Over 3,700 new applications are added to the App Store each day. And though only a few of these apps are geared toward social media, they are all vying for the top spot. So, when BeReal topped Apple’s App Store in the US, marketers took note and became interested in learning how to leverage the app for their marketing campaigns.
BeReal is one of the fastest-growing social media apps today. Data analysis showed that with a staggering 7.67 million users, the app has increased by over 315% since the start of 2022. Most of its market comes from the US and France regions.
BeReal is a social media app that, as the name implies, encourages its users to be real. That means the app doesn't have any filters, edits, or likes. Instead, BeReal focuses on genuine, raw, and unedited content. Its goal is to “show who your real friends are” and to foster genuine online interactions. With authenticity as its driving force, BeReal appeals a great deal to Gen Z.
But is it even possible for social media to be real? When you constantly see ads and sponsored posts, as well as videos and pictures of influencers' lavish vacations, you get jaded with “authenticity” real fast. However, there’s a new wave of social media platforms like BeReal that aim to give users genuine digital interactions.
Creative BeReal Promotion Strategies for Marketers:
BeReal, An Overview
BeReal, launched in France in 2020, was created by Alexis Barrayet and Kevin Perreau. The app's premise is to be an antithesis to mainstream social media. As such, it advertises itself as the simplest photo-sharing application. It encourages users to snap and share unedited photos. The app has no edit or filter options. It doesn't amass “likes” or followers. Moreover, BeReal has no influencers and no ads.
The app had minimal global traction up until early this year. BeReal started a paid ambassador campaign to increase exposure on college campuses after receiving $30 million in capital funding last year. The initiative increased the app downloads significantly, particularly among Gen Z and college students.
To date, BeReal has been downloaded 7.67 million times. As of April 2022, the app had over 2.9 million daily active users. And even though the company is based in Paris, the app's largest demographic is in the US, followed by the UK and then France.
BeReal, The Simplest Photo Sharing App
When you join BeReal, you'll be asked to turn on notifications, enable the front and rear cameras, and pick a username. The app sends a notification when it’s time to "BeReal" at a random moment every day. You have two minutes to use your front and back cameras to take pictures of what you're doing and your surroundings.
You can share your photos with your “Only Friends.” If you choose "Only Friends," you'll see your photos alongside all of your friends' images taken at the same time. You can also put them on the “Discover” page. If you choose the "Discovery" page, your snaps will be shown in the public stream alongside photos from other users. You only get to see the photos of others if you've posted your own.
You can change your captions or post your photos after the 2-minute time limit has passed, but the app will show that your photo was posted late or that your caption was altered for more user transparency.
Brands and BeReal: Is There a Room for Marketing?
BeReal doesn't feature ads in line with its mission of eschewing filters, edits, and influencer culture. Brands typically turn to sponsorship or influencer marketing in lieu of paid social ads, but such alternatives are currently unavailable on the app too. In fact, the app's terms and conditions restrict using the app for advertising or commercial purposes.
With ad restrictions, BeReal presents a unique obstacle for marketers. How can you get a foothold on an app that explicitly prohibits direct marketing?
You get savvy with it, like Chipotle. The fast-casual Mexican chain offered a free meal to the first 100 customers who used the coupon code posted on their BeReal account. The brand recognized an enormous potential to highlight transparency in a creative way. With the app's ethos in mind, Chipotle made sure that its content isn't flashy, instead accentuating the app's lo-fi nature.
5 Savvy Ways to Use BeReal in Marketing
Chipotle has used BeReal in marketing effectively by creating content that is native to the platform. This does not mean that all brands will be able to make it work. Marketers should first evaluate how their brand looks and feels when it is raw or unfiltered. If your brand, product, or service relies heavily on touch-ups or flashy visuals, BeReal may not be a natural fit.
However, if your brand has a "low key" style, below are five creative ways to incorporate BeReal into your marketing campaigns.
1. Post behind-the-scenes shots
For brands that fit right with BeReal's native platform, behind-the-scenes content is a great marketing idea. Personifying your brand enables customers to see it as more than just a business. Posting behind-the-scenes pictures from meetings, events, or everyday office life may help consumers see the company in a different light while also fostering camaraderie and customer loyalty.
People love to see what's happening “behind the camera.” The younger audiences increasingly call for humor and honesty from brands. About 82% of Gen Z buyers are more likely to trust a brand if it uses images of real customers in its ads. Marketers can use BeReal to give customers exclusive BTS content that makes unedited and raw shots look cool and on-trend.
2. Build a community for Gen Z consumers
For their social initiative, a lot of brands today prioritize community building. Online community is an essential element of Gen Z's social experience. Around 65% of Gen Z consumers are more confident while using community-focused social media platforms such as Twitch and Discord than when using timeline-driven apps such as Instagram and Twitter. As a community-driven app, BeReal enables marketers to create an online community without compromising young people's mental health that conventional social sites often have.
