- BeReal has become the latest trending social media app and has been downloaded over a million times.
- While many users seem to find it organically, the company targeted students first.
- BeReal and its campus ambassadors have used marketing tactics such as sponsoring frat nights to help jump-start growth.
New social media app BeReal has seen a 315% increase in downloads this year, and a deluge of headlines testing the platform and its more “authentic” experience that just gave users just a window of two minutes every day to share a photo.
The hype is real and many users are responding positively to the app. But BeReal’s initial downloads were also aided by guerrilla marketing tactics that specifically target Greek college life organizations across the United States.
Three college ambassadors for BeReal, all of whom started in February, shared with Insider some of the tasks the company asked them to complete (they only get paid if they’re completed). Tasks ranged from the traditional presentation, to handing out stickers or a slice of pizza to download, to sponsoring fraternal evenings offering $5-8 for each new registered user (paid to the Greek-letter organization ).
Some of these early-stage strategies, which borrow cues from the academic approaches of companies like TikTok and Bumble, have likely helped spur BeReal’s massive growth over the past few months.
BeReal wants to be an anti-influence platform, but is looking for influential ambassadors
“BeReal won’t make you famous,” reads a note in the company’s public relations filing that a BeReal representative sent to Insider. “If you want to become an influencer, you can stay on TikTok and Instagram.”
While BeReal boasts of being more authentic and less showboaty than its predecessors, the company seems to be looking for young college reps with lots of connections and leverage on their respective campuses.
“BeReal College Ambassadors host parties, manage a marketing budget, identify key moments on campus for us to get involved, represent BeReal’s mission, and execute creative activations,” the job description on the college’s website reads. the company.
Although it is not specified to work with Greek life, the three ambassadors said it was essential to have a connection with these organizations.
“One of the main things they talked to me about was getting Greek life on campus involved with BeReal – in exchange for compensation for the organization,” said Jake Leonard, a student freshman and BeReal Ambassador for the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. “I’m in a fraternity…that was my main help as an ambassador.”
Tiffanie Johnson, an ambassador for Old Dominion University, told Insider that during her interview, she was asked how “attracted” she was to campus, particularly to various student organizations.
“My first task was to get contact information for every sorority and fraternity — I got paid for that,” Johnson said.
All of the ambassadors said their first assignment was to collect emails and numbers for sorority and fraternity presidents so that a full-time BeReal employee could contact them. Johnson and Leonard said they were paid a few hundred dollars to carry out this mission.
BeReal sponsors fraternal evenings and offers gifts in exchange for downloads
The ambassadors told Insider that BeReal, like many other startups, has turned to fairly traditional marketing devices, like depositing or offering free gifts to students in exchange for downloading the app.
Simran Athavale, a freshman and BeReal ambassador at the University of Texas at Austin, said she was recently tasked with handing out slices of pizza and a can of Celsius energy drink for each upload.
Athavale said she was paid $450 for making six deposit rounds, and the company offered bonuses of $100 or $300 if an ambassador collected the most downloads in a month.
But ambassadors Insider spoke to said the most successful marketing seemed to happen with Greek life events.
“We try to set up partnerships with sororities and fraternities,” Athavale said. So far, she’s mostly seen interest from fraternities. “For every fraternity brother upload, we donate $5 to the fraternity, and sometimes we’ll donate to their philanthropy.”
“We also sponsor fraternity parties,” she added. “In order to collect your wristband for a party, you must download the app.” She would then pull out a list of usernames that she would give to her boss at the end of her shift, so they could check how many new users were continuing to post and how many were immediately deleting the app.
Leonard also helped sponsor different fraternity chapters at his school in exchange for downloads. For a concert hosted by a fraternity at UMass, he said BeReal offered free and discounted tickets if students downloaded and used the app.
He said the rate offered at his school was around $6 to $8 per download. The most people he helped register for an event was around 50 active members, which amounted to $300-400 donated to the fraternity.
A spokesperson for BeReal declined to comment on those numbers and the company’s overall college marketing strategies, including the number of initial downloads that came from. But the spokesperson confirmed that the initial growth was largely due to targeting this demographic.
“Its growth started among college students and is now multi-generational,” the spokesperson said in a statement. “We see families using BeReal together.”
While these tactics helped bring BeReal to young people immediately who can make it a trend, ambassadors said they saw many more people downloading the app through word of mouth.
“I don’t think I have any friends who don’t post on it at least every other day,” Leonard said.