The tactic of using social media for event marketing has gone to a new level with ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. The campaign was launched to raise awareness for Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or Lou Gehrig’s disease. Participants had to either pour a bucket full of ice cold water on their heads and post the video on social media and donate $10 to ALS research, or donate $100 if they did not want to participate. It has gone viral since July and many celebrities and world leaders have participated in the challenge. A recent press release published by the ALS Association says that it has received $31.5 million in donations compared to $1.9 million received during the same period (July 29 to August 20) last year. Businesses developing an event to promote their product or boost their brand reputation can adopt the strategy used by this campaign to increase engagement.
Here are some of the characteristics of the Ice Bucket Challenge, which can be applied to your event marketing strategy to make your campaigns viral on social media as suggested by Industry experts.
- Simple and Relevant Campaigns – The success of the ALS campaign is that anyone can participate in the challenge and it does not need any special talent or special resources. So, when you create campaigns to engage people in a unique manner, make it simple so that it will be easily accessible to everyone. By including a hashtag that reflects your cause, you can make your campaigns relevant so as to increase the brand awareness and track the buzz easily. Adding your organization/company name in some form in the hashtag is good (for example, #ALSicebucketchallenge).
- Add Some Entertainment Elements – Since the outcome of the ALS challenge have the potential of being funny, more and more people have shown interest to participate in the challenge. So, including some fun elements along with your campaign will prove effective in capturing the attention of people.
- Focus on a Local Campaign – Rather than going for a national campaign straight away, make it local so that it will be easier to capture the attention of people. The ALS challenge went viral when participants picked up the challenge and took it to their local communities and friends.
- Let Others Talk about Your Event – Instead of taking effort to control the message, enable people to talk about your event. ALS challenge encourages people to tell their own stories such as dedicating their video to a loved one, taking the opportunity to create a memorable occasion with friends and so on. Make your campaigns shareable by adding interesting elements and a call to action (like posting a video on social media in ALS challenges). Consider sharing your campaigns over multiple social platforms. Using videos to show your campaign on social media can really increase the shares.
- Keep it Personal – By asking participants to nominate other people in the ALS challenge, the campaign became personal. When you are challenged by someone, you become accountable to them and to yourself, which makes you accept the challenge. So, people really jump in when you make your campaigns personal.
- Good Timing – As it is summer and a popular time for vacations, the timing of the Ice Bucket Challenge is perfect. The extended hours of sunlight allow people to participate and post their videos. The challenge would not have been well received in winter. So, check whether it is the perfect time before rolling out your campaign.
Don’t create a campaign that is too similar to the ALS Challenge. Instead, draw inspiration from it and develop your own ideas. Taking help from professional social media strategists will surely be worthwhile.