Why #IceBucketChallenge And #ShareACoke Were Big Social Winners For 2014
December 9, 2014
This past summer, many of us saw videos from the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge flood our Facebook news Feeds. And many of us personally participated in the phenomenon.
The Ice Bucket Challenge was started by Pete Frates, a former Division I college athlete that has been living with ALS since 2012.
His goal was to simply raise awareness for ALS, the neurodegenerative disorder also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. Little did he know what was about to happen next.
Three million people jumped in to help his quest for attention to this cause.
And for most of us, it was fun to watch our family, friends, colleagues, celebrities, former presidents, and even the world's most fascinating man, Dave Grohl, accept the challenge.
But there was a vocal minority, some that work in radio, trying to diminish the good vibe that came from the "Ice Bucket Challenge."
They complained that the campaign was "taking away from other charities" (There's no such thing as funding cannibalism - we're a generous country and will always give).
The cynics that bothered me the most, however, were the ones that tried to "shame" folks that openly participated in the challenge. They would share passive aggressive posts that said things like, "I donate without having to tell the world."
Well, besides the fact those "digs" would contradict how they "donate in private," the whole idea of raising awareness organically is to get as many people as you can to talk about it, right? There should have been no shaming in the challenge.
Dismissing the "Ice Bucket Challenge" (or anything like this in the future) misses the big picture.
Aside from the monetary donations and heightened visibility of Lou Gehrig's disease, the "challenge" offered radio invaluable lessons.
- It was a peek into how your audience uses social media.
- It shows the power of social when the message is less about you and more about a purpose, something to get behind.
- The best campaigns right now fully involve people, not brands directly.
Look at Coca-Cola's #ShareACoke movement. Coca-Cola targeted Millennials by taking Gen Y's 250 most popular first names and slapping them on their iconic bottles.
The end result was not just great awareness but Coca-Cola reversed a decade long decline in U.S. Coke consumption as soft-drink sales rose over 2 percent during this campaign.
They simply came at this promotion from that generation's way of thinking. And regardless of who you target -- when our approach to content and campaigns is from the fans' point of view -- it will always be the stuff that resonates -- those unexpectedly, cool moments.
Many of our challenges right now aren't about technology but rather understanding the social dynamics of how people participate today.
It's not about our agendas; what we want to say, or what we want to do. It's about always learning what it is the fans want to hear; what moves them into action.
Dismissing the way people use social in favor of self-indulgent promotions is as brand erosive as bad breaks. Over time, the audience becomes fatigued and unmoved. In short, they become passive fans.
And there is no value in a passive social fan base.
In order to keep the fans involved in 2015, ask how you're fully involving them in campaigns. Are they the star -- or are you?
If you make them the star, your message can go far.
Reach out to me anytime on Twitter @lorilewis.
Please enjoy MERGE archives here.