Social Media Trends Today: Is BeReal the Next Big Thing for Influencer Marketing?

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There’s another new kid on the block—or in the App Store, we should say. As of October 2022, BeReal is second only to Peacock TV as the most-downloaded free application in the United States. What does that mean for social media trends today?

Yep. It looks like it’s probably time to get familiar with another social media platform. 

While some brands are reluctant to spend too much energy on a platform without proven staying power, others have already planted their flags as early adopters. Let’s break it all down so you can determine if a BeReal strategy is right for you.

What is BeReal?

BeReal is a French photo-sharing social media app developed by Alexis Barreyat and Kevin Perreau. Although it’s been around since 2020, the app didn’t gain global traction until mid-2022. 

BeReal sends users a simultaneous daily notification prompting them to upload a photo within a two-minute window using its unique front- and dual-facing camera feature. The app’s tight posting deadline encourages authentic content since users don’t have enough time to stage the perfect shot like they might on other platforms. BeReal also does not allow filters or photo editing, and there are no official advertisements (yet) or follower counts. 

Bar graph of "BeReal App Downloads Worldwide, Jan-Sep 2022"

Image via eMarketer

BeReal App Downloads Worldwide, Jan-Sep 2022 

millions

Jan: 0.8 million

Feb: 1.1 million

Mar: 1.4 million

Apr: 3.5 million

May: 3.5 million

Jun: 4.2 million

Jul: 7.7 million

Aug: 12.3 million

Sep: 14.7 million

Note: includes Apple App Store and Google Play; excludes third-party Android Stores

Source: Sensor Tower as cited in company blog, Oct 7, 2022

How does the BeReal app work?

Luckily, most of BeReal’s charm is in its simplicity, making it pretty easy to get the hang of. Its founders intentionally limited the platform’s features to promote authenticity over aesthetics and provide a “real” look at what people are really up to in their daily lives. 

Here’s a look to get set up:

  1. Create an account. The app will ask you to pick a username, profile display name, short bio, and profile picture.
  2. Add some friends. You can choose who to follow from your contacts or search by username. 
  3. Time to BeReal. Every day at a different time, all BeReal users get a notification saying, “It’s time to BeReal.”
  4. The clock starts. You have two minutes to capture a BeReal with your front and back cameras after you get the notification. You can post your BeReal late, but the app will notify your friends that you didn’t make it in the intended window. 
  5. Need another take? You can retake your BeReal up to 10 times, but your followers will know how many tries it took to get the shot you wanted. 
  6. Add a caption. Get a conversation started with a little extra context. 
  7. No lurking allowed! You won’t be able to see what your friends are up to until you post a photo yourself. 

Additional BeReal features

While the list is short, BeReal does have a few features that help create a more unique experience, including:

  • Challenges – Sometimes, the BeReal notification comes with a “challenge” to help inspire posts. 
  • Discovery – Make your BeReals public and find out what other users in your area (or around the world) are up to. 
  • Map – Check out where your friends are posting their BeReals. 
  • Memories – BeReal archives all your posts so you can revisit them anytime. 

Can brands advertise on BeReal?

BeReal considers paid ads intrusive and does not allow them on its platform. The app’s steadfast commitment to “real” content is admirable but does cause some concern for the platform’s longevity—especially as Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat roll out copycat features. 

To stay competitive with its wealthier counterparts, BeReal is reportedly considering some premium features and subscriptions to generate revenue. It also hasn’t completely ruled out offering paid ads in the future. However, many marketers are understandably reluctant to invest in a strategy for a platform that isn’t currently profitable. 

That said, BeReal’s time commitment is small. And the genuine content and interactions the platform inspires have already allowed some household names to showcase their brand in a whole new light.  

a hand holding a smart phone with BeReal on it symbolizing social media trends today

6 creative ways brands can leverage BeReal

Promote authenticity.

As a brand, you always want to put your best foot forward. But we all know that life can’t be glamorous all the time. So why not just come right out and say it? Or better yet, show it. 

BeReal is a great opportunity to humanize your brand. No staged photographs. No endless takes. Just a raw look at who you are and how your company operates.  

Be a little boring.

Social media makes some people look like all they do is win, leading others to feel like their lives are inadequate by comparison. But BeReal is a refreshing reminder that even the most adventurous among us still have bedhead and lazy afternoons. 

If they aren’t already, encourage your creators to share these moments with their audience on BeReal. Doing so will help fans see a different side of their favorite personalities and make them feel even more relatable when they post their usual content on other platforms. 

Reach a younger audience.

Gen Zers and millennials are the overwhelming majority on BeReal, with only a fraction of its users over 45. While older generations stick to Instagram and Facebook (for now), BeReal is an interesting option for brands to reach younger audiences on a platform that still feels like it belongs to them.

