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Is De-Influence the Future of Influencer Marketing?

Influence has always been an important aspect of marketing, but the success of influencer marketing in particular has made it crucial for modern advertising strategies. The motivation for working with influencers has been the authenticity and credibility that creators enjoy with their target audience - but what's next for influencer marketing in 2023 when social media is so oversaturated and fast-paced?

yellow traffic sign with half turn arrow on a blue background
yellow traffic sign with half turn arrow on a blue background

Key Takeaways

  • Influencer marketing has become an essential part of the marketing industry as it offers direct activation of the target audience through authentic and credible communicated content.
  • Due to the immersive world of social media, trend cycles are getting shorter and consumption is still on the rise, with 61% of consumers following influencer recommendations.
  • Responsible influencer marketing is possible, especially with Kolsquare.

Influencer marketing is a form of marketing in which brands work with individuals who have a large following online and can therefore influence the purchasing decisions of their audience. In short, influencer marketing is a form of product placement introduced by cinemaonly cheaper, more direct, and more efficient. Because, unlike indirect advertising on the big screens, influencer marketing allows brands to address their target audiences directly and way more distinctively and, thus, also meet a highly engaged and receptive audience.

"Run, don't walk to get it" or "TikTok made me buy it"

These two phrases “Run, don’t walk to get it” and “TikTok made me buy it” are phrases that influencers often use to start their videos in order to attract viewers and potential customers. Such emphasis implies that the purchase is necessary and encourages people to buy more.

However, where does influencer-driven consumption lead? Especially on TikTok, trends have gone viral quickly in recent years, influencing many users more than ever. The Google Year Search list published at the end of 2022, whose data is based on search quests from 2022, illustrated the trend. Influencer Marketing Hub, the leading resource for micro-influencers, agencies, and platforms, also confirms that 61% of consumers follow influencer recommendations.

Graphic by Statista

Are Beauty Influencers Now Creating Awareness for the General Consumption of the Industry?

Users like Elise Maria (@eliseeatsplants), who with her 5,000 followers can be considered a nano-influencer, criticizes that influencers “either get paid for recommending products or just get them for free.” The bottom line is that she now doubts the authenticity of the recommendations, which only boost the consumption of products, completely ignoring the consequences for normal consumers and the idea of sustainability.

@eliseeatsplants considering that the rare beauty blushes each last a lifetime, you may not need 6 of them #deinfluencing #makeup ♬ original sound - elise maria

Micro-influencer Laini Ozark explains in a video that there would be no more trends because everything in the fashion world is now trendy. Fueled by the immersive world of social media, we would be more attracted to the new and shiny today than ever before, according to the online magazine “Fashion is Psychology.” The fast-fashion industry responded to the change in demand, so that in 2023 they no longer release new collections seasonally but switch to weekly, with some retailers even reacting daily to so-called micro trends. .

A trend usually invented by luxury brands and pushed by early adopters is reaching the masses way quicker through influencers, peaking and then oversaturating and declining exponentially earlier. Instead of a cycle of three to five years, the lifespan of trends is drastically shortened and they come and go much faster today. Given the general trend toward higher-faster-further, this development is not surprising. Nevertheless, criticism does not just come  from “within the ranks,” as Elise or Laini note.

What is De-Influence?

“Influence” is used as a common concept today, but in its immediate meaning, it describes the ability to influence or shape the decisions, opinions, or actions of others. Putting the word in the context of marketing, it refers to the influence that individuals or organizations can have on consumer behavior and purchasing decisions. From word-of-mouth, to traditional advertising on posters, on TV, in the movies, to social media, today  influence occurs through different actors across multiple  channels.

The opposite of influence, which is described as de-influence online, yet, seems to be the new increasingly popular concept that aims to reduce or counteract the influence of others. It involves negating the impact of persuasive messages or efforts aimed at influencing one’s own behavior or decisions.

Creators and (nano-)influencers like Elise Maria seek to reduce the influence of other KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders) and expose their product reviews and recommendations for what they are – advertising. Consequently, they also talk about their experiences and opinions about different products, but instead of recommending the purchase of these products, they help their followers to avoid buying unnecessary or duplicate products.

Influence with Responsibility: Forecasts for Influencer Marketing in 2023

How can this dynamic of influence and de-influence be understood by companies looking to develop effective marketing strategies and engage with their target audience? The exponential growth of the industry, the increasing number of influencers and the high sums that influencers can now earn are leading to more and more distrust.

It’s important for brands to understand that influencers have great responsibility and can use their reach and influence in an ethical and transparent way. Be sure to properly represent sponsored content, avoid misleading claims, and be as honest as possible when it comes to the nature of your brand’s relationship with influencers.

What seems naïve at first glance can be an opportunity for brands. At Kolsquare, we encourage responsible collaboration between brands and influencers by providing a platform through which brands can engage with KOLs. In addition, Kolsquare is committed to actively shaping the industry and supporting organizations that positively impact the world, both financially and through concrete initiatives. That’s why we also decided to become a benefit company and use our resources, that is, our technology, our voice and our Tribe, to inspire and implement solutions to social environmental problems using KOL marketing.

What Is the Future of Influencer Marketing?

Fortunately , we can shape the future of influencer marketing together. The trends in 2023 are to move away from self-optimization and excessive positivity to a relationship-based and authentic approach. In addition, the focus on sustainability and reducing consumption remains and intensifies. Accordingly, influencers should also start positioning themselves in an environmentally friendly and conscious way.

Other micro-trends, such as the emergence of niche communities and subcultures, are also likely to play a role in the future of influencer marketing. As a result, we recommend brands be strategic and targeted, looking to truly connect with their target audience and adapt to changes to stay relevant and effective.

About Kolsquare

Kolsquare is Europe’s leading Influencer Marketing platform, a data-driven solution that allows brands to scale their KOL Marketing strategies and implement authentic partnerships with KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders). Kolsquare’s technology enables marketing professionals to easily identify the best Content Creators profiles by filtering their content and audience, and to build and manage their campaigns from A to Z, including measuring results and benchmarking performance against competitors. Kolsquare has built the largest community of influencer marketing experts in the world, and offers hundreds of customers (Coca-Cola, Netflix, Sony Music, Publicis, Sézane, Sephora, El Corte Inglés, Lacoste, …) the latest Big Data, AI and Machine Learning technologies to drive inspiring partnerships, tapping into an exhaustive network covering 100% of  KOLs with more than 5,000 followers in 180 countries on Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. As a Benefit Company, Kolsquare has been pioneering Responsible Influence by championing transparency, ethical practices, and meaningful collaborations to inspire change.

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