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Thunderclap – An Introduction

I actually remember the first time I heard about Thunderclap, as I was sitting in my hotel room in mid 2016 having attended a business related Workshop in London.

Having switched my phone to ‘Silent’ (as I do when I have immersed myself in ‘homework’) I happened to glance across as a message popped up that a friend and business contact was going ‘Live’ on Facebook.

It gave me a little respite from what I was doing and so I tuned in to see what he was up to.  Turns out he the Live with a friend of his in the U.S. who was promoting her book, and using Thunderclap to get a flying start to the pending launch.

To be honest, I had not heard of Thunderclap at that point, but the crowd sourcing interested me as I planned to run events and launches of products in the future.

Now normally I am not an advocate of such ‘scattergun’ approaches to marketing, but the sheer volume of messaging that might be available interested me enough to store the idea for a future campaign.

Time passed, I launched my new business earlier this year, a website and various products and services.  I was starting out in a new sector but having set up and run three very successful Financial Services businesses in the past I slotted back into normal routines and strategies.  I had forgotten to adopt Thunderclap.

Thunderclap Set up

However, one day I was reminded again by an invitation to ‘support’ a Thunderclap campaign from a business contact of mine.  This was timely as I had a new event that I wanted to promote that was low-cost and I felt a nice project that might sit well within such  a campaign, possibly reaching out to people who had no idea who I was beforehand.

I therefore researched what I needed to do.

I got an image created for the Thunderclap promotion.  I drafted the various wordings required for the pre-launch campaign.  I made a video with captions that would sit on a Landing Page created by my web developer. Next I drafted some wording for this web page.

Finally, I set up a new Facebook Group (which was the platform through which the program would be run) with another bespoke image, introductory video and other related stuff like  bespoke ‘Rules’ etc.

So it took a fair bit of time, effort and investment just to get to this stage.

I then selected the ‘Free’ option, meaning I needed 100 supporters to ensure it was sent out.   Even with my modest social reach I thought this was a doddle.

Unfortunately, after getting everything ‘Live’ I noticed a ‘typo’ on my Thunderclap image.

Arrrggh.  I now needed to change this image and had to pay $55 to Thunderclap for the privilege of adjusting the campaign.  My mistake for not checking, but very irritating as it delayed my promotion of the campaign by a day and I only had 11 days anyway.

Promoting a Thunderclap

10 days until launch and I started by reading Thunderclaps’ recommended approaches and began firing out personal e-mails, Twitter and Facebook messages.

Twitter and Facebook very quickly closed down my messages as spam, seemingly due to the Thunderclap link I included.  Hence, first day, two hours of time and little to show for it.

Next day I tried general requests for support via my Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn pages.  A few people kindly added their backing but despite the views I was disappointed with just a handful of supporters.

Each day I would try different messaging strategies to encourage support, and a big issue that arose was that I found that despite what I considered to be clear messaging (having taken Thunderclap’s advice on this) I got loads of ‘Shares’ but very few supporters.

It meant I then had to personally re-message all those that ‘Shared’ my promotion, firstly thanking them but explaining again in a different way how to support my campaign.  This led to loads of other chat about other things and I found on one day I had spent 3-4 hours on messages, most of which had nothing to do with my Thunderclap.

With 4 days to go I sat at just 25 supporters, which I thought was quite frankly rubbish and not a fair reflection of the effort I had put in.  One big turn-off I think is the wording by Thunderclap over the fact it will send out messages.  Supporters actually had to grant Thunderclap access to send out messages on their behalf.  I knew this meant that they would send out just one message at the time of the campaign launch, but clearly many people were concerned over the access being granted in respect of their Social Media accounts.  Understandable.

If I am honest I was also disappointed that clearly a bunch of people I considered ‘friends’ or ‘professional acquaintances’ had said they had supported me but clearly did not.  In fact I had twice as many people say they had supported me than actually did.  This surprised and saddened me, as personally I would rather people say nothing than give me false hope or promise.

I have since established that this is not uncommon.

So I dedicated two – three hours a day to promoting my Thunderclap campaign appealing personally to contacts and friends alike, and I finally broke through the 100 threshold with a day to go.  Phew!

In fact by the end of the campaign I had amassed 106 supporters with a Social Reach of 163,308!!

For the first time since launching my campaign I was excited.

I was grateful to those who had rallied, and many sent personal supportive messages too.  This helped to restore my faith in my social media communities and gave me real hope that all the hard work might just be worthwhile after all.

The campaign launched at 3pm on a Wednesday, being the apparent optimum time for such a campaign launch.

Thunderclap – The Results are in!

Ping my mobile phone rings out an alert bang on 3pm as I received a message from one of my supporters who has me in their social group. I clicked on the link in the message and my event Landing Page popped up.  I sighed with relief knowing that it had gone out as planned and without any technical hitches or glitches.

Realising it might take a few hours to realise the results, I was determined not to check on the success or otherwise of the campaign during this period.  Instead I would focus on some other work for a few hours.  After two hours I could not wait any longer, I checked on the results and ‘Oh no!’.

Zero sign ups to my program!!

Hours later, the same result.  I was gutted.

I had even jumped on the Landing Page and followed the sign up process myself just to make absolutely sure it all worked OK. It did.  Like clockwork. Perfect.

It was at this point that I realised my efforts had been in vain, because Thunderclap is a one-time message firing out to the supported social reach all at the same allotted time.  We all have such busy newsfeeds that this would get lost in no time.  The odd ‘scroller’ may pick it up, be curious and follow through, but this would not make up for the weeks of work that had gone in to it.

The final analysis showed that a disappointing 117 people had engaged with my Landing Page but there were no conversions.

The Post-mortem

As part of my post-mortem process I invited a number of business owners and professionals to critique my landing page.  No-one could understand what was wrong.  I had researched the best formats and structure to use, and applied these principles.

The only thing we came up with was that the only people who ‘clicked through’ were inquisitive minds and not my target audience. .  This only served to reinforce a mantra that I trot out so often ‘scattergun approaches to marketing waste time and money’.

The summary

Subsequently, my research seemed to suggest that only 2% of people in our social media communities see a post in their newsfeeds, as they are lost in numerous others.  This meant that my campaign would have amassed around just 3266 random Views and got 117 click throughs, a rate of just 3.6%.  The overall ‘conversion rate’ for the full 163,308 was just .07%.

I was very grateful to all those who did support me, and you know who you are, but I reckon that I had put in over 70 hours of work in to this campaign and the return was, for me, soul destroying.  In fact, I described the realisation subsequently to a friend as probably my biggest marketing disappointment over 18 years of testing new approaches.  Even I had not imagined there would be no-sign ups at all.

If I had spent this time and money on just promoting my program then I know the results would have been so much better.

Incidentally, most of that 163,308 social reach was business related.  For example, one of my supporters had over 45,000 business owners or organisations following them, and another had approximately 30000 similar demographics.

The reality is that I believe unless you have a huge social following,  it is a massive emotive subject/story that already has some traction, you are an established personality or celebrity or you know personally one of the former then you will struggle to get a significant return.

One thing that Thunderclap can never escape is that it is a scattergun approach and any professional marketer will tell you that is not a good strategy.  I knew this, but went against my own instincts to try something that I considered fairly unique in terms of potential reach.

I hope you have found this useful, and I would love to receive your comments.

Have you had a good or bad Thunderclap experience?

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