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What your company can learn from the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

By Lisa Goldsberry

30944890_sUse PR to increase the success of your next campaign

You saw them by the thousands. Famous and regular folks alike were voluntarily having friends and family dump buckets of ice water on their heads. Perhaps you even participated yourself, like Axia Public Relations’ own intrepid CEO Jason Mudd. Yes, the ALS Association’s Ice Bucket Challenge was most certainly a successful social media campaign.

Surely CEOs all over the country are kicking themselves and scratching their heads, wondering why they can’t come up with such a fun, viral, show-stopping idea for their companies. If you are also seeking your next great campaign, look no further than the right PR firm.

More about the Ice Bucket Challenge

In case you missed it, the Ice Bucket Challenge was a social media campaign jump-started by three young men suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, designed to raise awareness about the illness. During the challenge, participants filmed themselves dumping buckets of ice water on their heads and challenging other friends and family to do the same or donate funds. The videos were then posted to social media sites. Some of the campaign highlights include:

  • The organization raised more than $220 million from donors in the U.S. and abroad to help fight ALS (the association’s entire yearly operating budget when the campaign started was $25 million).

  • Approximately two million people made their first donations to the ALS Association as a direct result of the campaign.

  • The ALS Association’s “likes” on Facebook jumped from 30,000 to 300,000. Their daily website traffic went from 20,000 to 4.5 million at the peak of the event.

  • Numerous celebrities, such as Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey and Tom Ford, were among the participants.

Four aspects of the Ice Bucket Challenge that worked and how they can help your campaigns

Not every social media campaign goes viral, but they can be used to boost your visibility and get people involved with the activities of your brand. Getting consumers to participate is a great way to retain customers, generate leads and increase profitability; but only if you do it correctly.

1. The ALS Association wanted to raise funds and awareness of the fact that ALS is not just an elderly person’s disease. The Ice Bucket Challenge helped them to drive traffic to their website where visitors could learn more.

Make sure your campaign aligns with your strategic goals. Creating an imaginative campaign that doesn’t really connect with your company is like producing a fascinating report and not putting your name on it. People will remember the event and not you.  

2. One of the reasons for the success of the Ice Bucket Challenge was its uniqueness.

Make it interesting. Think beyond discounts and registration for prizes. Look to your buyer personas and determine what would interest them the most. Perhaps a day with the CEO or access to exclusive content would attract them more than a sweepstakes.

3. The Ice Bucket Challenge took advantage of how the ALS’ target audiences use social media to post videos and share information with followers.

Make it personal. True customer engagement starts with conversations and building relationships, and you should extend this to your campaigns. Allow customers to share stories with you, such as showing the most creative ways they’ve used your product or how your services changed a life for the better.

4. Dumping water on your head is simple.

Make it easy. Don’t create numerous steps or require specific expertise for customers to participate. The fewer obstacles in the way, the more likely they are to join and share.

You can make all of this easier by having a great PR firm at your side. At Axia Public Relations, we will help you develop a social media content strategy to increase outreach and advance your vision. In addition, we have the right tools to measure progress and determine success. For more information, contact us today or download our e-book, The Essential Social Media Management Guide.

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Lisa-G-Color-SMLisa Goldsberry is a writer for Axia Public Relations with more than 15 years of public relations experience. She specializes in business and technology PR. Lisa has worked with Axia since December 2013. Connect with Axia Public Relations on Twitter at @axiapr.







Featured image credit: 123rf.com


Topics: public relations, shared media

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