In a world where filters are reality, is authenticity finally making a comeback? A new social media app called BeReal has caused a storm in the media and captured the attention of filter-weary younger generations.
Gaining popularity at the beginning of 2022 has caused a BeReal usage increase by 315%. The app has a staggering 2.93 million daily visits and 1.6 million monthly active users, with majority of users being between the ages of 16 and 44.
Nobody expected a new social media platform to challenge the giants of the social media industry, but BeReal did just that. With over 28 million downloads since its launch, it’s clear that its brand of authenticity and simple design have drawn many to the app.
How exactly does this app work? BeReal will send a prompt at a random moment every day, giving users two minutes to use their front and back cameras to take a photo of themselves and their surroundings. The time limit is a feature no other app enforces, reducing the opportunity a user has to edit or fabricate the photo. If a user does not upload a picture within two minutes or retakes the photo, BeReal will notify the user’s followers to keep transparency and authenticity at the forefront. You must post your own photo before you can see other people’s posts.
The app allows comments and follows, but it doesn’t have the ‘like’ feature or anything equivalent to it — you’ll know why later. In exchange for what it leaves out, it does have features that distinguish it from other social media apps, such as ‘RealMoji.’ The feature allows users to react to other people’s posts using their selfie that mimics an emoji reaction. There is a calendar where you can see your previous posts that BeReal calls ‘memories.’ You can decide if you want your account to be discoverable by strangers or if you want to keep it private.
How BeReal Is Different From Other Social Media Platforms
Focus On Authenticity
Most social media platforms are full of pretense and false glamor. Many love to share their ultra-filtered life, turning social media into highlight reels. However, not everyone is happy with this phenomenon, and the dissatisfaction with inauthenticity and falsehood is the driving force behind the creation of BeReal. The app forces its users to show their most authentic selves by not giving users much time to prepare to look perfect before a picture is taken.
Maybe the best part of the app: no filters! Unlike Instagram or Snapchat, dog filters or ones that include floating hearts above your head simply aren’t an option. Again, this unique tactic stems from BeReal’s desire to show real life — not the photoshopped and filtered world typically found on other social media platforms.
No Likes or Shares
BeReal has opted out of this standard feature. That’s right – there is no like button! Research shows that “likes” have an addictive effect on people. Many have commented on the adverse impact of likes on their mental health. They feel amazing when they get a lot of likes but horrible when their posts receive few. Some even delete posts that don’t get enough likes. This is why the app leaves these “competitive” features out. BeReal users can enjoy connecting with their friends without being constantly hounded by the feeling of inadequacy.
One of the biggest differences a user may notice is the lack of ads on BeReal. BeReal doesn’t feature advertisements on its platform. Put simply: The younger generations do not enjoy any form of ads — so much so that they’d install ad blockers more often than not. Other social media are chock full of ads, influencers and promotions. BeReal tries to have none of those. The app even limits advertising and other commercial methods in its terms and conditions. Don’t worry, keep reading – soon you will see ways to grow your presence on BeReal and keep up with the hot trend.
Why Gen Z And Millennials Love BeReal
Gen Z and millennials are tired of social media highlight reels — they crave an unfiltered and honest space. BeReal comes in to fulfill this desire.
Gen Z and millennials find relatability as they see their friends’ life without any filter. The single dedicated feed makes it easy to scroll through and only shows posts from friends — there are no suggested posts from strangers that you don’t know. BeReal’s simplicity is a breath of fresh air compared to Instagram. Instagram’s feed is filled with ads and promoted posts, and sometimes even shows you a complete strangers’ latest post. This is counterintuitive to why most sign up on a social media platform in the first place — to connect with friends and family.
90% of Millennials prioritize brand authenticity, opting for real and organic” over “perfect and packaged,” and authenticity is the core of BeReal. The sudden notification and the short time limit force users to be authentic. You don’t have 30 minutes to prepare your hair and nitpick the angle of your photos. You can’t frame your picture to only show what you like and hide the imperfect parts. Your photos may look dull, silly, or even ugly — and that’s the point. There’s enough false perfection. It’s time to be real. And your brand can take part in this authenticity trend.
How Brands Can Use BeReal
Although it’s not possible to advertise on BeReal, brands can still find ways to grow their presence on BeReal. Here are some strategies brands can leverage to grow their BeReal account and continue to connect with their audience.
Brands can post exclusive contents on BeReal, enticing customers to follow. Customers will have to keep an eye on the app to avoid missing exclusive coupons, information or releases. For instance, Chipotle posted a reusable promo code on BeReal that allowed the first 100 people who used it to receive a free entrée. Now, Chipotle has around 2,000 followers on BeReal. It’s nothing compared to their 1.7 million followers on TikTok, but the company has shown that brands can thrive on the app through exclusive content.
Behind-the-scene photos are a great way to personalize your content. Customers are more open when they feel they’re interacting with something relatable or that has a personality, giving brands the opportunity to showcase this side of their business.
Brands can post BTS shots from creating social media campaigns, interviews or even everyday office life. By showing the people behind the brand, customers can feel a sense of camaraderie and can relate to them more, which ultimately builds a level of trust all brands aspire to obtain. It’s hard to foster a relationship with a company, but it’s easy to feel connected with the people that run that company.
Collaborate With Customers Through UGC
Brands can allow customers to feel a sense of community through User Generated Content (UGC). UGC can keep brands relevant even when there is no marketing campaign.
The younger generations are drawn into communities. Why? Because Gen Z users place greater importance on community and connection, with 70% joining a community to feel a sense of belonging. It is also proven that brands that create a community by fostering relationships with Gen Z consumers stand out more compared to those brands that fail to put in the effort.
BeReal is a new uncharted path with an unknown future. It rises from people’s desire for authenticity in times when artificiality is rampant. Although it may seem like the app is not made for brands with its restriction on ads, you can still join in on this new journey. It’s time to take a new approach.
Instead of the distant relationship between businesses and customers, take a step closer toward a warmer relationship and grow a strong community that rises from authenticity. It’s time to ride the new wave and build your brand on this new social media app!