Social networking app BeReal has skyrocketed in popularity among Gen Z-ers, but should we be moving towards a more off-the-cuff approach to communication?
Authenticity is a crucial trait in order for brands and organisations to effectively communicate and resonate with their target audiences.
In an industry occasionally misunderstood as ‘spin’, being truly authentic is vital. As PR professionals, our goal is always to present the brands we work with in the best light possible.
Nonetheless, if we take the time to put ourselves in the shoes of consumers, there is true power in showing a bit more authenticity and humanity.
The Instagrammable moment
The social media giant that is Instagram has built its brand and algorithms around us always putting our best foot forward, sharing our proudest milestones and achievements in those ‘Instagrammable’ moments.
Before being shared with the masses, photos on the platform have often undergone a rigorous screening process, where only the images with the best lighting and framing make the grade. From there, many go a step further by adding a caption, a filter and some minor adjustments. Others may choose to photoshop and doctor the photo completely.
It’s time to BeReal
A new social networking app that is turning this approach on its head is ‘BeReal.’
A social networking app for Gen Zs, BeReal is a filter-free and off-the-cuff approach to social media. The app works by delivering random notifications throughout a given day, prompting users to share random snapshots of their daily lives – regardless of the mundanity of the moment.
The app, which has grown by a massive 315% in the last year alone, brings something new and fresh to the social media mix, promoting honesty and consistency among friends by encouraging less curation and no polish or editing. Users are given two minutes to snap a photo, with a late penalty applying to anyone who fails to post. Users can only view their friends’ posts once they’ve added their own.
In recent weeks, Instagram has been slated for not listening to its users and adapting a reels and video-first approach to what was once supposed to be a purely photo-sharing app.
BeReal takes it one step further than the instantaneous nature of TikTok and the strong curation of the Instagram ‘photo dump’. The app promotes true authenticity and expression – a refreshing reprieve and a gentle reminder of how social networks like Instagram used to operate in their early days.
How can brands BeReal too?
Just as brands like Ryanair and Duolingo have fully embraced the TikTok model and made hay with the video app, there is a real opportunity for organisations to get ahead of the curve on BeReal – but only for those who truly immerse themselves and understand the platform.
BeReal as a social network platform has no ads and is made up of micro-communities of friends, which makes it difficult for brands to get involved. Fast food chain Chipotle set the standard recently with a brilliant brand activation that took full advantage of the platform’s limited time and disappearing content by presenting an exclusive offer for fans.
While such an off-the-cuff and unpolished approach as BeReal may not suit every brand, the up-and-coming platform does serve to illustrate the value that Gen Z and audiences in general place on authenticity. Good PR should always be engaging, relevant, and above all real.
Will BeReal continue to gain in popularity, joining the social media elites such as Twitter and Meta’s Facebook and Instagram? Or will it follow the same trajectory as fallen platforms such as Vine and MySpace? Only time will tell, but for now, we’re having fun sharing our daily updates.
Want to know how to create an engaging social media strategy that will engage your audience and boost brand awareness? Get in touch with the Cullen Communications team and let’s talk.
About the author
Matthew Walsh is Client Executive with Cullen Communications, specialising in media relations, social media communication and influencer marketing.