Ah, social media. A picture-perfect curated space with aesthetically pleasing content and filters for any occasion (was the sky REALLY that blue?). Influencers are posting stylist-worthy OOTDs and their daily morning routines (including a 10-step skincare routine, Pilates workout, and nutritious breakfast all before 9 am) and are at the latest brand launches and parties, living what seems to be a dream-worthy life. Content on social media can seem too good to be true – and Gen Z isn’t buying it.

According to Mintel, Gen Z wants realistic, authentic and attainable representation on social media and will increasingly expect brands to destigmatize flaws and work to undo unrealistic beauty standards. Enter BeReal. BeReal is the latest social media sensation for Gen Z, a platform that describes itself as “a new and unique way to discover who your friends really are in their daily life.” The mobile app does not have any filters or editing tools, forcing the user to share an authentic snap of their day within a fixed amount of time at any given moment. Once a day, BeReal sends all users a notification at a different time each day, letting them know “it’s time to BeReal.” Users have two minutes to capture two photos: one using the front camera and another using the rear camera on their phones. If a user does not post their BeReal within these two minutes, posts are marked as “late.” Their post is then shared with their friends on the app – who can also tell if a photo is reshot or posted late. Pro tip, BeReal only allows one post to be deleted per day.

A user will only be able to see BeReal posts from other users they are friends with (via friend request) or if the BeReal is shared publicly (meaning brands must accept consumer’s friend requests in order to see content). Given these restrictions, it seems like BeReal could be a difficult space for brands to break into as it’s unlike any other social media platform. While there is a “Discover” tab for public BeReal posts, hashtags are not used and content on this tab is not searchable, making it difficult for brands to find relevant user-generated content. There are brands on the platform, but BeReal currently does not have any in-app purchases or display advertisements. While the platform is still very new and poses some logistical challenges for brands (what happens if a social media manager misses their two-minute debut?! Is there no content strategy?), there are some creative ways brands have tapped into the platform to reach Gen Z in unique ways. From leaking sneak peeks for new products to behind-the-scenes content or sharing exclusive discount codes, BeReal allows brands to connect with loyal fans in a way like never before through this exclusive “friend-based” community

e.l.f. Cosmetics
e.l.f was one of the first beauty brands to join BeReal, and upon launching the brand on the platform, e.l.f. offered its first 150 friends an exclusive code to receive a free travel kit with products from its Holy Hydration skincare collection. Through the app, they have also teased new products and offered a glimpse into their office life.

Biossance celebrated International Squalane Day on 10/14 with various events/offerings across the countries where their products are sold. The brand also celebrated the holiday on Be Real by tapping people, primarily employees, to pass around the Biossance BeReal account for the 20 days leading up to 10/14 as part of their “Biossance Besties.” Posts have focused on how Besties use the brand’s products and make the most out of squalane.

Always a standout brand on social media, Chipotle joined BeReal back in April and uses the platform to share exclusive and reusable promo codes – including a promo code for a free entrée (which was gone in about 30 minutes the first day). For the first time, Chipotle took to BeReal for its annual “Boorito” promotion with a sweepstakes. To enter, users posted a photo on BeReal of themselves in costume at a Chipotle restaurant on October 31 along with the #booritosweepstakes hashtag, or shared their BeReal to their Instagram Stories, tagging @Chipotle and adding #booritosweepstakes.

Starface, a brand known for its adorable acne patches and acne-related products, used BeReal to launch its limited-edition Hello Kitty collection. The brand used a word puzzle on social media that allowed fans to “solve” for a password which then gave them access to shop the collection early. The answer to the puzzle was revealed on BeReal to the brand’s friends, allowing for these users to get a first look.

So will BeReal continue to be the hottest social media platform, or will it quickly fade without the support of advertisers? Only time will tell, but in the meantime, be sure to have your phone volume on loud so you don’t miss your chance to share your favorite workplace lunch, dinner with friends, or any of your other favorite real moments.