The most empowering thing with the internet is that now everyone has a voice. But what do you do to get your message across when everyone’s talking? How do you get yourself heard when there’s so much noise around you? If you have a message to share and some friends who care about it too, read on as we show you how you can shout it out. Today on OK, Intrnt we speak to Chelsea Orcutt, Head of Strategy & Outreach at Thunderclap – a platform that enables you to get your supporters echo your voice on social media.
What is Thunderclap?
We’re about 3 years old. In 2012, our founder David Cascino was walking by the occupy Wall Street protests in the Financial District in Manhattan. He saw that the protesters were using this technique called the human megaphone – which means there was one person shouting something and everyone within earshot would repeat it back. It was kind of had a megaphone effect. It was really effective and obviously got them a lot of attention. David thought that there was no real way to replicate it online – with social media. There was no way to have a crowd of people that cared about one thing, say that they cared all at the same time to draw attention to the message.
He went home and built a prototype for Thunderclap and fastforward this to today and we’ve done over 30,000 campaigns and reached people around the world. We have worked with everyone from huge brands to Non-profits to students. Basically, Thunderclap is for everyone – anyone who has a message to share.
How are you organized?
We’re just the four of us right now. It’s a pretty tiny team – small but mighty. We were actually born out of an ad-agency in New York and later we spun out and became a company. It has always been between two and four people. We’re really proud of all the things that we’ve accomplished though.
You mentioned different people that have used Thunderclap. What are the most mainstream campaigns that you run, though? What kind of messages do well?
The messages that really build an emotional connection with the audience tend to be the most successful. The messages that are self-promotional or trying to sell something are not quite as effective. They don’t really rally people to share it. We’ve found that activists and non-profits have had quite some success with the platform because they send out messages that people are really passionate about and excited about.
And what have been your best campaigns?
The biggest Thunderclap in history was started by a guy named Dave Hakkens who is a designer in the Netherlands. He had an idea for a modular phone. He was really frustrated and angry about the kind of e-waste happening in the world – people would throw out their iPhone because the camera broke! He recognized that it wasn’t sustainable and contributed to a lot of e-waste. He had an idea where you could have a phone which had attachable components – so if the camera broke you could just replace the camera. This was what you now know as Phonebloks.
What was impressive about it was that it was just one guy – Dave Hakkens and he was able to rally almost a million people to support the campaign in a pretty short amount of time. In the first 24 hours he had a 100,000 supporters which is a record for our site. That was really very inspiring to watch.
In terms of social reach, the biggest campaign was the one that we did with the United Nations and Beyonce was a part of it. The UN wanted to raise awareness about the ‘World Humanitarian Day’. They used Thunderclap to do that and obviously Beyonce drew a lot of support and she rounded up her celebrity friends. It was extremely successful – they reached over a billion people!
What does one do if they do not have celebrity friends who have a lot of following?
You need to get really creative and really commit to promoting your campaign. We advice Thunderclap organizers to take their social media and promote their campaigns. Email blasts are very effective. If you have a mailing list, sending your campaign to them is effective. Even press coverage has been used, telling people about the tool you’re using, has been effective.
How did you get people to Thunderclap for Thunderclap in the beginning?
I wasn’t here on day 1 but I know that some of the earlier campaigns were just word-of-mouth. The first big campaign that put us on the map was created by this Rolling Stone called Matt Taibbi. He had written an article about campaign finance reform. He created a Thunderclap to share that article. Because he is a pretty big name, we started to see a lot more attention around the platform because he was the first influencer to use it.
But other than that, it’s mostly word of mouth.
Was there a bizarre message that went viral through Thunderclap?
It’s not really strange or odd but there was one very recently and it was crazy how quickly it grew. A little over a week ago, a fan of the band One Direction created a campaign and her goal was to rally her friends to get a One Direction song to number 1 on the charts. She set her goal to 500 supporters and she thought that was a pretty big goal. By the end of the campaign, it became the 5th biggest campaign of all time!
She saw first-hand how crazy the One Direction fandom can be – they had a social reach of 55 million and over 34,000 supporters backing the campaign.
What is your primary source of revenues?
We have different tiers of pricing with different features. We have the basic campaign which is free and we have premium plans for $45, $100 and $500. Then there is an enterprise plan in which we work one-on-one with agencies and brands.
So if you have a cause you care about, take a look at some of the case studies on the website, create a message and gather your best friends – you’ve got just the tool that will help you spread the word!
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As part of OK, Intrnt’s efforts to connect people, we asked Chelsea if she would like to speak to some of our readers directly and she happily agreed! Write to us and we will get back to you and tell you how you can reach her!
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