Why BeReal may be the most compelling social media platform for brands

This somewhat-new social media app has gained popularity fast and what all marketers ask themselves with each and every new platform is: should I be on it (sigh)? 

Here I’m going to break down what BeReal is, the basic way it works, and why brands should definitely be leveraging this platform, even if they don’t post to it themselves. 

What is BeReal?

BeReal is a photo sharing social media app that has been hilariously parodied on Saturday Night Live. At first glance, it offers an intimate way to share photos with friends and family, somewhat reminiscent of Snapchat. 

Users share a photo a day with only those they have connected with on the platform. 

Once a day the app simultaneously sends an alert to all its users: “It’s time to be real.” The user is told they have two minutes to BeReal. They open the app and click the button to share what’s currently happening in their day. 

The app then takes a photo using the front and back cameras, almost simultaneously. That photo is then uploaded and shared with those who the user is connected with. They can add a simple caption to the photo and the photo will disappear the next time it’s time to “be real.”  (The time of day that the app sends the notification changes – sometimes it’s in the morning, sometimes it’s in the afternoon or at night – the idea is that you never know when it will happen and this will give you a unique look into people’s lives at various times of day.) 

If a person posts a late BeReal, it tells everyone that you posted late, seemingly to add a bit of shame to doing so – you weren’t being real, you were being cultivated. 

Let’s talk some basics … who can see your BeReal?

The app almost immediately tries to connect with your phone’s contacts app so that it can tell you who else you know is on BeReal. Then you can send friend requests. It’s very similar to other social media apps where you can send “friend” or “connection” requests. 

Once you’re connected, each time you post, it’ll be shown in the feeds of those who you’re connected with. If the people you’re connected to have already posted their BeReals but you have not, the screen will appear blurry. 

Screenshot of a BeReal "My Friends" Feed with a post by LucileHunt that is just blurry and the words "Post to view. To view your friends' BeReal, share yours with them." and a button link "Post a late BeReal."

If you have posted and your friends haven’t yet, then your friends will be able to see that you’ve posted (in fact, they’ll probably receive a notification that you’ve posted) but they won’t be able to see your photo until they post. 

There is also a less used, explore-type feed called “Discovery” where people can choose to have their BeReals “discovered” by others. (This feed reminds me of TikTok’s For You Page, without a useful algorithm.)

You end up seeing random people’s BeReals without any context to why those people would matter to you, and due to the somewhat mundane, monotonous routine of most of our daily lives, it isn’t a super interesting feed to peruse without knowing the people who’s photos you’re looking at. 

Screenshot of the BeReal Discovery feed with a circle around "discovery" at the top to draw attention to it. The images are all too blurry to see and the app has imposed text asking the viewer to post a BeReal in order to see the Discovery BeReals of others.


If someone screenshots or screen records your BeReal, you’ll get notified they have done so. That being said, it does not prevent anyone from taking a screenshot of your photo (so never pretend you have privacy on BeReal). 

Why should brands be on BeReal?

There are a number of reasons a brand should be on BeReal …

It is more closed than other social media apps

Social media apps are either closed – you have to connect with individuals in order to see their content like Instagram, SnapChat, Facebook, or they are open – everyone can see everyone else’s content, like Twitter. 

BeReal is closed. Generally, people connected on BeReal are friends or family IRL. That means BeReal is basically the quickest word of mouth marketing platform. It consists of the people you truly know and care about only. If you see your closest friends and family posting about a product or experience, it’s more likely to resonate with you.

It’s in the moment

Top of mind marketing at its finest. BeReal is happening RIGHT NOW. The transitive nature of the platform means new content is being created and served up daily so if your brand is on BeReal, it’s not some outdated product or experience people used to use, it’s the hippest, the coolest … or maybe just the most convenient. Either way, it’s fresh.

It’s not an ad

In fact, it may be the least advertise-y platform you can post on right now. You can’t link to your product or experience. You can either post a photo a day of people using/enjoying your brand or you can run a contest to get people to post about you in their BeReal, which would be my recommendation. 

The more organic content you can get people to post, the better your real world results will be. It’s the difference between you telling people you are great, and other people saying you’re great while you just sit back and enjoy the praise

Let’s dive into that a little – how to use BeReal as a brand

As stated a sentence up, you could post yourself, but you’d have to get individuals to connect with you. Unless you’re a celebrity reading this (and if you are a celebrity reading this, please leave me a comment to help give me a boost hah!), then it’s probably going to be very difficult to get an average person to connect with you just so you can shove your product/experience down their throats on the daily. 

What I’d recommend instead is running a contest or starting an incentive program to get folks to post your brand in their BeReal. 

Screenshot of the Long Drink posting to Instagram a repost of someone's BeReal where they are at a store buying Long Drinks.
The Finnish Long Drink leveraged BeReal reposts on Instagram!

I’ve seen this done already by a couple of brands – Buzzed Coffee in Reno, Nevada and by the Finnish Long Drink beverage company. Both brands ran incentives to get people to post their products in their BeReals and then the brands repurposed the content onto other apps, like Instagram. That’s what I call, getting the most bang for your buck!

Screenshot of a BeReal at Buzzed Coffee in Reno with folks holding coffee cups.
Buzzed Coffee in Reno, Nevada knows how to BeReal

By offering a small discount if the person comes in and shows you their BeReal photo with your product in it, you’ll be incentivizing the most direct and probably quickest way to get ROI on social media right now. Or, ask them to screen shot a week’s worth of posts in order to get a discount or a small free sample. The possibilities are only limited by your imagination, but I do recommend that you find a way to get people to post about you on BeReal, as opposed to only posting about you yourself. 

So that’s my two cents, (or should I say hot take … is that the hip way to say it now?), on BeReal. I hope you enjoyed this post! Let me know if you have  BeReal, if you’ve posted to it, and if you’ve seen products or brands on BeReal yet!

2 Comments Add yours

  1. GDMXchange says:

    This article has really opened my eyes to a new way of viewing the topic. Thank you for taking the time to pen this article and share your insights. It is greatly appreciated!
    BeReal is a photo sharing social media app that allows users to share a photo a day with only those they have connected with on the platform. Once a day, the app sends an alert to all its users and simultaneously takes a photo using the front and back cameras. The app is more closed than other social media apps, making it a quick word of mouth marketing platform. Brands should leverage this platform even if they don’t post to it themselves by running a contest or an incentive program to get people to post about their products in their BeReal photos.
    Patrice Ring


    1. I’m glad you enjoyed it!


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