When creating an online community, marketers need to place their consumers at the core of their strategy and put them at the forefront of all they do on the platform. For instance, rather than offering digital products, you can provide in-person goods or events that demonstrate the value of authentic experiences that exist outside the digital world.
In today's marketing landscape, empowering this digitally savvy group and transforming them into brand warriors is fundamental.
3. Take on mental health and champion reality
As more young people struggle with mental health issues, brands can do more to help. BeReal can be a great platform for brands that want to demonstrate integrity, advocate truth, and foster a culture that values mental health.
For instance, a fashion label may upload photos of models wearing their clothes with no make-up or other alterations. Or influencers working with brands to show the less-than-glamorous part of their work. Whatever the content, marketers may use BeReal to advocate the true reality in which the number of likes or shares don't determine approval or overall satisfaction.
4. Be relatable and aware of the pulse of the people
A major shift in the social media landscape happened during the COVID pandemic and subsequent lockdowns. It indicated a broad consensus that perfectly staged and meticulously curated posts were no longer effective methods of engagement. People are losing interest in the products and services promoted by influencers. Other platforms' flashy, idealistic images appear tone deaf in the face of public adversity, illustrating the growing gap in relatability.
Marketers can use BeReal to reach out to their customer base while being as authentic as possible. Being relatable becomes easier when companies and customers are on the same footing. In this case, a platform that solely allows photos unfiltered or unedited.
5. Entice others with user-generated content (UGC)
BeReal's unfiltered, unedited content allows customers to engage with brands via UGC. This direct engagement indicates the strength of an effective social strategy in which their community is not only engaged, but also accessible to other consumers. Brands must collaborate with their customers to make unique content that says a lot more about the business than a one-way conversation with a client ever could.
UGC can help a brand keep a steady buzz long after a campaign has ended. It also provides a broad pool of resources that extends far beyond the brand's in-house marketing team. But, to effectively leverage UGC on BeReal, you must listen to your audience and ensure that everyone has a sense of shared value and community.
BeReal’s Gen Z Appeal
BeReal is gaining popularity among younger audiences, and for good reasons. Posting images at random times is like playing a game. You get a notification once each day and you get to mentally tick off a box after you have posted. It's a fun event to look forward to, and there's an element of instant gratification since your friends will share their photos within the same two-minute window. It enables people to connect on a single shared interest at the same time.
As a marketer, you must also be mindful of Gen Z's social media preferences so that you can tailor your BeReal marketing strategy to their inclinations.
Gen Z prefers authenticity to online brand advertising
Unlike millennials, who can be persuaded to buy a product or obtain a service due to brand loyalty or heavy promotional campaigns, the Gen Z population prefers genuine interactions. For the latter demographic, social media is like a second language. Social networking sites have replaced conventional ways of keeping up with friends. As a result, Gen Z is adept at discerning when a brand is trying too hard, being phony, or just doesn't get the pulse of the people.
Gen Z enjoys exploring new niches and new platforms
Gen Z tends to be more niche, creative, and money-savvy. Because they don't have their optimum purchasing power yet, they're astute enough to find products they want and afford. They do this by experimenting with new apps and platforms, the majority of which are new or lesser known.
The Future of BeReal
Thousands of apps are launched on different app stores every day. And the bulk of these applications don't generate enough buzz to get on people's radar. BeReal has surmounted that barrier with their concept of authenticity. However, can it sustain its unfiltered, no-ads philosophy? Only time can tell.
Authenticity on social media isn't a new concept. In fact, it has become a phrase that brands and influencers throw around a lot in terms of marketing. Increasingly social media influencers are posting raw and unfiltered content in support of topics like body positivity and mental health awareness.
BeReal is a progression of the growing popularity of raw or unedited content. Its concept isn’t new, but its effective execution is a breath of fresh air in an otherwise populated and heavily curated world of Instagram, TikTok, and the likes.
BeReal has been gaining traction, and marketers need to find ways to promote brands in a way that correlates with the app’s concept. With ad promotion and influencer marketing still unavailable in the app, brands can’t cut off their marketing strategies with other social media sites yet. Instead, they can use BeReal to generate a more organized buzz around their products or services.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is BeReal?
BeReal is a social media app launched in 2020. It describes itself as the simplest photo-sharing app.
How does BeReal work?
After joining BeReal, you will receive one notification a day at a random time. When you get notified, you’ll have a two-minute window to share a photo of yourself and your surroundings using the front and rear cameras of your phone. You can’t edit or add filters to your photos. However, you can edit its caption.
Can marketers use BeReal for brand or product promotion?
While BeReal prohibits paid or sponsored ads on its platform, marketers can employ other creative ways to use BeReal for their marketing campaigns.
Can any brand or industry leverage BeReal for marketing?
Chipotle successfully used BeReal for a marketing stunt. But not all companies or industries can do so. Before using BeReal for a marketing plan, marketers need to evaluate if the app’s premise aligns with the brand organically.
Who is the target audience of BeReal?
The app is for everyone above 13 years old. But stats show that BeReal is gaining traction with Gen Z.