By Bella Isaacson, Alliance Intern from Scripps College
Influencers on social media have dramatically increased consumerism. They have been dominating TikTok and Instagram and changing consumer behavior. Fortunately there is now a rising population of de-influencers that are pushing back to curb wasteful spending and protect consumers and the planet. De-influencers have a clear message: These items are overhyped, and you don’t need them. Many explain the sustainability impact and cost of waste associated with buying from specific companies or industries, namely fast-fashion and beauty.
To be de-influenced, one must be influenced in the first place. Brands pay influencers to market their products, and a recent study exposed that “87% of people surveyed followed a brand, visited its website or made a purchase online after they saw a product advertised on social media,” according to CNN. Victoria Sola, a beauty de-influencer with 17,000 followers, posits that de-influencing is a way to encourage honest conversations about products and “empowers underrepresented consumers.”
Sola herself has created popular de-influencing content which has included challenging the effectiveness of popular sunscreens on people of color. “De-influencers help promote transparency and hold brands accountable,” Sola adds.
However, this new phenomenon of de-influencing still has at least one caveat. “Rather than saying buy this, they are saying – don’t buy this. Both are forms of influencing. It is no different than saying, ‘Vote for this candidate,’ versus ‘Here’s why you shouldn’t vote for this candidate,” says Kris Ruby, Social Media Analyst at Ruby Media Group.
De-influencing is a practice that can help shed light on the power that influencers have over so many – and when it is time to take a step back.