Let’s be honest, social media has gotten pretty fake and curated strictly for algorithms and likes these days. However, BeReal, with its simplified layout and unique premise, might be the solution many are looking for.
BeReal is quickly gaining traction with Gen Z, but its staying power is unclear. Even though it was founded in 2019, 75% of the app’s downloads have come in 2022, signaling that existing platforms might be growing stale with the younger demographic, or at the very least, that demand for new ideas is high. The concept combines aspects of Snapchat and Instagram, but this platform is unique for a few reasons. First, you may only post once every 24 hours and it must be within a two-minute window upon receiving a notification. Secondly, posts from your friends are locked until you yourself post. This is clearly different from other platforms where you could create an account and post as frequently or infrequently as you please, can use photo filters liberally, and can “like” others’ content. Additionally, where TikTok and Instagram have become increasingly optimized for video content, BeReal is strictly photos.
At Fortress, we like to stay up to date on social media trends as they relate to marketing, and the emergence of BeReal begs the question: is there room for brands and digital marketers to use BeReal, or should they stick to more traditional and proven platforms? A few members of our marketing team answered this question along with their general thoughts on the app:
Tiffany Mullins – Senior Content Strategist
“I feel like it’s a counterproductive way to showcase real lives. When we are having fun and living in the moment, a phone notification telling you to ‘be real’ accomplishes just the opposite. Right now, I don’t see BeReal being useful in marketing. Usually, when brands hop on apps like this, it comes across as forced and ingenuine. I do see potential with influencers using BeReal to boost their personal brands by building a more intimate relationship with their follower base, but for advertisers like us, BeReal does not align with our goals, at least in its current iteration.”
Anthony Sprunk – Content Creator
“I think it can be both genuine and fake depending on the user. It becomes more staged when people wait to post their BeReals late – until they’re doing something “cool” – which is something I’ve seen quite a bit using the app myself. As for marketing, I have seen some funny TikToks and tweets about the app, but I have yet to see brands using it as an online marketing tool. I’m just not sure it’s the right app for marketing content.”
Leo Koenig – Content Writer
“I don’t use BeReal personally, but I tend to think it is not going to last like other social media apps have. I’ve heard some complaints about the BeReal app itself being glitchy or slow, which is fixable, but also may have turned people off from the start, making it hard to win them back over. However, I do think there is potential for certain brands to build a following on BeReal by posting “behind the scenes” content from employees. This will work best for restaurants and smaller businesses where the average employee is relatable to the masses. This may be hard to accomplish, as service workers are often the ones with the least amount of time on their hands to be posting online during their shifts, but it is not impossible. I think we need to give the app a bit more time before we write it off entirely from a marketing standpoint. After all, if we think back to the early days of Instagram, the potential for marketing was quite limited, but that has since changed dramatically.”
The general sentiment from our team is that in its current iteration, BeReal is ultimately not an effective tool for brands, and not accomplishing its goals for general use either. In other words, we don’t think it is not a good sign that we are so increasingly detached from reality that we need an app like BeReal to purportedly provide it for us. However, while our team at Fortress may not see BeReal as the next big thing for digital marketing, we should point out that there are some success stories for how brands have used BeReal for product placement, sales boosts and general brand awareness, and one of these is Chipotle.
Chipotle has always been quick to hop on social media trends and stay on brand while doing it. Maintaining an edgy, entertaining, and fun voice throughout their marketing, Chipotle is never afraid to take risks. So earlier this year, when BeReal began ascending, Chipotle ran an introductory ad campaign where they posted a reusable promo code, awarding the first 100 people to use it with a free entree.
It was a success. They have since built a modest but active follower base, giving them one more outlet for engagement with their target demographic.
Come back to this page for more insights into the ever-evolving digital marketing landscape, and if you have a project you would like to collaborate with the Fortress team on, get in touch today.