» Subscribe Today!
More of what you want to know.
The Daily News
X

Forgot your password?
Skip Navigation LinksHome >
VOL. 129 | NO. 167 | Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Lori Turner

Lori Turner-Wilson

Ice Bucket Challenge Spotlights Viral Video Power

By Lori Turner-Wilson

Print | Front Page | Email this story | Comments ()

Perhaps one of the greatest viral phenomena – the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge – has dominated social media channels for the past month, raising an impressive $70 million to date, compared to $2.5 million typically raised by the nonprofit during the same time period.

What’s more, the campaign attracted more than 1.3 million new donors. These are astounding numbers for a one-month fundraising campaign promoted largely via social media with what can only be assumed was a relatively small campaign budget.

While you can’t count on replicating any viral marketing success – as that would require all of the planets aligning in just the same way – there are certainly lessons learned you can apply toward your organization’s marketing strategy.

The Ice Bucket Challenge was a guerrilla strategy known as viral marketing. It’s an electronic form of buzz marketing, where your message passes from person to person without your direct involvement. It’s the technological equivalent of word-of-mouth advertising. So what makes one attempted viral campaign, such as the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, more successful than another?

There are four basic messaging strategies that have a higher-than-average likelihood of viral success: incentive driven (something in it for the person sharing), entertainment based, cause related or controversial in nature.

You’re looking for a built-in incentive for the average social media user to be motivated enough to share your content in light of the vast volume of material vying for their attention every day. The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge was both cause-related and entertainment-based, making it doubly enticing for social media users to share – and they did just that, in droves.

It was certainly that entertainment and cause combo which made it appealing to celebrities. Taking the challenge allowed them to entertain with a charitable twist – a bit of self-promotion that didn’t necessarily come across as self-serving.

Plus, video has the ability to more deeply engage users than static photos ever did, as it’s simply more of an experience. It was only recently that video became a mainstream form of content on Facebook. If Facebook hadn’t changed their newsfeed to automatically play video, without any user interaction, the campaign might have fizzled out.

Lastly, this ALS fundraising campaign was simple to understand. It didn’t require much back-story, and it resonated with those of all walks of life. Most everyone can empathize with the life-altering diagnosis of a deadly disease.

In the end, the social chain reaction realized from the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge was the result of a perfect storm – the right message simply communicated through a highly engaging channel at a time when video content is receiving unprecedented social attention.

Lori Turner-Wilson is an award-winning columnist and CEO/Founder of RedRover, a sales training and marketing firm based in Memphis, redrovercompany.com. You can follow RedRover on Twitter (@redrovercompany and @loriturner) and Facebook (facebook.com/redrovercompany).

Sign-Up For Our Free Email Edition
Get the news first with our daily email


 
Blog Get more from The Daily News
Blog News, Training & Events
RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 81 301 17,656
MORTGAGES 101 347 22,998
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 38 76 4,504
BUILDING PERMITS 208 722 41,947
BANKRUPTCIES 61 237 16,629
BUSINESS LICENSES 11 61 5,762
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 60 256 25,125
MARRIAGE LICENSES 14 80 5,365

Weekly Edition

Issues | About

The Memphis News: Business, politics, and the public interest.