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Viral Marketing: The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Phenomenon

August 21, 2014

Business advice for women entrepreneurs and small business owners


You have seen it everywhere….the buzz, the videos, the ice buckets. If you ever wondered how viral marketing works or how to create a viral marketing reaction, you can witness it in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge sweeping the nation now. I have seen stars like Justin Timberlake, athletes like Derek Jeter and whole teams like the Cortland State Football Team partake in the icy challenge.

I was nominated and participated in the challenge last week for a couple reasons: I was nominated by one of my customers, my son graduated from Boston College where Pete Frates, another BC alum, and the inspiration behind the challenge began, and because I have a SUNY Oswego college classmate suffering from ALS.

If you follow my business blog you know I always find entrepreneurial inspiration in everyday occurrences. The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has motivated me to highlight simple business advice for other women entrepreneurs to use to gain similar attention and goodwill for their own companies like it’s done for the ALS Foundation. Here are the tips:

* No matter how serious your business products or services are to the community, use fun, engaging and shareable marketing campaigns to get them talking about your company or mission. It doesn’t take more than a bucket of ice, some water and creativity to create a fun and memorable marketing campaign.

* Social media marketing tools like Facebook and Twitter are excellent ways to engage your followers and friends to share your message with others. Like anything else in life, you have to “ask” for the help in sharing your news. Don’t be afraid to promote business news, helpful information for consumers, and fun tidbits to help the community on social media. If you don’t ask, you won’t have anyone helping you.

* Reflect on other unique ways you can create a “buzz” about your business. Think about what matters to your customers when it comes to what you do for them and what you offer and then play with some ideas. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to create a buzz, you need inspiration.

I have loved Boston College for a number of reasons and to me the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is also about Pete Frates and its alumni doing something great to “light the world on fire.” In this case, it was done with ice.

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