The TikTok challenge: Using Shooglebox to beat the algorithm and spot latest trends
The phenomenal growth of TikTok – and the speed new trends are picked up by millions of people every day before quickly giving way to the next – has created challenges for brands and organisations trying to keep up.
With more than a billion users worldwide, most spending more time on TikTok than any other online platform, it's little wonder marketing and PR teams want to make their mark in the space and emulate the likes of Duolingo and Ryanair in seeming to have their finger on the pulse with on-trend content.
But it isn't easy to get a handle on what's bubbling up on TikTok – and that's because it's been designed to work very differently from the social media platforms most brands have become adept at using over the past decade.
The For You page which users are dropped into by default when they open the app is powered by an algorithmic model that delivers very different content for each user based on TikTok's recommendation. American enterpreneur Michael Mignano describes it as "recommendation media" as opposed to "social media". It's a shift away from feeds built around social graphs, where users keep up to date with what their friends or people they follow are doing and seeing, in favour of recommended content – largely created by strangers – that the algorithm "thinks" they'll be interested in.
Describing the For You page, TikTok themselves say: "Part of the magic of TikTok is that there's no one For You feed. While different people may come upon some of the same standout videos, each person's feed is unique and tailored to that specific individual."
This "magic" means it's impossible for any individual – or even a team – to get an overarching view of what different people are seeing and getting excited about across TikTok.
The algorithm tends to create "filter bubbles" where people are fed more and more content based on things they've previously lingered on.
A YouGov survey of British TikTok users for Shooglebox revealed how few of the big TikTok trends most people see.
It creates a particular challenge if you're in a marketing or PR team expected to have a broader view – and to be on the front foot understanding and responding to the latest trends.
On top of this, the speed at which trends play out on TikTok is fast. By the time metrics-based trending tools – including TikTok's own – start highlighting what's big it can leave you looking out of touch and late to the party.
Here's how Shooglebox can help your team beat the TikTok algorithm:
A Shooglebox team account helps a group of people to work together and use their different interests, backgrounds and perspectives to spot and share lots of different things.
When it comes to TikTok, it can be a powerful way to use combined eyes and ears to quickly build a picture of the remarkable range of different things different people are seeing – and break out of the "filter bubbles".
The combination of the TikTok and Shooglebox apps means it's quick to save TikToks to a shared box where a team can surprise each other and compare notes.
The more diverse the minds within your team the more diverse the content you'll spot and surface together. And the at-a-glance visual nature of Shooglebox makes it easy to review and explore the things you've collected.
Read more here about how to assemble the perfect team of "spotters" – and how to find people with the mindset and skills to synthesise and quickly make sense of some the things they're spotting.
We can help you quickly get up and running with some tips and techniques for getting the best out of Shooglebox as a team. And we'll give you access to Buzz – a constantly updated box with a broad mix of things bubbling up on TikTok each day – to provide some additional jump-off points for the team.
Getting the best out of Shooglebox for teams
There are some surefire techniques for using Shooglebox as a team to gather and explore things in a way that transforms creative thinking and decision making.
Read our step-by-step guide to the process: from assembling a team of “spotters” that avoids group think to developing your strongest “synthesisers” adept at finding connections, identifying key insights, and understanding wider context.