Be(for)Real

            Throughout this class, the Essentials of Social Media Marketing textbook has given each student further insight into how each social media platform functions and how it can influence certain marketing strategies. With the textbook highlighting these main eight platforms that are being used among the population, I began to wonder if there were any other apps that the authors forgot to mention. During this past year, I was recently introduced to a new platform that has gained popularity among my generation. This app is called BeReal and hit the #1 spot on Apple’s App Store in the US in July 2022 according to https://www.businessofapps.com/data/bereal-statistics/. BeReal is a social media app that encourages users to “be real” with the photos they take. This means the app doesn’t have any filters, edits, or likes. Instead, BeReal focuses on genuine, raw, and unedited content. This app’s goal is to “show who your real friends are” and to foster genuine online interactions. With authenticity as its driving force, BeReal appeals a great deal to Gen Z. After seeing BeReal take off, I was curious to explore how this app functions and the different ways that marketers could use this new platform to advertise their products.

The Start of BeReal

BeReal was created by Alexis Barrayet and Kevin Perreau and launched in France in 2020. This app had minimal global traction up until early this year when BeReal started a paid ambassador campaign to increase exposure on college campuses. This initiative increased app downloads significantly among Gen Z and college students. According to https://influencermarketinghub.com/bereal-strategies/, ReReal has been downloaded 7.67 million times and has over 2.9 million daily active users as of April 2022. Although this company is based in Paris, the app’s largest demographic is in the US, followed by the UK and then France. According to https://www.statista.com/statistics/1341126/bereal-us-unique-users-by-age-and-gender/, BeReal’s biggest demographic group in the US is women aged between 18 and 24 years. They accounted for two-thirds of the app’s unique visitors.

How it Works

            After joining BeReal, you’ll be asked to turn on notifications, enable the front and rear cameras, and pick a username. At a random moment every day, the app will send a notification when it’s time to “be real.” Users will then have two minutes to use their front and back cameras to take two pictures of what they’re doing and their surroundings. Users can still post after the 2-minute time limit has passed; however, the app will show that your photo was posted late. If users retake their photos, the app will also showcase how many retakes the post had. Users can share their photos with their “Only Friends” where they are able to see their photos alongside all their friend’s images taken at the same time. Users can also choose to put their photos on the “Discover” page where their photos will be shown in the public stream alongside photos from others. Users only get to see the photos of others if they’ve posted their own photos. Users can also add captions to their posts or choose to leave them blank. Friends can interact with each other’s post by commenting or reacting to the photo using an emoji. 

“Social media is not just a spoke on the wheel of marketing. It’s becoming the way entire bicycles are built”

Ryan Lilly

BeReal and Marketing

With the increasing number of users, companies must be savvy when attempting to use BeReal as another marketing outlet. Due to how BeReal is set up, this app does not feature ads, sponsorships, or use influencers for marketing. With BeReal prohibiting direct marketing, this app presents a unique obstacle for some marketers. One example of a business that was able to get creative with its advertising was Chipotle. This fast-food chain offered a free meal to the first 100 customers who used the coupon posted on their BeReal account. This was effective because Chipotle was able to reach a large number of potential customers while also offering an incentive to users. The photo that they posted was casual and transparent, which is native to the content on this platform. 

Although Chipotle was successful in its efforts, this does not mean that all brands will be able to make it work. Marketers should first evaluate how their brand looks and feels when it is raw or unfiltered. If your brand, product, or service relies heavily on touch-ups or flashy visuals, BeReal may not be a natural fit. However, if your brand has a “low key” style, there are a few creative ways to incorporate BeReal into a marketing campaign.

Offer an incentive: Consumers love coupons and freebies. These incentives can help encourage users to further interact with a brand and create relationships. Similar to Chipotle, businesses could offer exclusive coupons for free or discounted products that are otherwise not offered on its other social media platforms. Other rewards such as gift cards, merchandise, or even a sweepstake could be offered to users who incorporate a specific company in their BeReals.

Post-behind-the-scenes shots: When a company personifies its brand, it enables customers to see it as more than just a business. Posting behind-the-scenes pictures from meetings, events, special projects, or everyday office life may help customers see the company in a different light while also encouraging community and customer loyalty. Building an online community for consumers is an essential element of Gen Z’s social experience. BeReal can inspire marketers to demonstrate this sense of community by posting unedited and transparent content that gives users a closer look into the business that is not provided on other platforms. For instance, a fashion label could upload photos of its models wearing their clothes with no makeup or other alterations. When working with influencers, brands could also encourage them to post a BeReal of their collaboration efforts and showcase the less-than-glamourous part of their work. Whatever the content, marketers could utilize BeReal to advocate the true reality of their business without the pressure of receiving likes or shares.

“Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make, but about the stories you tell.”

Seth Godin

Conclusion:

Overall, BeReal seems to be the new social network that many Gen z and college students are raving about. For now, the future of this app is still relatively unknown. It may be another fad that soon dies down in popularity or it could continue to gain admiration among users. Whatever the case is, marketers should take advantage of this new platform and find different ways to generate more customers through the app.

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