In a world where more and more of our lives are being documented – and tracked – on social media, it has become difficult for social media users to tell what is real versus fake.
Social media is rife with influencers, sponsorships, brands, and ads. As marketers, this is great for us. But if recent social media trends are any indication, we’re starting to see consumer fatigue with this type of polished social media.
As a society, we can see that people crave authenticity in both traditional and digital media. Where Instagram can feel planned and sanitized to only show the best parts of the user’s life, people turn to a platform like TikTok for content that feels less calculated. But even TikTok, which is known for attracting millions of Gen Zers and Millennials in the last few years, is full of filters, influencers, and sponsored ads.
It’s no surprise that consumers and companies are pivoting from the idea of a highly curated feed and aiming to go back to the basics, where a user posts their daily life as it is: real and unfiltered.
That’s where BeReal comes in. It’s a social platform designed to be . . . well, REAL. BeReal markets itself as the answer to the clean feeds of Instagram and TikTok with a clear message: post your real life.
Each day, BeReal users get a notification to post what they are doing at that moment within two minutes. There are no filters, and the time limit makes it so that the photos themselves are candid and unedited. The app takes a picture with both your front and back camera and you can see what your friends have posted after you post your photo.
This simple app has exploded in the social media sphere. It ranked the fourth most popular social media app behind Instagram, Snapchat, and Pinterest, according to an article on Social Media Today.com. The majority of users are Gen Z-ers and Millennials and according to that same Social Media Today article, BeReal has seen a 315% increase in downloads in 2022 alone.
So, what does this mean for marketers?
BeReal has a specific outlook on ads and influencers: they don’t want them. That being said, there’s nothing stopping brands from joining the app, which some like Chipotle already have. BeReal gives brands a powerful option to connect with their audience in a very real way.
But the bigger lesson for marketers and brands should take notice of is where social media is going. Apps like BeReal don’t become popular randomly. The popularity of BeReal coincides directly with a recent Instagram fad of “planned carelessness,” or to “Make Instagram Casual Again.” This trend is defined by blurry photos of streetlights and quick pictures of last night’s dinner.
This recent trend of being casual, genuine, and carefree on social media, is exactly why using your brand voice to be honest and thoughtful with your content is of the utmost importance. And if BeReal’s popularity is any indicator, authentic content is what users are looking for and that’s worthy of your time and attention.