I was scrolling through Facebook today and I saw a myriad of articles shared by my friends and family. I am lucky to be surrounded by people who share the same morals as me. But as someone who studies communications, I can't help but look at these through a skewed lens. They have me thinking about what campaigns made a lasting impression on me, and here's a hint, they didn't come from the articles that my second cousin shared to my Facebook profile.
One that comes to mind is the ice bucket challenge, which was a campaign used to raise awareness for ALS. The concept was that you pour a bucket of ice water on your head and challenge your friends to do the same. If they refuse, they have to donate money to the ALS association. This is a cool idea because it encourages action other than sharing a link, and it gives people an excuse to challenge their friends to do something uncomfortable. The campaign was very successful in my mind because I actually remembered what it was and what it was about, which is more than I can say for any of the articles I scrolled by in my feed today.
For my class we are reading a novel called Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath. This book tells us a formula for how to make ideas stick, like the ice bucket challenge, instead of fall into the background. One of the most important rules they teach us is simplicity. Simplicity is especially important when you are dealing with social media marketing. People are scrolling, scrolling, scrolling and if they see something complicated it's likely they're not going to take the time to figure it out. A lot of people don't even read the articles they share online, they just agree with the caption and click share. Something useful in social media marketing is creating content that is as simple as the headline of an article. Something concise that captures the essence of what your brand is trying to convey is great click bait.
I think the ice bucket challenge uses the concept of simplicity incredibly well. If you are on your social media feed and you see a video of your friend pouring ice cold water on their head, you're gonna want to watch. It's like a game of truth or dare and the rules are simple, you either endure freezing cold liquids, or you lose a few bucks to a good cause. Campaigns like this leave lasting impressions because there are not a lot of details you have to remember about them, you just need to know the essence.
Simple rules, simple message, huge success.