If you haven’t heard of BeReal, it’s a social media app that launched in 2020, but really began to gain traction in 2022, now boasting over 10 million daily users, compared to only 10,000 just over a year ago. The app made it to the number one spot on the Apple App Store and is currently featured on the 2022 Top Free Apps Chart, with only 18 other apps gaining inclusion.
The app is beautifully simple with one single feature: all users receive one daily notification concurrently at a random point each day. They are prompted to take a photo of what they are doing at that exact moment within a two-minute timeframe, with the front and back cameras snapping the scene simultaneously to get a view of what’s right in front of them along with a ‘selfie’.
Users cannot view their friends’ photos until they’ve uploaded their own. Unlike other social media platforms that enable mindless scrolling, BeReal requires its users to actually engage with the app before unlocking others’ content.
Recent years have shown a clear demand for honesty and humanisation within social media, which is known for hosting a sea of filtered and photoshopped images. BeReal’s ideology is ‘no filters, no influencers’ and gives users no option for filters or edits on their images, and there is no option to ‘like’ others’ uploads, a prevalent feature in all major social media platforms. Users can, however, react to others’ uploads using custom photo reactions, but these photos cannot be edited and must be taken within the app to ensure this.
BeReal has a strict ‘no ads’ rule, so how can the platform be successfully utilised for marketing purposes?
Chipotle, an American chain of ‘fast casual’ restaurants, was the first brand to create an account with BeReal. The company posted a discount code which would give the first 100 people a free meal. This code was set at a four-day limit, but 100 people had redeemed the code within the first 30 minutes of posting, ending the promotion much earlier than anticipated.
Tressie Lieberman, Vice President of digital marketing for Chipotle said: “We see a massive opportunity to highlight our brand’s transparency in a fun way for our fans on BeReal.”
Clearly, this marketing tactic worked well for Chiptole in this instance, but that’s not to say it will be successful for everyone. Brands who move over to BeReal and expect the same outputs as other social media strategies are likely to be disappointed, but the app provides unique opportunities to connect with consumers in a more personal and authentic way. Like Chipotle, brands could utilise the platform to provide discount codes and limited secret promotions, but the app also lends itself to behind-the-scenes content, which is a great method of humanising a brand to consumers.
TikTok has proven that consumers love seeing a brand in a new, playful light, turning what’s simply a logo and name to many, into something they can properly relate to. Duolingo, a language learning app, took TikTok by storm, posting consistent videos starring its mascot, a large green owl, following all of the latest trends closely to create content that TikTok users wanted to see. Duolingo now has a following of 5.2 million on the platform.
So, in a nutshell, brands looking to bring BeReal into their social media marketing strategy should take the time to consider if the platform is right for them. BeReal users are primarily Gen Z, but Gen Z is often the generation that brands struggle to find the right methods to connect with. There’s also the hurdle of the strict ‘no ads’ rule, so brands will need to get creative when utilising BeReal from a marketing perspective.