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    BeReal marketing for brands: Should your business Be Real these days?

    BeReal marketing for brands: Should your business Be Real these days?

    The once-popular Instagram photo dump trend has gotten out of hand. Today, people want to ditch Instagram altogether and move to a new social media p...

    The once-popular Instagram photo dump trend has gotten out of hand. Today, people want to ditch Instagram altogether and move to a new social media platform that lets people take their masks off and be real.

    At VistaCreate, we’re all about the latest trends. Not just with our templates design, but we keep an eye out for social media trends as well. 

    And there’s one trend worth your attention — the rise in popularity of the app called BeReal. 

    If you haven’t heard of BeReal yet — read this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about the app of 2022. 

    If you’re already aware of BeReal, read this article twice as attentively. Past the basics, we’ll cover how brands can market on BeReal and weigh in all the pros and cons of BeReal marketing to decide whether you should do it in the first place.

    What is BeReal?

    BeReal is a photo-sharing social media platform that rejects everything social media platforms are believed to be. 

    Instead of getting people to publish curated, heavily edited content, the app encourages users to share glimpses into their real, unfiltered lives. 

    In a world of apps that support highly curated, filtered, and staged photos, BeReal enthusiastically breaks the norm. It’s been touted as a modern-day Facebook – Gen Z’s favorite new app.

    Right now, BeReal is among the most popular apps. The second most popular free app after TikTok in the US App Store downloads chart, to be precise.

    In September 2022, it surpassed Instagram by the number of downloads, and the number of BeReal’s daily active users is now at an astonishing 10 million. 

    BeReal's daily active users growth graph

    (Source)

    Here’s a demographics breakdown of the app’s user base:

    BeReal demographics breakdown

    (Source)

    How does BeReal work?

    BeReal is, perhaps, the most straightforward photo-sharing app. There’s only a handful of things you can do…

    1. You create an account, choose your username and profile display name, fill out a short bio, and set a singular profile picture.
    2. You add people to friends from your contacts or by username.
    3. Every day, you get a push notification saying that it’s time to take a BeReal.
    4. You have 2 minutes to take a shot of what you’re doing at the moment. The app captures images from both your front and back cameras at the same time. 
    5. You can retake your BeReal up to 10 times (people will be able to see how many tries your shot took).
    6. Then, you can add a caption to your BeReal.

    Once you post a BeReal, you can see your friends’ BeReals, comment on them, and react to them using RealMojis.

    How BeReal works

    Why is BeReal getting popular all of a sudden? 

    Albeit to a popular belief that BeReal is in its infancy stage and only came to life in 2022, it’s existed since late 2019. But don’t worry if you haven’t heard about it before.

    It wasn’t until recently that BeReal got popular. According to TechCrunch, almost 75% of the app’s total downloads (over 53+ million downloads so far) took place this year.

    The app’s simplicity is one of the reasons why it’s so popular — people are sick and tired of polished aesthetics, high-effort social media, and overly persistent advertising that other social media apps are filled with. 

    Another reason — BeReal’s heavy promotion. The app has a TikTok account and markets itself to college students through its “BeReal College Team” — the on-campus brand ambassadors program.

    How can brands use BeReal? [+ 6 examples]

    As we’ve established in the previous section of this article, BeReal doesn’t offer much in terms of functionality. There aren’t any fancy features to spice up your publications, you can’t collaborate with other users to publish sponsored posts, and you can’t really stand out with stellar design; the only assets you have to create publications are your device’s front and back cameras.   

    Already not sure if your brand should give BeReal a try? Hold your horses, it gets worse! 

    According to the platform’s Terms and Conditions, BeReal users aren’t allowed to “use BeReal for advertising or commercial purposes to publish or facilitate the transmission of advertising and commercial solicitations.”

    So, does this mean that BeReal is off limits for brands? 😬

    Not quite. 

    As Mick McConnell, the CEO at Superunion North America, pointed out, BeReal can’t weed out brand presence completely. If it doesn’t invite businesses to the platform, it’ll eventually run out of funds to survive and thrive. 

    So, what’s the solution? 

    If brands want to add BeReal to their social media marketing mix, they need to make sure they are in line with the concept of the platform and aren’t ruining everyone’s experience on the app. 

    They need to be prepared to show their raw, unedited and unfiltered, authentic selves. You need to get creative and use the power of storytelling to stand out from the crowd and attract the attention of the BeReal audience. 

    Then and only then do they get a chance to leverage the benefits of this emerging star social media platform and build a strong community of brand advocates around themselves.

