Explosive social media

Finally an example of the power of social media I can get excited about!

The Oatmeal's Mantis ShrimpI have long been a fan of The Oatmeal – it started with a mantis shrimp has grown exponentially since. So when the Exploding Kittens card game popped up on Kickstarter it was immediately backed by me – and I hoped with all my heart that this kickstarter would be fully funded… Little did I know how amazing the next 30 days would be.


Being a marketing creature, I have often expounded on the power of having a social media following that love and engage with you. But until now I didn’t have an awesome illustrative story to use. (Well one that wasn’t from a textbook. One that I had been part of and could be passionate about!)


The card game was created by Elan Lee, Matthew Inman (The Oatmeal) and Shane Small. And here’s how it works:


On the 20 January, an hour after launch, their campaign was funded – hooray! They seemed surprised, and pleased. 7 hours after launch they raised a million dollars. That’s 10,000% funded. This seemed to blow them away!


Exploding Kittens Update  Exploding Kittens Update 

Exploding Kittens Update  Exploding Kitten Update

The importance of updates

Exploding Kittens UpdateWhat the three did really well though, was letting people who had already backed the project know how well it was going. They encouraged us to interact with each other and the game – asking for feedback, building the community. These updates were great and lent to the idea that we were part of something unique. We got pictures illustrating developments, and were kept in the loop the whole time. I felt special and I felt loved.


And then came the stretch goals. These were aimed at expanding and growing our community. They wanted to be the best. Now who doesn’t want to be the best? They wanted us to be the biggest community in kickstarter history: 100,000 backers. They also promised a cool reward – the NSFW expansion to be converted to a full deck. Superb! They pointed out that a backer was anyone who had pledged $1. So we responded and made everyone we knew donate just one dollar. And then we were there. And on Elan’s birthday too.


See what they did there? (Now, this is the marketing creature talking.) They let us in, they gave us a tidbit – they let us know something personal about one of the creators. It is this type of genuine touch that speaks to people.

Back to fangirl…


Exploding Kittens Update

For the next stretch goals they did something radical

Or not. Depends how you look at it. They examined their community and gave us something to work for, encouraged us to engage and then rewarded us for it. They didn’t make it easy, and that was part of the fun.

Again they kept letting us know how we were doing they shared what we had accomplished via email updates, twitter and facebook. They themselves engaged with us, asked for feedback and comments.

Exploding Kittens the Kickstarter campaign had been turned into a game and we LOVED it.

Next they decided to use the community for something new, something that hadn’t ever been done. They threw a party for the last 3 days. They answered questions on reddit, invented a Exploding Kittens drinking game, they illustrated requests via comments on their campaign, and they hosted pizza parties at our local animal shelters (all we had to do was nominate).

Each day we received instructions via project updates and each consequent day we were told how well we did. And then it was over…

I felt sad. Forlorn really. But then came this:

On the very first day of this campaign, we hit our funding goal. That was a big deal.


But after that, the campaign stopped being about money, and started being about a community. We decided that everything we did from that point on would be to celebrate you guys, and help you celebrate each other.


In the last 30 days, you’ve broken a lot of records, but we wanted to highlight our favorite one: you made this the most fun Kickstarter to run of all time.


Thank You,

The Exploding Kittens Team

And I remembered that this was a community, I was a part of it and the experience would stay with me forever. Cheesy I know, but again I felt special and included. And there have been more update emails since then keeping us updated on the progress of the game, including us on the process.

For me this was the cherry on the top.

This is what social media should aspire to

What I learnt from being part of this process (from an audience perspective). Build a community. Get them to help get the word out. Nurture them and they will give back. Know your audience, what they will respond to. Give them goals that will challenge them as a community. Remember that there are people behind the numbers. Make sure that you appreciate what they do individually and as a community. Use them for feedback – involve them in the development process. This will make products more well rounded and grow your community. Keep them in the loop. And most of all be genuine.


A penguin regurgitating itself

My favourite update



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