ALS-Challenge-Lessons-to-learn-for-social-media-marketing
September 8th, 2014

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge: A Social Media Sensation

by Rachel Nell

From your next-door neighbor to the president of the United States, the ALS ice bucket challenge is spreading like wild fire. To many, this challenge may look like a passing fad, but it’s so much more. It’s a way to make a positive contribution, and get others excited to participate in a worthy cause and spread awareness. We’re here to talk about a few things: the reasoning behind the challenge, and how and why this challenge, without initially meaning to, has become a social media phenomenon.

Before we delve into this genius social media strategy, let’s get a little a bit of background on the cause. The ALS ice bucket challenge is simple and unexpected, with an element of humor that makes it memorable. But most importantly, it brings awareness to a disease that affects thousands each year. ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) is an incurable, progressive deterioration of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that weakens the muscles. Pete Frates, the face behind the challenge, is a 29-year-old Massachusetts resident who started discussing his ALS diagnosis on social media. His family and friends began spreading awareness about his condition, and, eventually, 200 Boston residents doused themselves in water to raise awareness. The concept quickly went viral.

Here’s how the challenge works: those nominated must make a video of themselves dumping a bucket of ice cold water on their heads and donate any amount to ALSA within 24 hours. You must then challenge three people to do the same on social media. The only way to avoid this fate is to donate $100 to ALSA.

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

You may have noticed your Facebook feed displaying one ice bucket challenge video after another. And you may or may not have already been nominated to donate to the cause. The challenge has become a social marketing sensation for individuals and businesses alike. Businesses of all types are using the ice bucket challenge to heighten their brand awareness and even challenge other businesses. If you’re wondering how this challenge could help your business socially, let’s look at the benefits.

Millions of people are posting videos of their ice bucket experience on social networks. Facebook users have posted over 2.4 million videos. And the volume of tweets including the hashtag #IceBucketChallenge has reached 90,000. The challenge just keeps growing! While this cause and challenge in particular may not be a fit for your business, it’s worth noting the impact such a campaign could have on your business. Your audience will notice if you post or tweet something related to ALS. By joining in on the conversation, your followers realize that you are just like them—that you’re aware of what is going on, it means something to you too, and that you also want to give something back to the community. It’s a chance for your business to connect with individuals on a personal level, while also enhancing your brand’s perception through philanthropic efforts.

The ice bucket challenge also gives your company the opportunity to rise above its competition. Some companies haven’t yet integrated social media into their overall marketing strategy, much less thought about taking the ice bucket challenge. Just think—by posting a video of your entire staff completing the ice bucket challenge, you’re opening up the door to challenge some of your own followers as well as your staff’s. Now you’re actively engaging with your audience and continuing the challenge.

Whether you own a small business or work for one, it’s always a good idea to keep in mind ways you can increase your brand awareness. If it’s a fit for your company, there is still time to incorporate the ice bucket challenge into your social media strategy. And if you miss the opportunity, it’s okay—a new viral campaign is just waiting to emerge. If you’re ready to start a new social media campaign, or just need help refining your existing efforts, Sage Island can help. Our marketing team can implement tactics that are sure to get your followers’ attention. Contact us today to find out how we can increase exposure for your brand.