Four Things Marketing Companies Can Learn From the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

How do you raise money and awareness via the Internet without spending money on advertising? You call out people by name and give them an ultimatum.ice_bucket_challenge-

The ALS Challenge (aka the Ice Bucket Challenge) did exactly that and has already raised more than $15 million to date since the campaign kicked off on July 29th. The challenge dares people to pour a bucket of ice water over their heads and to post it on social media. These participants are given 24 hours to complete the challenge after they have been nominated; otherwise they are to make a donation to the charity in support of the Lou Gehrig’s disease research.

Here Are Four Things Marketers Can Learn From the “ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.”

1. The power of video. Videos are likely to go viral and exponentially reach more people if the content draws attention. Being able to create awe is a good indicator that they’ll be clicking the “share” button on your content, and you’ll be enjoying far-reaching exposure with new potential followers and brand ambassadors.

2. It was fun and easy. Brands and marketers are constantly asking people to do things through contests — it’s one way to get your audiences to engage. Whether it’s tweeting for a discount or signing up on an email list to win a free duffle bag, it works to varying degree. But it doesn’t often generate a lot of buzz because it’s not that uncommon of a tactic.

Dumping a bucket of ice water over your head? Now that’s a compromising situation we all love to take part of. Who could forget Coca-Cola’s ‘Share a Coke’ campaign? The summer campaign went viral persuading people to use the hashtag, “#ShareaCoke” on social media to share personal experiences around the world simply because Coca-Cola is selling Coke cans with your name on it.

3. Timing. Not many will throw a bucket of ice water over their head in the midst of winter even if it’s for a worthy cause. The ALS Association’s impeccable timing of the Ice Bucket Challenge shows that they understood how likely people were to participate, and share the challenge with their friends, during the hottest month of the year.

Similarly, maximizing your brand’s effectiveness on social media means knowing when to strike, whether with a campaign, new content, or a proposal of your own. Knowing your audience and your content well is the easiest way to perfectly time your brand’s social media activity.

4. Charity. The ALS Association has kept their quest to raise money for awareness at the center of the Ice Bucket Challenge, never failing to remind participants that their efforts are going towards helping make a better tomorrow for those suffering from Lou Gehrig’s disease. Most people would not have done this if not for the charity element.

The power of a good cause is an effective way to get people involved. Back in April of 2014, TriVision hosted the Life After Domestic Violence (LADV) “Phoenix Rising” Charity Gala and Fashion Show at our studio. Both the attendees and staff felt they were having a shared experience among each other and the charitable element turned it into feel-good cause marketing (read more about the event here).

A well-constructed social media plan has no limit to the effect it can have on your business. Did you do the Ice Bucket Challenge?  


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