    BeReal needs to embrace advertisers. But it doesn’t need to embrace advertising. Look at the brands getting the most success out of platforms like TikTok. They don’t make promotional ads. Instead, they make fun TikToks that fit seamlessly into the content that real users are making and consuming.

    BeReal needs brands – but just like with its users, it needs brands to be their authentic selves. No filters, no high-end production. Just content that naturally fits into a feed.

    Mick McConnell, CEO, Superunion North America

    That’s what building a brand on BeReal is all about.

    Some brands have already gotten this memo and are showing impressive marketing results on BeReal.

    We’ve compiled a list of 6 brands — big and small — that have established their presence on the new social media app. 

    Let’s take a look at what they’ve been posting so far and find out how brands can use BeReal for marketing. 

    Chipotle

    Thanks to the “For Real” campaign Chipotle launched in the spring of 2022, this Mexican fast-food brand was among BeReal marketing pioneers.

    Chipotle BeReal marketing

    Source: Chipotle’s BeReal account

    With this BeReal, Chipotle created a sense of a close-knit community — only those who had Chipotle as a friend on the new social media platform were offered a yummy deal. 

    But Chipotle’s BeReal marketing didn’t stop there.

    The brand has recently announced that their annual Halloween event, “Boorito”, is finally back. To celebrate it, the brand launched a BeReal contest, “BooReal sweepstakes”.

    For one day only, October 31, customers can show up to a Chipotle restaurant in a Halloween costume and take a BeReal with the hashtag #booritosweepstakes. Publishing the BeReal on Instagram with the #BooritoSweepstakes hashtag and the brand’s tag will give participants a chance to win the “Burritos for A Year Prize”. 

    Kiehl’s 

    Kiehl, too, has tapped into BeReal marketing and created a corporate account on the social media platform.

    The difference between Chipotle and Kiehl’s, however, lies in the fact that the latter uses BeReal to show behind the scenes of the brand. 

    This is evident both through the profile picture the brand chose for their BeReal account — it features Kiehl’s staff and its brand mascot, Mr. Bones — and their daily publications.

    Kiehl's BeReal account
    Kiehl's BeReal marketing
    Kiehl's BeReal marketing
    Kiehl's BeReal marketing
    Kiehl's BeReal marketing

    Source: Kiehl’s BeReal account

    Rare Beauty 

    Selena Gomez’s beauty brand Rare Beauty is among the most popular brand accounts on BeReal. In fact, it’s so popular that despite only being created this summer, the brand has already gone over BeReal’s friends limit, so the platform no longer allows users to send friend requests to Rare Beauty. 

    We assume the reason for this is Rare Beauty’s heavy promotion of their BeReal page — the brand announced the launch of the new social media account on their other social media channels, including TikTok and Instagram.

    Besides, many fans are anticipating the brand’s founder, miss Selena Gomez herself, to make an appearance on the account. 

    Until then, Rare Beauty leans towards sharing more humorous content as its posts are an extension of the brand’s TikTok content that centers around products with googly eyes glued to them.

    @rarebeauty ⚠️ We are working on a RESTOCK! ⚠️ Until then, find us on BeReal: rarebeauties 🤫 #rarebeauty #bronzer #bereal ♬ original sound – Joy

    Nonetheless, the reason for creating a BeReal account was serious…

    The premise of BeReal aligns with our brand ethos; we aim to break down the unrealistic standards of perfection, and we saw this platform as an opportunity to bring this to life while also meeting our community.

    Ashley Murphy, senior director for consumer marketing at Rare Beauty

    In their publications, Rare Beauty tries to establish two-way communication with their audience, and it’s safe to say that Rare Beauty’s BeReal marketing strategy works well. The brand enjoys a stream of positive comments and reactions on its BeReals. 

    Glow Recipe

    Another beauty brand that does BeReal marketing right is Glow Recipe. 

    Just like Rare Beauty, they tend to create more humorous content for the platform. For example, to promote their collab with hair-care brand Ouai, Glow Recipe posted a series of BeReals featuring the brand’s products wearing a tiny cowboy hat and a small wig.

    We were thinking, ‘What can we do that’s fun, different, experimental, and a little weird?’

    Yasmeen Gharnit, Content Director at Glow Recipe

    However, Glow Recipe doesn’t limit its BeReal content to humorous snaps exclusively. They also engage their BeReal community with exclusive checkout codes to receive free samples of their products. 

    @glowrecipe add us for a peek into our lives and exclusive promos 🤫 #GlowRecipe #BeReal #SkincareTikTok #SkincareHumor ♬ original sound – kardashianicon

    To promote their BeReal, Glow Recipe sent out an email campaign that included the brand’s BeReal and an invitation to become friends on the app. 

