November 30, 2022
Now More Than Ever, BeReal on Social
What’s Going On?
It’s no secret that the social media landscape has experienced a massive shift in recent years. Gone are the days of the perfectly curated, filtered (and sometimes FaceTune’d) feeds that reigned supreme just five years ago. Users have seemingly abandoned the goal of embodying the aspirational in favor of publishing the raw, unfiltered and – you guessed it – authentic versions of their lives.
This trend is impacting everyone – what started as a movement among casual social media users generated a ripple effect, affecting influencers and now brands. As social media giants come to terms with the negative effects of platform use on users, users themselves have rewarded public figures and brands who present an authentic voice and persona with social currency – engagement.
This shows in the behavior of net-native Gen Z users – building an authentic brand translates to higher engagement. In 2022, 45% of Gen Z consumers say they are more motivated to engage with a new brand if they appear trustworthy and transparent.
The hunger for more authenticity on social is clearly shown with the growth of the app BeReal, which gives friends two minutes to post their real moments at a random time each day. The benefit of using this app? No ads, just vibes. Users are showing they want to spend their time in brand-free digital spaces where they can get back to connecting with friends on the internet. The sentiment clearly resonates, as the social app skyrocketed from 921,000 users in July 2021 to 73.5 million users in August 2022.
From Joe Biden’s photo dump to Kim Kardashian and North West’s TikTok account to Duolingo’s meteoric rise to TikTok fame, personal and corporate brands are incorporating less-filtered engagements and content to build rapport with their fanbases. It’s clear that users no longer want the polished, edited “ideal” – selling a brand on social starts with being relatable.
Why Does It Matter?
The fact of the matter is your audience is less likely to engage with content they feel is too polished or incorporates language that derives from your brand. Users do not want to be sold to – they want to be nurtured, entertained and resonate with a brand’s values and voice.
To keep up with user preferences, brands need to evolve their organic and paid social strategies to convey this sense of authenticity and build high-quality relationships with their audiences.
How Do Brands Win?
- Curate a Consistent Brand Voice
Your voice is what brings your brand’s personality to life and serves as a key differentiator for authentic brands in a sea of family, friends and other brands. A well-defined voice humanizes your brand as it shapes your tone, content and engagements. This emulates the human-to-human interaction users crave, making users more likely to trust what you have to say because it feels sincere and organic.
- Incorporate User-Generated Content (UGC) Into Your Content Mix
While brand-forward content is an important component of your content mix, you do not have to rely on your content alone. Assume users will always trust another person’s content before brand content. Incorporating less-polished User-Generated Content (UGC) into your content mix shows your brand “in the wild” – it signals to users that your brand is loved and trusted by other real people.
- Leverage Influencers
Aligning your brand with the appropriate influencers can be a valuable tool to meet users where they are. When brands partner with creators who complement their voice and social strategy, it signals to the creator’s following that the brand shares interests and values with them.
Humanity sits at the heart of curating authenticity in the digital space. People trust other people, and brands should take these steps to ensure they are, at their core, relating to users as peers – your social strategy depends on it.