The inception of a new social media platform always broaches the question for marketers and advertisers: How can my brand get on this? In the case of BeReal, your brand should not, and here’s why:
- BeReal is boring
- BeReal was founded on FOMO, not a desire to connect
- Choosing to opt out of joining every platform is an indicator of social media literacy
1. BeReal is boring
BeReal is meant to be a “more authentic” peek behind the curtain of people’s lives; removing filters and the ability to stage a photo beyond a few seconds of shuffling. It does succeed in being authentic, but this doesn’t mean it makes for particularly interesting or provocative content, nor does it make people stick around - TechCrunch reports that only around 9% of Android users open the app daily.
In his piece titled “BeReal Isn’t Real and Makes Everyone Look Extremely Boring”, Vice reporter Jason Koebler says, “If Instagram has the problem of making people’s lives look artificially glamorous, BeReal has the problem of making people’s lives look extremely (EXTREMELY) boring”. Kelsey Weekman of Buzzfeed News went on to say “[BeReal] is cosplaying as the solution to wasting time online, but the alternative it offers is also wasting time online with less interesting content”. As it turns out, when you take away people’s ability to curate what others see of their lives, most of their day is just… daily life. Brands shouldn’t want to become just more white noise in a barrage of monotonous, un-scintillating content - social media is an opportunity to remind consumers why they should choose you, and boring them won’t achieve that.
2. BeReal was founded on FOMO, not a desire to connect
BeReal gets away with being so boring because it is not about the actual content. I didn’t download BeReal for the aesthetics or the daily notification or the thrill of the two minute posting window; I didn’t even download BeReal because I was convinced my friends were doing anything particularly interesting in their day to day. I downloaded BeReal because everyone else did and I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t missing anything.
This same phenomenon is what makes marketers feel like they should join an app that makes no sense for brands to be involved in. It’s tempting to want to put your brand on the platform because other brands are doing it but brands shouldn’t intentionally interject themselves into a conversation that makes them seem less interesting. Authenticity does not have to be achieved with less polished content or by hopping on the newest social platform - brands are not people.
3. Choosing to opt out of joining every platform is an indicator of social media literacy
BeReal was developed as the antithesis of standard social media. Some of the real authenticity behind the app comes from the fact that there isn’t an opportunity for monetization on the platform - people are posting truly just for themselves and their friends. Brands interjecting themselves into that conversation are showing that they don’t care about the intentions behind the platform, just that their brand is involved. In October 2022, Chipotle included a BeReal component to their long-running Boorito sweepstakes: Consumers who posted their BeReal in a Chipotle location in costume and with the #booritosweepstakes hashtag were entered to win one of “Ten Free Burritos for a Year” prizes. While the brand is typically very social savvy, this activation demonstrated a lack of understanding, or a disregard, for how BeReal is meant to operate: encouraging posting outside of the time window and using hashtags within the platform.
Understanding that not every new app is meant for a brand demonstrates a kind of social media literacy that goes far beyond what could be achieved by jumping on a new platform. Just because a brand can join a platform doesn’t mean they have to or, more importantly, should.
In summation: BeReal is not for everyone and BeReal is really not for brands
Your brand doesn’t belong on BeReal because BeReal is about unplanned, boring, authenticity designed to make people feel more in the loop with their close friends. Deciding how and where your brand should show up is already a challenging conversation - don’t make it more complicated by trying to put your brand somewhere it doesn’t naturally belong. As more and more social platforms continue to pop up, it will become impossible for brands to participate in, and sustain, conversations on all these channels, so choose where you use your energy wisely.