The challenge is one of the most successful viral fundraisers this year and, though it wasn't orchestrated by a marketing department, there are several take-aways for hospital marketers who are considering an interactive social campaign.
1.Play to Human Nature
While I'm sure many people participating in the challenge would like to give credit to their altruistic nature, much of the campaign's success comes down to the fact that people like posting about themselves on social media. The Ice Bucket Challenge not only lets social users upload an amusing photo or video of themselves, but they get to say they're doing it in the name of a good cause.
So, with any viral campaign, it's critical to consider what the participant gets out of it. Are they entered into a raffle if they post a photo of their healthy meal? Will the hospital Twitter account re-tweet everyone who checks-in to the blood drive? Will the most creative reimagining of your logo win a prize?
By considering the motivations of social media users when crafting the campaign and incentivizing accordingly, you will likely improve user participation and help ensure the campaign's success.
2. Maintain Strong Branding
The Ice Bucket Challenge is also successful because each participant is prompted to state in his or her video or photo that they have accepted the challenge to raise money and awareness for ALS research.
It might seem like an obvious step, but otherwise this campaign could quickly have become an Internet trend of people posting videos of themselves doused in ice water because it's summer and everyone else is doing it. (If you're skeptical, take a moment to familiarize yourself with the "Selfie Olympics")