Image via eMarketer

BeReal iOS App Users in Select Countries, by Demographic, July 2022 

% of total in each group

Australia

Gender

  • Female: 98.70%
  • Male: 1.30%

Age

  • 16-25: 90.70%
  • 26-44: 2.10%
  • 45+: 7.30%
Brazil

Gender

  • Female: 98.20%
  • Male: 1.80%

Age

  • 16-25: 97.60%
  • 26-44: 2.40%
  • 45+: 0.10%
France

Gender

  • Female: 69.80%
  • Male: 30.30%

Age

  • 16-25: 82.50%
  • 26-44: 16.40%
  • 45+: 1.20%
Germany

Gender

  • Female: 93.90%
  • Male: 6.10%

Age

  • 16-25: 44.80%
  • 26-44: 49.30%
  • 45+: 5.90%
UK

Gender

  • Female: 99.40%
  • Male: 0.60%

Age

  • 16-25: 72.60%
  • 26-44: 23.60%
  • 45+: 3.80%
US

Gender

  • Female: 58.00%
  • Male: 42.00%

Age

  • 16-25: 43.30%
  • 26-44: 55.10%
  • 45+: 1.90%

Note: iPhone only; numbers may not add up to 100% due to rounding.

Source: Data.ai, Aug 2022

Show what’s happening behind the scenes. 

Some brands leverage BeReal as a window to what life is inside their company. This can be a great way to share your brand story in a unique and authentic way and put a face to the people making the gears turn behind the scenes every day. 

Share unique discount codes. 

Consider sharing unique discount codes people can only get if they follow you on BeReal. This gives your audience a feeling of exclusivity and makes them feel a stronger connection to your brand. Plus, leveraging trackable discount codes on the app provides a much better idea of how helpful the platform can be to your influencer marketing goals and help you determine whether or not it’s worth investing more time into.   

Tease upcoming product releases.

Some brands are already using BeReal to tease upcoming product launches. Posting “cryptic” images on the app with intentionally little context can be an effective way to pique consumers’ interest and cause them to seek more information on your website or other social channels. And if you want to take it a step further, consider offering some type of giveaway for your upcoming release to pull even more eyes onto your BeReal content. 

Get your creators involved. 

Send your influencer roster a BeReal challenge. 

Have some fun with the app and make up your own BeReal challenges you can send to your creators. With a little effort, the content will make for a fun mini-photo library you can repurpose on your other platforms.  

Give your events a special cameo.

Try to get your creators involved in your BeReal content at your next event. Your audience will love catching a glimpse of the guest appearance and hopefully head to your or your creators’ other platforms to get more coverage from the event. 

Let them take over your account. 

Kick the cameo strategy up a notch and give your creator access to your BeReal account. That way, you don’t even have to be in the same place at the same time, and you can be certain the influencer is the center of attention when the notification arrives. It should go without saying, but just be sure to pick a creator you trust before giving this strategy a go. 

Promote mental health. 

Influencers are known for creating stunning content on social media, but on BeReal they don’t have to. Let your creators know they don’t have to be “on,” and encourage them to show their fans that life doesn’t always have to be picture-perfect all the time. 

Brands already taking advantage of BeReal’s growing popularity

Chipotle 

Chipotle is always quick to take on the latest social media trend, so it’s not surprising they are also one of the first brands to leverage BeReal. From promo codes to behind-the-scenes shots, Chipotle has already proved its audience is willing to get on board with the brand’s presence on the app. 

The restaurant also incorporated BeReal into its 22nd “Boorito” promotion. Chipotle recently announced that anyone who takes a photo of themselves at one of its restaurants during the two-minute BeReal window on Halloween with the caption #boorito sweepstakes would be entered into a drawing to win free burritos for a year. 

Trident Gum

Trident Gum told the world they’re using the app by posting a BeReal screenshot on Twitter announcing the upcoming release of its Sour Patch-flavored gum. The move proved a solid one-two punch to get fans giddy about an exciting new product launch while driving more followers to its BeReal page to find out what the brand is up to next. 

PacSun

PacSun took a similar approach as Trident when it posted a candid “blooper” of four models wearing clothes from the brand’s casualwear collection during a photoshoot. Through its BeReal presence, PacSun offers fans a peek behind the curtain of the brand’s marketing department that audiences would be hard pressed to find anywhere else.

Key takeaway on social media trends today: Is the BeReal app ‘for real’ or just a flash in the pan?

While it remains to be seen whether or not BeReal is here to stay, one thing is for sure: Audiences are willing to give your brand a shot on the app if you agree to play by the rules. By keeping your content authentic and in the spirit of the app, you can reach a young audience and become a part of the conversation while the platform is still one of the hottest tickets in the App Store.

Frequently Asked Questions

BeReal is a French photo-sharing social media app developed by Alexis Barreyat and Kevin Perreau. Each day, the app sends a notification to all its users simultaneously, prompting them to share a photo of what they are doing within a two-minute window. Once you post your BeReal, you can see what your friends were up to when they got the notification. 

Marketers are already using BeReal for an unfiltered look at what’s happening at their company behind the scenes. Because the app is all about authenticity, audiences can appreciate when a brand is willing to be vulnerable and post “anti-glamour” shots. 

Marketers have also used BeReal to:

  • Tease upcoming product launches.
  • Share unique discount codes.
  • Reach a young audience. 
  • Hold contests and giveaways.

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Written by Quinn Schwartz

Quinn studied journalism at the University of Kentucky and now lives in Washington, DC. He’s particularly interested in storytelling in digital marketing and cost-effective creator strategies for smaller brands. When he’s not writing, you can find him at a concert, dog park, or debating whether or not to go on a run.