BeReal offers users the ability to be truly authentic. Unlike Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok, where most people share the curated highlights of their life, this unfiltered photo-sharing app asks users to share real-life moments while they’re happening. The idea is to reveal a more genuine side of your life on social media to friends. It’s simple, one photo of what you’re looking at and one photo of your face makes one BeReal post. Although BeReal became available for download in late 2019, it’s just beginning to gain traction now, in 2022. At the start of 2022, the app had 2 million daily active users and by September of the same year, daily active users grew to 10 million.
How do you use BeReal? Once a day BeReal will send a notification at a random time to everyone in your timezone letting you know it's time to “BeReal”. You then have a two-minute time frame to post a picture (with an optional caption) taken with your back and front cameras simultaneously. The purpose of this is to capture your unfiltered life, and ‘be real’ with your friends and followers. No filters, no planned curated shots, just real-life moments shared. You only get to post once a day, and if you don’t post, your friend's posts will be hidden from you until you share. If you don’t post within your two-minute window, you can still post and it will be marked as ‘x-hr late’. Then you’ll be able to view your friends’ BeReal posts from that day.
After the initial setup, and you’ve added friends from your contacts, you’ll be asked to share today’s BeReal. You’ll get two minutes to post, and you’ll be able to have as many attempts as you like. If you have more than ten friends, in true BeReal social media fashion, your friends will know how many times the photo was retaken. Friends can react to your BeReal post with "RealMoji"'s, where a live photo is taken to accompany one of the selected emojis. Friends can also comment on your BeReal posts encouraging community engagement. In addition to connecting with your existing contact list to see which of your friends has BeReal, you will be able to search for user names. In-app suggestions are also available to show more people with who you have "mutual friends".
There are two tabs on BeReal when you're on the main screen: "My Friends" and "Discovery". In the Discovery tab, you can view strangers’ BeReals and share your post with the public. In order to make your post public and land on the discovery section, when you take your photo for the day select “Discovery” before pressing “send”.
Unlike other social media, BeReal isn’t a place to amass followers, views, or likes. You are not able to see how many followers other people have. In this way, the app tries to promote a more healthy relationship with being on social media. Another unique element of the app is that you can only post once a day. This limits users' interaction with the app and promotes a healthier relationship with your screen time. Ideally, you are out living your life and not scrolling on BeReal. Lastly, unlike the vortex that is TikTok, Instagram, and literally every other social media, there isn’t the black hole of mindlessly scrolling through friends' past posts. All posts and comments reset when the next BeReal notification goes out. Even though your BeReal disappears once you post your new one, if you tap on your profile picture, it'll bring you to a page that has "Your Memories" and you can see all your past BeReals. These are only visible to you.
Updated on June 30th, 2023: As of June 27, 2023, TikTok is discontinuing 'TikTok Now', their answer to BeReal.
Since the popularity of BeReal has spiked, other social platforms are trying to recreate their own version of the app. TikTok released 'TikTok Now' which is the app’s take on the same concept. TikTok Now will send out a daily prompt to you and your friends to capture a front and back camera image to share. There is a difference, with TikTok Now, you're also able to take a 10-second video, which BeReal doesn't currently offer.
Instagram is also releasing its own version of BeReal called “Dual” which allows you to make content with your front and back cameras. This dual camera feature will allow users to create reels, pictures, stories, and videos with both phone cameras simultaneously. There have also been rumors that Instagram is working on a new feature called “IG Candid” which will work the same as BeReal but shared on your stories.
Although you won’t see Ads on BeReal, and it's not designed for brand discovery, brands are already utilizing the app to connect with audiences and engage with followers in a genuine way. Building that authenticity in connecting with customers. Because the app is ‘unfiltered’, it’s a great way for social media managers to share authentic ‘day in the life’ or behind-the-scenes content, and to engage users on a more personal level. BeReal allows brands to foster a sincere connection with their audience by sharing unique content that wouldn’t typically be shared on any other social platform.
Although Ad space doesn't exist on BeReal at the moment, it is not to say it will remind this way. Savvy brands are gaining market share now and will figure out monetization later. Some creative ways brands are using BeReal in their marketing strategy:
Chipotle has used the app to post free entree promo codes. This tactic helped boost traffic, downloads, and adoption of their ordering app and was so successful that they ran out within the first 30 minutes. Be prepared if your brand is going to go this route, make sure to set a limit! Another brand finding success with sharing discount codes on BeReal is E.L.F Cosmetics. The brand, along with Chipotle, has built up the hype of being their BeReal friend so much that either are able to process new friend requests.
Brands like Saie have used the app to leak behind-the-scenes photos of a new product before it's launched. Its raw, unfiltered, limited-time post format is perfect for this type of strategy. E.L.F. Cosmetics has also leaned into the strategy of the 'insider look' letting followers get sneak peeks of otherwise unseen parts of the company.
The lo-fi nature of the app is perfect for brands of any industry to post day-in-the-life, behind-the-scenes images. These raw, authentic portraits of a brand can often be more relatable to people than the over-processed, perfect images we see everywhere else. Think of your daily meetings, cute office spaces, your boring desk, product storage, or inventory space.
Other content ideas for social media managers to leverage BeReal include
Yes, BeReal will notify your friends when you take a screenshot of their posts. This includes posts from the Discovery section. In order to see who has taken a screenshot of your BeReal, you have to share your BeReal with someone via another social network (Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, email, etc.)
There is no set time when the app will request you to share a post. It changes every day and is completely random, but everyone gets the BeReal notification at the same time (depending on your time zone).
The BeReal app is as safe as any social media. Users should keep in mind that they are sharing images and information that others will see. As a default, the location feature is turned on. If sharing your location details is a concern when posting online, you’ll have to turn off that feature before posting.