The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

As a social media enthusiast, I’ve been intrigued by the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge sweeping Facebook.  Why has it been so successful?  And what can we learn about using Social Media to drive engagement  for our own products, brands, or causes?  Whether the creators of this challenge knew it or not – I see TWO key tactics they incorporated that resulted in the large number of people taking part and ultimately, driving donations (the business goal) to

1.  The first tactic is to create content that will elicit emotion.  ALS is no laughing matter, but who doesn’t want to see their friends looking silly for a moment  — all with good intentions of helping a worthy cause?  Watching these videos takes you on a mini roller coaster of emotions — you may first laugh at your friends, and then think about a loved one who may have suffered from the disease, and finally become fearful that your name might be tagged to be the next one to take the challenge!  Emotional involvement is key in social media.

2.  The second tactic is that the content was easily created so it could be duplicated and shared over and over (virality!) by anyone.  Who doesn’t have a bucket, ice water, and a friend or family member with a smart phone?  My favorite part  was watching different people’s take on how to do the challenge.  I’ve seen friends in backyards, pools, tubs, and spas — all putting their personal spin on the challenge — and thus making them that more emotionally involved.

As social media pervades marketing more and more, analyzing the campaigns that work well (and don’t work well) will become a critical skill.

I look forward to seeing students in my BUS 152 – Social Media for Business class so we can talk more about this and perhaps, create our OWN fabulous content that goes viral.

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