6 Things you should know before using Thunderclap

A summary of what worked and what we learned from our 1st Thunderclap campaign


A few weeks back we used Thunderclap to reach out to our friends and supporters to help us introduce Somewhere. Reaching 165,295 people is great, but more importantly we did reach our target audience — a web of early adopters and people within the tech/startup industry. I quickly want to share 6 key take-aways and the results with you as we believe it’s a tool that can be along other communication channels useful to many more organisations.


What is it and how does it work?

Social media can be a powerful instrument if people engage with you, mention you and refer you to other potential users (or customers). It becomes even more powerful when many people do this at the same time. This is where Thunderclap comes in: Instead of having your startup mentioned now and then on Facebook or Twitter many people support your Thunderclap campaign focusing the effect. The Thunderclap app collects all posts and tweets and publishes all of them in the very same moment. It is an effective way to get your message out to as many people as possible, because aggregating the posts allows breaking through the “noise” of general news. In other words: If you succeed it’s all over your networks and potentially all over the social web.


Our experiences & learnings

1. It’s two campaigns!

You have to understand that you’re actually running two campaigns. When you start composing your campaign page you have to consider the people you’ll reach out to directly to support you and the final audience, who’ll see the posts and tweets in their feeds. While for the people you reach out to there should be a compelling reason to support your campaign (ie. a cause, loyalty, reputation building, fun) the reached audience should not only be interested in and curious about what they see, but also be prompted with a clear call-to-action. This way you have a fair chance people engage further with your product (ie. sign up for a beta). [BTW: Make sure your communication is clear that it is not about sharing the link of the campaign, but about supporting it via Thunderclap. Trust me, this will happen.]

2. Reach out to people 1-on-1

Yes, you find campaigns that went viral (or seem to be) on their own, but these are mostly political and societal causes. And they most likely also started small. In our case — targeting certain networks of people within the startup world — ‘conversion’ looked a lot better, when our team and friends reached out to people individually compared to when we shared the link on ‘any’ platform/channel. Not only can you leverage your direct relationship to the potential supporter, but you can also adapt the message why somebody should support you.

3. Encourage people to make their support personal

You do not want a standard message out there, but people to share their use case. Motivate supporters to make their post/tweet personal: If your supporters have a profile on your platform (consumer product) or use your product encourage them to share their experiences within their post/tweet. This adds credibility and authenticity to the whole campaign and engages end-viewers as they see a use case within their trusted network. This not only helped us reaching end-viewers in a meaningful way, but also gave us valuable insights what people really like about our service.

4. Which ‘size’ should I aim for?

If you have some traction and a solid, tech-savvy network of people from several team members go for the 250. If you are announcing an early launch, an alpha or beta version I advise you to go for 100 (you can always do more and outperform, which looks good).

5. Measure the results

If you use Thunderclap for the launch/introduction of your product or startup you most likely do not have that much insights about reach, the according conversion rates and user engagement yet. I’m not suggesting to sign up for Thunderclap’s Pro version, but to do 2 things: 1) Make sure you have a good feel for what posts on social media got attention and engagement before, so you can build your campaign around something that is promising and 2) track what’s happening on your page and your social media channels once all posts and tweets got send out to use it as a point of reference for your future campaigns and metrics.

We for example use it to compare it to tech media coverage and features from bloggers. It also gives us a point of reference when considering potential partnerships.

6. Make it easy for people to look good

Make it easy & reputation building to support your campaign. People — especially influential ones — are very conscious about what they share with their networks and followers. Support your request with recent announcements or reliable media articles about trends a person can refer to.

It’s time intensive, but for close supporters we tried to remember what motivated them in the beginning to support us and equipped that person with all information needed to thread a short (!) story together.


One last note: Don’t let Thunderclap be your only tool. It should be one component of your communication strategy. We aligned it with a PR campaign (Techcrunch, Gigaom, TheNextWeb), conferences we attended and personal follow-ups regarding partnerships and other coops. Only this way you really leverage the awareness created.


Results

The campaign resulted in significant increased page views and sign-ups for our beta. As said before, more importantly for us was to reach our target audience and we were satisfied with the outcome.

Thunderclap is a great (and free!) tool to reach out to many people and create awareness about your vision and/or product launch. The beauty is you can use it for basically any event — be it the launch, funding news, stats announcement, a pivot, etc.


I hope this gives you some insight into the potential Thunderclap as a tool can have!

Thanks to Didrik, who made me aware of it and for sharing their experiences.