    In the email, they promised “to bring exclusive offers, authentic Glow Recipe content & more!”

    Glow Recipe email invitation to connect on BeReal

    (Source)

    On top of that, the brand actively repurposes User-Generated Content it gets via BeReal. For example, in one of their email campaigns, Glow Recipe included BeReal-style images of their customers along with their product reviews:

    Glow Recipe BeReal User Generated Content in an email campaign

    (Source)

    Turns out you don’t have to actually be on BeReal to capitalize on the growing popularity of this social media platform. 

    PacSun 

    This is an example of a brand that doesn’t have a BeReal account but still hops on the BeReal trend. 

    PacSun posted a BeReal-style photo on their Twitter to promote their new collection of garments and — once again — emphasize the brand’s carefree, genuine vibe.

    Trident x Sour Patch Kids

    Similarly to PacSun, Trident and Sour Patch Kids announced their collaboration with a BeReal-style photo they published on Twitter. 

    In the picture, the back camera captures a pack of brand-new sweets, while the front camera features a single Sour Patch Kids candy.

    Based on these examples, we can conclude that BeReal is best for:

    • Humanizing your brand
    • Establishing a community around your brand
    • Sharing exclusive promo offers
    • Showing behind the scenes of your brand
    • Getting User-Generated Content

    Here are some ideas of content you can publish on BeReal as a brand:

    • Contest announcements
    • Showing off your team
    • Sharing your day-to-day life in the office
    • Teasing your audience with the products your brand is currently working on

    However, there are little to no ways to grow your BeReal account organically.

    To get more eyes on your new social media account, you need to actively promote it via other channels or get an influencer that already has a following on BeReal to promote your business!

    Should your business create a BeReal account?

    All things considered, BeReal marketing can be tricky. Therefore, you shouldn’t rush into creating an account on this social media platform for your brand just because everyone else is doing it at the moment. 

    To decide whether or not your brand should embrace BeReal marketing, you need to figure out a couple of things first:

    1. Is your target audience on this app? 

    In BeReal’s books, every day is a new story. Since you don’t have the option of saving your publications for new followers to check out, you need to build your community first. This is impossible if your target audience isn’t already there, among BeReal users. 

    Besides, you need to remember the app’s demographics. If you’re targeting older crowds, it might not make sense to focus your social media marketing efforts on BeReal.

    2. Do you already have an audience on other channels?

    Have you already amassed followers, subscribers, or friends on other social media platforms, messengers, or email? 

    Because of the app’s nature, BeReal isn’t a great choice for trying to establish an online presence — you can only grow your BeReal community by advertising your account elsewhere.

    3. Is this social media platform a good fit for your brand? 

    The aforementioned brands have only enjoyed success on BeReal because they matched the platform’s vibe well. 

    Being raw, unapologetic, genuine, and unfiltered was already on brand for them, so joining a platform that preached those values wasn’t a forced move.

    Being on BeReal, which is so centered on authenticity, it would behoove the brand to … think about the audience that they’re trying to reach and if that’s the audience that resonates with their brand. Then, if they have an authentic story to share, lean into that a little bit more and try not to get tempted by the desire to tell a polished story or stay totally on-brand all the time.

    Teresa Day, President of Planoly

    On top of that, you should also consider some of the problems associated with BeReal marketing.

    The platform receives a fair share of criticism 

    Even social media giants like Instagram and Facebook aren’t 100% technologically perfect. Every now and then, something isn’t working as intended, features lag, and apps go down.

    And they’ve been optimizing their processes for years, if not decades. 

    Now, think of a relatively new app that’s only recently gone viral and is currently handling the most traffic it’s ever seen. 

    Now, remember the fact that BeReal’s traffic isn’t distributed more or less evenly throughout the day. 

    All active users open the app at the exact same time, within the 2-minute time frame after the “⚠️Time to BeReal.⚠️” notification makes its way to their screens.

    Yeah, it’s safe to say that BeReal isn’t the smoothest app in existence. Users tolerate this for now, but we can’t be sure if it’ll remain the same in the future, when the novelty of the platform wears off.

    Another thing that can put brands off of using BeReal for marketing is the in-app limitations. Unlike other social media platforms that allow you to get as many followers or friends as you can possibly gather, BeReal caps the number of connections you can make at several thousand friends. 

    This is understandable, granted it’s an app for friends to connect, but it can be an inconvenience to brands looking to establish a wide audience on the platform. 

