deinfluencing trend is taking place during an economic downturn makes it hard to gauge whether the hashtag will fade away as the worst of the financial fears do.

For marketers, however, the staying power of #deinfluencing is somewhat beside the point. It’s here now, and brands need to be prepared. And regardless of where the trend goes, the lessons it provides us around the need for honesty, transparency and nimbleness as social commerce marketers will never go out of style.

At Anagram, we don’t just chase the latest social media trends. We help our clients understand what they mean for their businesses at a fundamental level, and how they can adapt their strategies for the long haul. Want to better understand how your brand can build its social media approach on a foundation that will stand the test of time? We can help. Let’s talk!