Headline article image How to create a viral social media sensation: 3 businesses share their tips

How to create a viral social media sensation: 3 businesses share their tips

Global reach. Millions in sales. Going viral is the ultimate social media goal. Here are three examples of how businesses created viral marketing campaigns.

“Our social media video drove $2M in sales – and completely changed our business”

A TikTok video created by Wrinkles Schminkles gained 54M views and helped attract new distributors.

When Gabrielle Requena opened an account for her brand, Wrinkles Schminkles, on TikTok, her expectations were low.

“We’re really for a more mature skincare customer,” says Requena. “I was never sure whether TikTok was for us.

 “But I’ve always had a passion for digital [commerce] and for pushing the business forward with new types of channels… and I thought we needed to participate.”

It was lucky she did. When Wrinkles Schminkles posted a simple social media video showing a customer using its silicone patches, it drove a surge in sales and transformed Requena’s business permanently.

"We were reposted by plastic surgeons and dermatologists who had millions of followers."

- Gabrielle Requena, Wrinkles Schminkles founder

“It was just a beautiful explosion on TikTok. We were reposted by plastic surgeons and dermatologists who had millions of followers,” recalls Requena.

Within the first 30 days, the social media video (which has since had 54 million views) delivered around $2M in sales, and Requena recalls watching the video gain popularity in one country, where the patches would sell out, followed by a surge in sales in the next region.

But Requena says that the initial spike in revenue wasn’t the biggest benefit of going “viral.” “It opened an incredible number of doors in all markets with distributors. We had inquiries come from Portugal, Norway, Israel, Slovenia, South Africa, Vietnam…and retail enquiries from CVS and Ulta in the U.S. and Priceline in Australia. Although we have been in conversation for a few years, now we will officially be launching this year into 220 stores, with this TikTok helping to push this along.”

"TikTok helped open an incredible number of doors in all markets with distributors."

- Gabrielle Requena, Wrinkles Schminkles founder

Requena notes that, even months after the video was posted, revenue remains high and brand awareness has grown. “As a high-repeat purchase product, once you get new customers through the door we have the luxury of the repeat purchases once people see their results.”

Wrinkles Schminkles’ tips for viral marketing success:

  • Spend time on TikTok

    “It’s important to keep up on all of the latest trends, which means spending countless hours scrolling through TikTok to see what is trending. Trends change all the time, so you have to be quick and jump on one as soon as you see it," says Requena.

  • Keep it real

    "Use a familiar and real face in the video and use unpolished video content. Consumers on TikTok don’t want to see clean and polished videos… and film directly into the app - not pre-recorded, edited and posted - the algorithm loves this!” says Requena.

  • Keep experimenting

    “It takes lots of trial and error," says Requena, who adds that a successful viral marketing campaign requires experimentation. “Originally this video was part of another video, and we saw the spikes in views and replicated it in a short and sharp execution. Learn from what works…you can post a TikTok and it will receive no traction, but if you slightly cut it and tweak it and repost it, it can become viral…like ours!” says Requena.

“We made $150K in four days and sold out”

U.S. beauty brand Love & Pebble found viral success with a TikTok video

It took Lynda Truong just half an hour to make the TikTok video that took her business viral. 

She and her husband and co-founder Paul Tran launched their beauty brand Love & Pebble in March 2021, and before they launched, they tested their products on their friends and family.

That included Lynda’s mother – and on a whim, Lynda posted a video of her mom trying a “Beauty Pop,” an ice-cold face roller that melts into a face mask, to TikTok. The response was instant. 

“[TikTok] literally went crazy…our sales skyrocketed,” says Love & Pebble chief marketing officer Erica Beddini

"Our sales skyrocketed."

- Erica Beddini, Love & Pebble chief marketing officer

The social media video, which shows Lynda’s mother rolling the Beauty Pop across her face, as well as before-and-after shots of the results, received 4 million views, drove $150,000 in sales and caused Beauty Pops to sell out.

Not only that, but the viral success of the social media video prompted magazines like Cosmopolitan to reach out for interviews, and saw the business invited on TV show Shark Tank (an appearance that generated its own surge in sales).

Going forward, Beddini says that creating viral marketing campaigns will be a key part of the brand's social media strategy.

“Our viral videos constantly help expose our brand to new customers. This year, we are refocusing our efforts to use that as our top-of-funnel exposure and to warm up audience...

“Our viral videos constantly help expose our brand to new customers."

- Erica Beddini, Love & Pebble chief marketing officer

“Viral content casts such a wide net that it really helps our marketing efforts," explains Beddini, who uses organic content in combination with paid advertising campaigns. "Paid media plus organic pushes - especially viral - is the secret to any brand's success,” she explains. 

Love & Pebble’s tips for viral marketing success:

  • Offer authentic, real content

    “We believe that being authentic, offering a very unique and effective product that catches the attention of people, and the very simple and raw video of Lynda’s mom helped with the viral success," says Beddini.

  • Follow up viral content with retargeting

    “Having a viral video warms your audience and, in most cases, it helps your true marketing efforts succeed," says Beddini, explaining that Love & Pebble's strategy is to amplify viral content with paid advertising spend. "Have one video go viral then hit them with a retargeting campaign, you’ll see: it’s magic.”

“TikTok has been a game-changer for our business”

Bondi Blades business owner Ali Clarke says her business has been transformed by viral videos. 

It was Ali Clarke’s e-commerce app that alerted her to the sudden avalanche of sales on her website Bondi Blades. “I started to hear the ‘ka-ching’ notification, and I thought, ‘What is going on?’ Then I put two and two together and saw that traffic was increasing to my website and coming from TikTok.”

That surge in traffic was the result of a social media video posted by an influencer, and it drove $10,000 in sales of her facial dermaplaning blades. It was the first in a series of viral TikTok posts that have succeeded well beyond Clarke’s expectations, and which have helped her business grow from a small side hustle, launched in lockdown, to a multimillion-dollar business that employs five people and is stocked in more than 1,500 retailers.

Over the past 18 months, Clarke has watched a number of posts go viral – from deceptively simple 10-second videos demonstrating exactly how dermaplaning blades remove arm hair to posts about Clarke’s own ups and downs as a small business owner.  

“If you’re not on TikTok you’re missing out on a big market share of sales."

- Ali Clarke, Bondi Blades founder

To some degree, Clarke believes that success with videos can be “luck of the draw”. However, she says that it’s worthwhile experimenting with the platform and creating a viral marketing strategy. “If you’re not on TikTok, you’re missing out on a big market share of sales.”

Bondi Blades’ tips for viral marketing success

  • Choose influencers carefully

    Influencers have played a huge role in our TikTok success. But the key is to find influencers that genuinely would like to use your product. You can see it come across in the content if they’re not authentic.”

  • Be real

    Approach social media like an extension of yourself, advises Clarke - especially on TikTok, where, unlike Instagram, users prefer content to be raw. “I started using TikTok to document my business journey and to see if I could get any tips or best practices because I had never owned a business before. I don’t use filters, I don’t edit the content. The key is just raw, engaging content and having a good ‘hook’ line.”

More tips to help take your social media campaigns viral:

  • Don't forget hashtags to ensure your videos get discovered.
  • Consider promoting viral videos with paid advertising in order to maximize returns.
  • Marketers should create content that matches the target social media platform. For example, TikTok users prefer social content to be as raw and authentic as possible, while Instagram audiences often prefer more polished content.  
  • Consider reposting user-generated content that has viral potential.
  • Think about where your target audience can be found, and experiment with new platforms.
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