For a brief moment, the concept of “deinfluencing” emerged as a potential shift in our consumer culture. However, this notion quickly transformed into a clever marketing ploy as influencers adopted the hashtag #deinfluencing to share negative reviews of products they believed were overpriced or unworthy. While it may have seemed like a transformative moment, it’s clear that we are still firmly entrenched in the age of capitalism.
TikTok, one of the most popular social media platforms, has only intensified the allure of consumerism with the introduction of TikTok Shop. This feature allows users to purchase products directly from videos without ever leaving the app. Suddenly, TikTok feeds are inundated with videos featuring clickable shopping cart tags, tempting users to make impulse purchases. The platform has always been a breeding ground for product endorsements, with influencers casually mentioning brands within their content. However, TikTok Shop has made it even easier for influencers to sell items and for users to buy them.
The Growing Influence Of Influencers
Despite occasional claims that the influencer economy is on the decline, such predictions have consistently been proven wrong. In fact, the industry continues to grow exponentially. Goldman Sachs predicts that the number of content creators will increase at a compound rate of 10 to 20 percent over the next five years. The market itself is expected to reach a staggering $21 billion in 2023, up from $16.4 billion in 2022. Advertisers are redirecting their budgets from traditional media to influencers due to the trust young consumers place in these social media figures.
The concept of “influencing” has expanded far beyond its original borders. It now encompasses a wide range of topics, including fashion, beauty, travel, food, fitness, politics, literature, music, art, corporate life, dating, and mental health. Influencers have proven to be effective salespeople in virtually any niche. This constant stream of content aimed at influencing consumer behavior has transformed the internet into an incessant marketplace.
Michael Serazio, a journalist and communications professor at Boston College, argues in his book The Authenticity Industries: Keeping It “Real” in Media, Culture, and Politics that amateurs, or regular people on social media, have become some of the most effective salespeople. Serazio points out that the majority of content consumed on social media is created amateurs who are perceived as trustworthy individuals acting out of passion rather than financial motivation. This perception of authenticity makes them valuable assets for marketers and corporations.
While tech platforms may have initially positioned themselves as democratic spaces, offering an alternative to traditional media, the presence of highly successful influencers challenges this image. These influencers garner significant attention and are often viewed as regular people engaging in their hobbies rather than pursuing financial gain. Marketers, however, are well aware of the power of influencers and eagerly capitalize on their influence to promote products and services. (The Growing Influence Of Influencers)
As the lines between content creators, influencers, and regular social media users blur, the influence of social media marketing will only continue to grow. With the constant bombardment of product endorsements and the ease of online shopping, our online experiences have become increasingly focused on consumption. While “deinfluencing” may have sparked a brief moment of reflection, it’s clear that influencers and their ability to sway consumer behavior are here to stay.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What is “deinfluencing”?
Deinfluencing is a term that emerged briefly, suggesting a shift away from influencer culture. It initially implied a pushback against materialism and excessive consumerism encouraging people to not buy unnecessary products. However, this concept quickly evolved into influencers posting negative reviews of products they deemed unworthy while still promoting alternative products to purchase.
Why has TikTok intensified consumerism?
TikTok Shop, a feature introduced TikTok, allows users to purchase products directly from the app. This in-app shopping experience has made consumption even more accessible and tempting for users. With shopping cart tags appearing next to descriptions in videos, TikTok has created a seamless pathway for users to make impulsive purchases without leaving the app.
Is the influencer economy declining?
Contrary to occasional claims, the influencer economy is actually thriving and projected to grow further. The number of content creators is anticipated to increase at a compound rate of 10 to 20 percent over the next five years. The market itself is expected to reach $21 billion in 2023, indicating sustained growth and advertisers’ shifting investment from traditional media to influencers.
Why do advertisers favor influencers over traditional media?
Advertisers are redirecting their budgets towards influencers because young consumers tend to trust influencers more than brands and traditional media outlets. Influencers are perceived as relatable and authentic, making their endorsements more influential and effective at driving consumer behavior.
What role do amateurs play in social media marketing?
Amateurs, or regular people on social media, have become highly effective salespeople. Their perceived authenticity and passion make them trustworthy figures in the eyes of audiences. Marketers recognize the value of these individuals and utilize their influence to promote products and services successfully.