This year has seen a maelstrom of negative news around social media. From headlines about the platforms not doing enough to protect children, to the myriad news articles around Twitter’s takeover, social media hasn’t felt a particularly safe or positive place to be.
But, as we approach a new year, there are a couple of apps that are breaking the mould, and offering a different, more positive, way to experience social media…
Consumers are starting to turn their backs on carefully curated feeds and instead there is a hunger for authenticity. Gen Z is largely fuelling this trend and new social media app BeReal embodies this counterculture as it encourages raw, unfiltered content.
For anyone unfamiliar with the app (broadly anyone who no longer gets asked for ID when buying alcohol), it works by notifying users once a day that it’s “time to Be Real” and they then have two minutes to take a photo via the app, which simultaneously takes a front and ‘selfie’ shot of the user. This dual photo function and time limit strips out the ability to carefully stage and filter an image.
The app also shuns followers and voyeurs – users can add friends, but they need to actively post in order to view others’ daily BeReal snaps. This is the very antithesis of Instagram and TikTok and makes influencer marketing on the platform an impossibility.
Also in a departure to the typical social media ‘pay for play’ commercial models, there are no options for brands to use their ad budgets: from a marketing perspective it’s a bit of a dud. A few brands have already tried to utilise the platform commercially, but its restrictions mean that most are just watching and waiting to see what opportunities it may bring down the line.
The disruptive social media app WeAre8 turns its back on everything we know as normal from other profit-focussed social media platforms. It democratises social media advertising, giving its community opportunities to earn (or donate) money simply by watching adverts. The eye-opening Netflix documentary ‘The Social Dilemma’ famously captured the quote “if you’re not paying for the product, then you are the product” and for the first time this app allows consumers to cash in on that fact.
It puts people and the planet centre stage and describes itself as a “hate-free evolution of the social feed”. This moral high ground, plus its significant investment in marketing and brand ambassadors, have piqued our interest. The proposition is attractive, and the extensive advertising hype makes it feel like it is going to be huge.
Only time will tell, however, if the worthy sentiment at the heart of the platform can actually compete with the established social media giants. Unlike BeReal though, there are opportunities for brands to utilise the platform.
We will be keeping a close eye on both platforms in 2023 to understand how to maximise them – if at all possible – from a PR perspective. To learn more about how Storm can support your brand across PR, influencer marketing and social media, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.