    In fact, Rare Beauty, has already faced this problem, and posted about it on TikTok:

    Will BeReal react to the request and lift this limitation? We don’t know! You need to be prepared that your BeReal marketing efforts will only have a direct impact on several thousand people max. 

    BeReal might follow in Clubhouse’s footsteps

    Remember Clubhouse? Yes, the once top new social media platform everyone was dying to get an invite to. 

    In early 2021, the world crippled by the coronavirus and the lockdowns that accompanied it was craving any social interaction it could get its hands on. People were starving for human contact, so a social media platform that allowed users to talk to each other in real-time via voice was almost God-sent. 

    Mark Zuckerberg, 21 Savage, Elon Musk, Ashton Kutcher, Wiz Khalifa, and many others were raving about Clubhouse in February 2021. The app’s exclusivity and unusual concept was attracting over 10 million active users every week.

    But where is it now? 

    After peaking in late February 2021 (and then again in May 2021, when Android users got access to the app), Clubhouse’s popularity plummeted.

    Clubhouse usage graph

    (Source)

    While it’s still too early to make these kinds of predictions in regards to BeReal, we can’t help but think of Clubhouse when we look at BeReal’s 29,200% year-over-year uptick in users

    When something becomes so popular so fast, it risks going up in flames. After all, not everyone can handle that kind of hype on every level, including technological (we’ve already discussed the bugginess of the app BeReal users complain about).

    Other apps are rolling out features very similar to BeReal

    And even if BeReal doesn’t repeat Clubhouse’s fate, there’s a high chance that it will be the next Snapchat circa 2017. 

    For a while, Snapchat was the most popular app among Gen Z and late Millennials, as it offered a one-of-a-kind format that no other social media platform had, Snaps. 

    Young Americans and Europeans were obsessed with sharing content that would only be available for 24 hours and disappeared as soon as the time was up. 

    But even more than that, they loved the various AR filters the platform offered. Remember when everyone and their cat (literally) would post pictures with the dog or the flower crown mask on? Ah, the good old days!

    Check out VistaCreate’s collection of Snapchat Moment Filter templates

    But then the inevitable happened — Instagram introduced Instagram Stories, a format that was identical to that of Snapchat’s, and Snapchat’s popularity started declining over the years. 

    This can soon be the case with BeReal, too. 

    As far as the concept of the platform is fresh and unique, it attracts new followers. But as soon as other more popular social media apps with better UX adopt functionality that mimics BeReal’s, the platform’s appeal may quickly disappear. 

    In fact, the process is already set in motion. 

    Just a month ago, TikTok launched a new feature called TikTok Now, which is basically a clone of BeReal, minus the fact that it prompts users to share 10-second videos of their day rather than photos. Like BeReal, TikTok Now sends a random notification telling users it’s “Time to Now” and urges them to capture whatever they’re looking at using the front and back camera. 

    Instagram, too, is currently prototyping a similar functionality that will be named “IG Candids”: “Add other’s IG Candid to your story tray. And everyday at a different time, get a notification to capture and share a Photo in 2 Minutes.”

    And even Snapchat, which has once fallen victim to other social media ripping off its features, rolled out Dual Camera back in August. Even though it’s not a carbon copy of BeReal — you can use Dual Camera anytime, not only when a time-sensitive notification pops up — it’s obvious what the inspiration behind the functionality was:

    Snapchat Dual Camera

    (Source) 

    Final thoughts

    If you’re considering BeReal marketing just for the sake of getting on the hype bandwagon, it’s not worth it. Without a well-developed marketing strategy, a solid vision, and a step-by-step plan, you risk wasting your time on a social media platform that likely won’t generate the ROI you’re hoping for. 

    You should only create a brand account on BeReal if you’re 100% sure your business fits the platform’s concept and core values, and can contribute to it. 

    Otherwise, we recommend sticking to the more conventional social media platforms for marketing. Besides, there’s a high chance they’ll soon offer BeReal-like functionality anyway. 

    To master your social media marketing, check out our articles:

    ➡️ TikTok Marketing for small businesses in 2022
    ➡️ Instagram marketing for small businesses in 2022: The essential guide
    ➡️ Facebook marketing for small businesses in 2022: The ultimate guide
    ➡️ How to grow your business with Twitter
    ➡️ Pinterest for business: A 2022 guide
    ➡️ The ultimate guide to LinkedIn marketing

    Valerie Kakovkina

    Content marketing manager at VistaCreate. Valerie loves all things marketing, with her favourite areas being email marketing and social media. When out of the office, Valerie loves travelling, going to parties, and helping her friends with their art projects (oh to be surrounded by artists).

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