Is this the end for influencers? Move over Instagram, it’s time to BeReal

Demand is rising for authenticity on social media and trust in influencers is declining. Consumers are spending less time on apps where they feel like the content is too curated, and instead are opting to use apps like TikTok, and the new kid on the block, BeReal.

If you’re confused as to what BeReal is, it’s an app that notifies all its users that a two-minute window to post a photo is open, once per day, and asks users to create a post which uses mandatory simultaneous photos from both the front and back cameras, to provide a visual depiction of what they are doing in that moment. The given window varies from day to day. If a user posts their daily image later than the two-minute window, other users are notified of the fact. Users can only post one photo a day.

BeReal was designed to compete with Instagram while simultaneously de-emphasising social media addiction and overuse. The app doesn’t allow any photo filters or other editing and has no advertising or follower counts – hence “Be Real”. Founders claim “BeReal won’t make you famous”, hinting at the popular opinion that everyone would like a piece of the influencer pie in 2022.

A recent study found that only 3% of people are influenced by influencers now, and there could be several reasons why. Is it because people aren’t buying into social media influencers, as they aren’t a fan of apps like Instagram anymore? In the past few days a petition was started and shared by Kylie Jenner named ‘Make Instagram Instagram Again’ which is calling on the app to revert to its original premise as a photo-sharing app. The increase in Reels content has led to Instagram almost becoming a carbon copy of TikTok, and many users are fed up. The petition explains how users want to be able to see their friends’ posts again, rather than content from people they don’t even follow. Is this where BeReal reigns supreme? The ability to see authentic content from your friends, with no disruptions from sponsored posts or videos you didn’t ask to see?

In 2018, Kylie Jenner tweeted her dismay at Snapchat and a day later, its shares had plummeted by 6%. Within a week, it had lost about $1.3 billion. That’s some influence for sure, but will her own platforms assist in restoring Instagram’s former glory now?

People are losing faith in influencers, whether it’s because of the volume of #ad content, debacles like Fyre Festival or life stories that have turned out to be completely fake like Caroline Calloway. Or even exposés by the likes of Josh & Archie, who have paid influencers to promote fake wellness products and tricked them into promoting gravel. This begs the question, do influencers even consider what they are promoting, or do the dollar signs in their eyes truly blind them?

Social media algorithms are making it harder for influencers to grow on the platforms. Does this mean it’s also harder for those already in the game to stay relevant? Because of the pesky algorithms, brands can’t guarantee exposure when signing a deal with an influencer. Has the influencer marketing industry finally plateaued? Or is there a way for brands to still effectively work with influencers in 2022?

If you still want to work with influencers, there are ways it can be done. You’ll need to focus on content that has value – that’s what consumers are looking for: informational content that still feels genuine and is delivered by a content creator whose values align with those of the brand. Video content is also rife, so that’s probably a good way to go about getting your message across.

A lot of brands are also now opting to have long-term partnerships with smaller creators, often referred to ‘nano’ or ‘micro’ influencers. They can rely more on the fact their message will be received authentically, as the followers of smaller creators tend to trust said creator more. This is because they believe the creator isn’t just chasing those lucrative dollar signs.

There’s a lot of repetitive content on social media now. Brands will supply creators they are sponsoring with images and copy, and if they are working with multiple influencers, this will often be replicated across each of the creator’s channels without any changes. Often, these influencers are in the same niche, as it’s appropriate for the brand, so they have the same followers. Consumers are getting smarter – and starting to notice this repetitiveness.

Working with a variety of influencers from a variety of niches is another way to work with influencers authentically – getting a range of takes on a product or service is only going to elevate public perception and improve that all-important relatability factor.

My final thought? Diversify your marketing strategy. It’s what we always say: have a lot of strings to your bow – don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Work with influencers in a way that is going to be receptive to your possible customers. Unsure of how to do this? Get in touch with us at Shooting Star and we can help! TB