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How brands can authentically leverage BeReal

By Charlie Smith, Junior Strategist

August 4, 2022 | 5 min read

You might have seen a new platform at the top of the social media charts called BeReal. With its quick rise to fame, there are many questions that brands must answer before they consider joining the platform. Here’s what you need to know.

people looking at their phones

BeReal prioritizes authenticity before ads, which could pose a challenge for brands / Credit: Adobe Stock

BeReal’s mission is to be the antidote to traditional social media. No influencers, no filters, no likes and – most importantly – no ads. It promises “a new and unique way to discover who your friends really are in their daily life.” Since the beginning of the year, BeReal has seen a 315% leap in downloads, and as of April the platform had over 2.9 million active daily users, per Social Media Today data. So, what exactly has drawn so many people to it?

How it works

The BeReal app is simple. It sends a daily notification at a random time, to “BeReal.” You are then prompted to take a simultaneous snapshot from both your front and back-facing cameras, showing what you are doing and what your reaction is. It allows only two minutes to respond, and you can’t see anyone else’s BeReal until you have posted your own.

The random timing of the notification and the fact you can only do it once a day adds a game-like quality to the app. You can either share your images with friends and followers, or post on to the “discover” page to help increase your reach and gain new followers.

How brands can get involved

Having brands and adverts on the platform goes completely against BeReal’s ethos, and currently there are no pay-to-play advertising options.

That doesn’t mean there won’t be any in the future, however. Chipotle was the first brand to create an account and post a discount code giving the first 100 people who used it a free meal. As its vice-president for digital marketing said: “We see a massive opportunity to highlight our brand’s transparency in fun ways for our fans on BeReal.”

The fast-casual Mexican chain has taken BeReal’s values to heart by ensuring the content they put out isn’t glossy, and prioritizing the lo-fi nature of the platform instead. The brand identifies with promoting raw, authentic content by being transparent about its ingredients and the way it operates. This tactic is particularly effective with gen Z consumers as they demand humanization, humor and honesty from brands.

When approaching a new platform, it’s best to see what users are doing first, and experiment with how you can best fit in.

What it means for other platforms

Chipotle has managed to make BeReal a success because it makes content that feels native to the platform. This doesn’t mean that every brand should be rushing to open a BeReal account yet. Instead, we think there are three key lessons that we can take from BeReal and apply to the platforms you’re already on:

1. Put your audience first

Your brand doesn’t have to be on every platform – instead, you should pick your channels based on where your audience spends their time.

2. Would I engage with that? Be honest

So many brands create content that just sits on their channels with little or no engagement because it doesn’t appeal to their audience and the way they interact with them on social. Before you join a platform, make sure that your creative strategy doesn’t revolve around broadcasting, and instead is geared toward harnessing genuine relationships with your followers.

3. ‘Be real’ when it comes to creator partnerships

Some brands are particularly weak at building genuine partnerships with the creators they work with. Choose creators that genuinely fit your brand. Don’t just chase followers and prioritize long-term exclusive partnerships over one-off ads. One of the reasons Chipotle has been so successful when tapping into BeReal is because it adds value.

With its rise to fame showing no signs of stopping anytime soon, it might be time to get real with BeReal.

Charlie Smith is junior strategist at social media agency Coolr.

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