The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge: 3 Lessons In Social Media Strategy

By Bob Hutchins | Small Business

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge: 3 Lessons In Social Media Strategy image IceBucketThe ALS Ice Bucket Challenge: 3 Lessons In Social Media StrategyIn the world of non-profit digital marketing, it’s common to give users two outs in your CTA: donate time/money or “share” and raise awareness for the issue. The ALS Association’s “Ice Bucket Challenge” has almost inverted those priorities. In case you’ve somehow missed this social media trend, people are nominating their friends to either donate $100 to ALS or dump a bucket of ice water on their heads (and post a video of the event). They have 24 hours to make a decision.

The diverse list of celebrity participants could fill the Kodak Theatre: Bill Gates, Lady Gaga, Lebron James, Justin Bieber, Ethel Kennedy, and others. And, in case you think it’s all just fun and games, let the record stand that the ALS Association has raised $15.6 million since July 29 – compared to just $1.8 million for the same time period last year.

3 Social Media Strategy Lessons

What social media strategy lessons can be gleaned from this online campaign? These lessons will always apply for non-profit digital marketing:

#1 Encourage grassroots efforts. The Ice Bucket Challenge wasn’t started by the ALS Association. In fact, it didn’t have any association with ALS when it first started. (Read the full story here.) However, the ALS has fully embraced the movement and created content like Facebook profile pictures and Twitter cover images to support participants. While brand advocates started the campaign, ALS has jumped in to hold the reins.

#2 Awareness is better than nothing. The Ice Bucket Challenge has been on the receiving end of a lot of criticism for a number of reasons. For one, dumping ice on your head is an alternative to donating money (i.e. “real” change). Secondly, many critics believe that most people who take the challenge aren’t even aware of what amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is. But, in my opinion, getting a lot of people actively involved in your brand – even if they’re not sure what the real cause is – is far better than nothing. Even if a small fraction of those who see your non-profit do something about the cause, that small fraction is still valuable.

#3 Gain celebrity traction. This social media strategy lesson is easier said than done. One reason why the Ice Bucket Challenge has been so wildly successful is that it’s been popularized by celebrity acceptance. In developing your own non-profit digital marketing strategy, I recommend investing some of your time and budget in finding active local celebrities who can push your message and help gain support.

What Social Media Strategy Lessons Have You Learned?

What’s the ALS Association Ice Bucket Challenge taught you? What did you think you knew about social media beforehand? How did the Ice Bucket Challenge change that or reinforce that?

This article was syndicated from Business 2 Community: The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge: 3 Lessons In Social Media Strategy

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