During my Kindle Scout campaign, I decided to try some new promotional options that I’ve seen some other folks use with some success. One of these was Thunderclap. In the process, I discovered Head Talker, a similar promotional outlet. This month, I’m going to talk about these promotional outlets and the impressions I got from trying to generate sales this way.
What is Thunderclap?
Thunderclap is a way to leverage social media to get the word out about a new book, a special giveaway, a website, or something similar. You set up your campaign and then recruit people to participate. The campaign itself consists of a graphic, a link, and a short blurb appropriate to social media (generally under 140 characters, with hashtags, to accommodate Twitter). You choose a deadline for your campaign, which is the day the message will be broadcast. The goal is to get 100 people signed on to your campaign. Each person who signs up agrees to post your message to one or more of their social media accounts on the day and time you’ve chosen. If you gather enough participants, the message will go out from all these accounts at the same time, creating a “thunderclap” of promotion. At a minimum, you’ll get 100 repetitions of your message on 100 different social media accounts. If one or more of your participants agrees to have the message go out on multiple accounts (such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram), you’ll have even more exposure on their social networks.
The advantages to this approach are several.
- It’s free.
- You can leverage other people’s social media accounts rather than blasting your own followers repeatedly.
- Theoretically, you’ll get your message in front of a variety of people who wouldn’t have seen it otherwise.
However, the disadvantages are also several.
- It’s time-consuming—you have to find people willing to repost your message.
- You can end up blasting your own lists trying to get enough participants to trigger the campaign (with Thunderclap, you need to have 100 people or the campaign won’t go live).
- You can end up in an echo chamber. You can sign on to lists where people support your Thunderclap in exchange for you supporting theirs, and you can build your numbers this way, but then you’re basically advertising on all the same channels as everyone else.
- Even if your campaign doesn’t go live, you’ll still end up sending messages for everyone who participated in your campaign who DID go live. So if you have 100 people on your campaign, this could be 100 social media messages blasting out at various times on your social media channels. Which isn’t necessarily a problem, with a few caveats, which I’ll discuss below.
How is Head Talker Different?
Head Talker works the same way, except you can have a campaign go live with as few as 25 participants, rather than the 100 minimum demanded of Thunderclap. Head Talker gives you the option of 25, 50, or 100 participants to activate your campaign. Again, it’s free, and it works almost exactly the same way as Thunderclap, right down to the signup pages being very similar.
Conclusions and What I Would Do Differently Next Time
My personal experience with Thunderclap wasn’t the greatest. I didn’t get the results I wanted because I wasn’t able to make it to the 100-person minimum to activate my campaign. I had hoped that just signing up and getting eyes on my campaign might generate some page views at Kindle Scout, but the way Thunderclap is set up made that difficult. This has to do with the lack of a live link on the Thunderclap campaign page as well as the “echo chamber” effect of my recruitment efforts. So as far as I could tell, there was no real payoff for me of having a campaign that didn’t actually go live.
The other thing I didn’t care for was that, since I managed to get 75 people on my campaign, I then ended up with 75 (or so—I didn’t keep track) Twitter posts hitting my feed, sometimes to the tune of several per day. This cluttered up my Twitter feed. Worse, some of the posts were worded in such a way that it sounded like I was promoting my own work, which I was uncomfortable with.
What would I do differently? Lots of things.
- I would probably try Head Talker with a 25-person minimum instead of shooting for 100 people for a Thunderclap.
- I would check each campaign I agreed to support to see how the post was worded so that it would be clear what was being advertised when it hit my Twitter feed (you have the option of rewriting the message when you sign up to support someone else’s campaign)
- I’d be sure my campaign was worded in such a way as to not cause this problem with any of my supporters
- I would give myself more time to seed my campaign. I only gave myself two weeks, which was because I only had a month to gather page views for Kindle Scout. I knew this would be a liability, but I didn’t have much choice for this particular campaign. Next time I’d like to have a month lead time.
- With more lead time, I could hopefully find supporters in places other than the Thunderclap-specific Facebook groups I used for this campaign. Theoretically, that would get me out of that echo chamber.
Will I try this again? Probably, but with the changes I mentioned above. I’m still not sure it’s the most efficient form of promotion, but it’s free, and if you parse out your time efficiently, it’s not too much of a time-suck.
Has anyone else used Thunderclap or Head Talker? If you have experiences to share, I’d love to hear about them in the comments.