Pretty much the entire social media universe heard of, if not took part in, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge (yes, us too). It was the one big viral campaign that made everyone everywhere sit up and take notice.

As marketers, we are acutely aware that viral campaigns of this size is a huge win but what’s more important is achieving the financial results – and that’s exactly what the Ice Bucket Challenge did.

So what are the lessons that ‘social media pundits’ everywhere, should take from this?

Keep barriers to entry low

It’s relativity easy to get some ice, bucket and water, most of us now have mobile phones that can capture video and post to social networks. Think the same when building your campaigns, the lower the barrier to entry the more chance you have of getting people to consume it. Also on consumption, the video’s are never really longer than 60 seconds which means they are quick to watch and by there very nature ready to watch on mobile devices. The lower the commitment to consume the better your content will spread, it’s only when your audience get further down the buying cycle you should ask them to commit more time to your content.

The network economy

Simply use it! Target the conversation not the individuals. The ice bucket challenge was great because part of the process has been to share your experience (tipping ice over your head and donating) but also to invite for friends to take part. If you can build that into your campaigns so your audiences are sharing their experiences with their peers, you are onto a low cost WOM winner. Note: the experience need to be good enough to share 🙂

Add urgency

The tiny window of 24 hours to complete the challenge added a fun and exciting element to it. It added immediacy and created anticipation. Anything that goes on for a long period of time loses relevancy and eventually dies out. This stands especially true for viral campaigns as your social media audience probably doesn’t have the time to think about something for a long period of time.

Go back to good old communication 

The art of conversation. Good old ‘word of mouth’. Where there are people and communities, there is the chance to communicate and converse about any topic. Going back to the second point of ‘the network economy’, a sure sign of a successful viral campaign is if people and audiences are talking about it. Lead the conversation, if you must. The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge got people talking. Here’s MOI London, Sydney and Singapore doing the Ice Bucket Challenge.

And yes, we also made a donation. We didn’t get drenched for nothing 🙂

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