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When Will Brands Find BeReal? And Do We Want Them To?
It’s only a matter of time before brands infiltrate the photo sharing app built specifically for friends.
This week’s newsletter is sponsored by Social Fresh 2022, the social media conference created by social media managers for social media managers. This year’s conference is coming up this June 21-23 in Charlotte, NC. It’s their first in person conference in years, but you can also attend virtually!
Past speaker Nathan Allebach, a.k.a. “the Steam-umm Twitter Guy” said, “Social Fresh was the first marketing conference I attended that felt less about celebrity speakers and flashy production, and more about relevant experts who are actually doing the work.”
Use code LINKINBIO to get a 20% discount when you register by June 15th.
Social Fresh 2022 speaker lineup, includes:
Azad Yakatally, Attentive
Bari Rosenstein, Auntie Anne’s
Jeff Meltz, Square
Session topics include building community, Twitter content tactics, simplifying your content process, how to get the most out of TikTok, influencer marketing trends, what's working on Instagram, and how brands can develop and scale short form video skills.
When a new social media app starts to gain popularity, my first question is usually How will brands use it? BeReal is a new photo sharing app where every day at a different time everyone is notified simultaneously to capture and share a photo in two minutes. It’s an app that feels decidedly not brand-friendly. It’s marketed as an unfiltered, non-addictive app that actively encourages its users to be “real” and post candid, unpolished photos for their friends to see. The idea is that you’re active for those few minutes on the app, but then you go back to spending your day off screen. It reminds me a bit of Wordle, technology that’s built to be used every day but only for an intentionally short amount of time.
As we know by now, most social media apps are built to be addictive so that you spend more time on them which ultimately makes them more money. (I love it here!!!!) BeReal, as of now, has no advertising or incentive to get brands on board. Plus, due to the random nature of the app, you can’t really plan content since you don’t know when you’ll get the notification to post. But that hasn’t stopped some brands (well, really one brand) from getting creative on the app.
Chipotle, as of now, uses the app to send out promo codes to their most loyal fans on the app—the 100 codes are usually redeemed in one minute. In an interview with Campaign, Tressie Lieberman, Vice President of Digital Marketing and Off-Premise for Chipotle, said, “We love the synergy between BeReal’s goal of having users share their genuine selves and the real ingredients in Chipotle’s food. Our ultimate goal is to authentically show up on the platform, supercharge our superfans, and add value to the user experience.” It makes sense that a brand like Chipotle, known for their humorous and lo-fi approach to social, would jump at the chance to engage their most loyal fans while also leaning into the spontaneous nature of the app. The person managing their BeReal account even sent the code out from a Charli XCX concert.
While Chipotle is the only brand, to my knowledge, using the app I don’t think we’re far off from more brands experimenting on with BeReal. I could see Washington Post creating a franchise of the one story you should read today, or NUGGS creating some sort of cursed storyline with their new TikTok personality, or Glossier doing a “You Look Good” series of people out in the world wearing Glossier. There’s no shortage of how brands could get involved. But my big question is—do people even want brands on the app in the first place?
I asked my most BeReal active friend Aliza Abarbanel (also author of very good newsletter Amateur Hours!) what she thought of brands on the app. “I’ve been on BeReal since April 17th and I can confidently say I will never follow a brand or influencer on the app. TikTok is for watching strangers. Instagram is overrun with brands and people promoting their personal brands (including myself),” she says. “But BeReal is where I essentially shitpost from my day and watch my friends do the same. I like that I actually know and like everyone on the app and I’m wholly disinterested in watching brands try to post ‘authentic’ content. There’s no such thing as brands being real.”
I think it’s easy for a lot of social media professionals to feel a need or pressure to get their brand on every new platform. But you’ve also got to ask yourself, specifically with BeReal, Would I want to be marketed to on an app that I use to connect, in an unfiltered way, with my friends? I’m personally still undecided on this! But right now, I’m leaning towards no. And if the only way a brand is successfully using the app is by giving out free meals, what does that really say? To me, it’s more reflective of people’s love of free shit versus the app being a good place for brands. Either way, I think as BeReal gets more press and grows its user base, we will undoubtedly see more companies attempt to show up. My advice? Wait it out and maybe grab your brand’s username—even Chipotle had to settle on “chipotleforreal”.