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5 Things Your Community Theatre Can Learn From The ALS #IceBucketChallenge

CC Image by slgckgc
CC Image by slgckgc

Love it or hate it, the ALS #IceBucketChallenge has taken the social media world by storm. Everyone from Matt Damon to your grandmother has participated and people are taking note! But you’re probably wondering why you’re reading about it here…what exactly does this have to do with your community theatre troupe or performing arts organization?

Well, much like our previous article about #TDThanksYou there are a few key elements that can successfully serve present or future performing arts marketing plans for community theatres. But first let’s take a quick look at the #IceBucketChallenge statistics!

100 million – The reported dollar amount of donations received by the ALS Association as of Friday, August 29th

4.4 million – Splashscore’s calculated amount of #IceBucketChallenge tweets

3 million – The reported amount of ALS Ice Bucket Challenge donors

694,950 – Iconosquare’s calculated amount of #ALSIceBucketChallenge posts on Instagram
31 – The number of days in which the ALS Association has received these donations

The numbers pretty much speak for themselves. This group fund-raising effort has been wildly successful in ways that the ALS Association couldn’t even begin to imagine. But what is it that has made this social media campaign so effective?

5 Key Elements of #ALSIceBucketChallenge

  1. Widespread participation. The wonderful thing about this social media campaign is that anyone, anywhere can take part. All you need is an icy bucket of water and a device capable of taking a short video. Zero skill-level required!
  2. The fun factor. What’s more fun than dumping an icy bucket of water over your head? Watching your friends do it also! Many of the videos made for the #IceBucketChallenge have been highly amusing. Never underestimate the provocative power of fun.
  3. Exponential growth. In completing the challenge, most people then nominate three more people to complete the challenge. It doesn’t take a mathematician to realize that this nomination set-up rapidly increases the chances of extensive social media dominance.
  4. A good cause and powerful message. Amongst the silly, ridiculously entertaining icy dunks that have taken place, there are also a handful of touching, intensely personal videos (such as this one). These videos have really helped to enlighten those that didn’t know much about ALS, and put a face to this relatively unknown disease.
  5. Cross-platform social media campaign. The #ALSIceBucketChallenge appeared on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. It hit the “biggies” in the social media world, and therefore practically spread like wildfire. The consistency in using the #ALSIceBucketChallenge and the #IceBucketChallenge hashtags also helped to propel the campaign forward.

There’s no denying that it will be pretty difficult to replicate the unprecedented success of this social media campaign, but the above-mentioned elements can most certainly be used to help you and your performing arts organization’s marketing plan. Keep these elements in mind and you might just see some pretty amazing results!



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