In April 2022, the University of Georgia’s student newspaper The Red & Black put a spotlight on a popular new social media platform that’s influencing the UGA campus, known as BeReal.
Unlike traditional social media (such as Facebook and Instagram), BeReal has a unique twist on its posting and engagement techniques. Here’s how it works: You receive a notification from the app giving your explicit instructions on posting. For example, you have two minutes to post a photo using both your front and back camera. This puts the user on the spot to post whatever, whenever, without the convenience of staging a photo opportunity.
Apparently, the app is designed to be a healthier alternative to other social platforms that pressure you into having perfect posts for likes and followers. On BeReal, there are no likes, and you never know what your follower count is, so the usual pressures are virtually nonexistent.
This new platform poses the question “Is authentic content making a comeback?”
ManyChat has some answers.
When did we lose authenticity?
Authenticity has not been totally lost—there are still great Instagram users who prioritize authentic content over the luxurious, overly filtered postings that have become so popular today.
But if we’re being honest, authenticity doesn’t sell as well as “the dream life” that everyone is trying to obtain. Brands notice this and are willing to pay top dollar for influencers that captivate their audience and can get them to pull out their credit cards to make a purchase.
Not to mention, people aren’t on these platforms to keep close family and friends informed of their day to day—they want the likes and followers. This adds additional pressure to create the perfect look and take the best shots that make you look 10 pounds lighter while frolicking on the beach like you don’t have a care in the world.
So when did we lose authenticity? When users started being rewarded for promoting fantasy over real life.
The result of absent authenticity
The result of this loss of authenticity is people becoming obsessed with an arguably unhealthy version of social media that is, well … addicting. Users now get caught in an endless scroll for hours and hours at a time with one goal in mind: escaping their reality.
But is it all bad? Of course not. This is just the extreme end of the spectrum. Social media has also been a great addition to society. With social media, you can keep in touch, express yourself, get ideas, and open new doors of exploration. As a business owner, social platforms like Instagram have allowed you to promote yourself, build relationships, and entertain your audience to keep them coming back for more.
Original content vs. authentic content
Recently, Instagram announced that it would be prioritizing original content over reposts. It wants to encourage more users to post their own content instead of reposting TikTok videos on Instagram, something that’s not uncommon. These “reposters” will now be penalized by Instagram, with their posts being buried in the feed instead of floating to the top.
On the other hand, Instagram users who post their own content will be rewarded. Instagram head Adam Mosseri went on record saying that Instagram wants to “make sure that credit is going to those who deserve it.”
Here’s our full article on How to win with original content.
The bottom line is that original content is not always authentic content. Original means posts/videos that you create from your account, without taking from someone else. Authentic posts are posts that convey the true nature of life around you, without using filters and Photoshop to alter them.
The truth behind authentic content
So is authentic content really making a comeback, like in the raw, unfiltered, non-staged version that BeReal is capturing? It’s unlikely. Many feel that BeReal is a fad more than a lasting effect that will captivate billions of people, the way Instagram has done. Plus, considering that Instagram and the brands that live on the platform aren’t prioritizing authenticity, it’s not likely anyone will be changing their brand strategy to include more authentic content.
BeReal hasn’t yet positioned itself to be self-sustaining in the long term like Instagram has. Although it has the admirable purpose of being a healthier social environment, it’s also eliminated the avenues for growth that IG has mastered, like allowing users to interact with other people outside of their friend group and engage with brands or build brand partnerships.
Don’t shift your strategy to try and convey yourself as more authentic. Instead, focus on building up your original content to market on Instagram. As a business owner, authenticity is important, but so are strategy and marketing tactics to sell yourself.
Incorporate ManyChat into your Instagram strategy to assist with customer engagement, getting a conversation started and DM marketing to reach more users.