There are certain types of activities that pop on visual social media platforms like TikTok. It’s some combination of being visually appealing, intricate and skillful, while also being universal, that makes something light up our brains — and these platforms’ algorithms.
One example is the hair removal community on TikTok. The hashtag #eyebrows, for example, has racked up more than 4 billion views from people watching low-fi yet satisfying videos of people plucking, tinting, threading, drawing and waxing their eyebrows.
Just how popular is this? Australia’s fifth most popular TikTok video ever is a clip from Rimi Beauty Salon, a tiny salon in Brisbane.
@rimibeautysalonstafford#threading #waxing #browhenna #tint #beautyservices #Rimibeauty #staffordshire #makeup #bodywaxing @sandhyamarahatta1 @preetgill0009♬ OTTAGATHAI KHATIKHO – SAMIER KHAN
Since being posted at the beginning of 2020, the video of an employee threading a woman’s eyebrows has been viewed more than 126 million times. The account has 670,000 followers. (By comparison, Guardian Australia has 80,000).
I spoke to Gurnam Singh, who runs Rimi Beauty Salon, about the secret to their TikTok success. He launched the account two years ago to promote the salon: “Since then, we are getting a bit [of] extra business.” (Monetising TikTok has long been a problem, even for some of the platform’s biggest creators).
If Singh had any special tricks to the account’s enormous success, he kept them close to his chest. He says their productions are simple: they ask normal customers if they can film and then just use a standard phone to capture the TikTok.
Rimi Beauty Salon’s success shows how despite all the strategy, technical equipment and #growthhacks used in the hope of going viral, content is king.
This article was first published in WebCam, a fortnightly newsletter exploring the Australian internet with Crikey‘s Cam Wilson. You can sign up to receive the newsletter here.