The BeReal mobile app, presented by media as “anti-Instagram”, is a new French social network that has enjoyed immense success in recent months by promoting “authentic moments”. How can this phenomenon be explained? How should brands react? Can they use it as a marketing tool or a future Social Commerce solution?
The BeReal social network presents itself as an alternative, even an “antidote” to existing social networks. On this platform, there are no influencers guiding trends, no filters for touching up photos, and no likes for boosting content. Just settings for commenting or reacting via an emoji. And this app is not even promoted by any advertising: word-of-mouth alone incites users (particularly young people) to download it.
The BeReal concept is based on a simple promise: to discover who your friends really are in their daily life. Without any frills or staging. For this, the app asks its users to publish photos of themselves once a day that have not been filtered, programmed or edited. Here, there’s no question of presenting yourself at your best, or taking care to choose an attractive setting: you have to be “authentic”. This platform wants to put a stop to social media’s obsession with perfectionism.
Similar in appearance to Snapchat, BeReal sends invitations to post a photo at random times of the day, with users being able to use either of their smartphone’s cameras (front or back). The important thing is that they only have 2 minutes to do so. If ever you post outside this short (almost live) time frame to give yourself time to choose a better background or (even worse) edit the photo, your followers are informed of this “lack of authenticity”. They are also informed if you take several shots during the two minutes…
To encourage you to participate in this random game, you can only access your friends’ photos if you yourself post. If you want to view their publications, you must take time to post a photo when you receive the invitation to do so. Otherwise, the content is locked. Images can be reserved for your friends and followers, or published on the app’s “discover” page to help you increase your aura and gain new followers.
It might be thought that this anti-Instagram app, with all its restrictions and an operating method so far removed from traditional social media, would be bound to fail. But not at all. It has grown hugely since its launch in 2020, progressing from 10,000 active daily users in January 2021 to 400,000 in July 2021. The app passed the 10 million active daily users mark in August 2022. 15-30 year olds currently make up the majority of users.
Price of success: Instagram has already started “stealing” the concept and is currently testing an identical function to the one proposed by BeReal! It is a form of recognition: it’s quite a compliment when the giants get worried about your success.
In theory, the presence of brands or advertisements goes against the BeReal philosophy. However, some companies are creating accounts to try and take advantage of this new space and develop techniques for using it as a marketing tool. For example, several restaurant brands post live photos of dishes as they are being prepared when they are invited to post. That way, they can showcase their spontaneity and transparency concerning the ingredients used.
In the show business sector, TV channel accounts also publish live behind-the-scene photos during filming. This helps them create a privileged connection with fans and promote forthcoming films or series.
After all, it is a particularly effective marketing technique among the younger generation, and it has already shown its worth in other circumstances: humanising work teams in their daily lives, focusing on honesty for content, all that with a generous helping of humour and self-derision. Not to mention that, ultimately, BeReal will reach a point when it will have to develop sources of revenue to continue its development, and the addition of sales functions would appear to be the next logical step.
In theory, it might also be possible for some of BeReal’s key accounts to become sorts of “influencers”, such as on Instagram, by monetising the two minutes they have to broadcast their brand content. But that means preparing photos before posting them. That is completely against the platform’s principles. Not to mention users’ possible hostility to such a practice.
So, for the time being, posting photos that capture instant moments, showing what goes on behind the scenes at work meetings, daily life at the office or in the kitchen, or order preparations at warehouses, appears to be the best way to increase your brand audience on this very fashionable platform. Its unique operating mode will allow you to convey a more relaxed and accessible image of your company, show it in a different light and increase loyalty among GenZ consumers.
The BeReal platform is all about a sense of community and authenticity. Having said that, if we had one recommendation to give brands about to get involved, it would be that they should be as “honest” as possible. That means developing a creative marketing strategy in line with this platform’s values, focusing on your work teams and the development of a genuine relationship with your followers.
And if promising opportunities were to arise in the future for setting up social commerce solution sales channels on the app, your Lengow marketplaces’ feed manager will naturally be there to accompany you on this adventure.
Please contact us if you have questions about how we can help you with your social media strategy.
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