For the past few weeks it’s been impossible to ignore the viral success of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.

People have been drenching themselves with ice cold water to raise awareness for a great cause (ALS or Motor Neurone Disease) and that in itself has helped raise over £2 million in the UK, and considerably more across the pond in the US (a reported $100 million). With the likes of Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates and Apple’s CEO Tim Cook, as well as a host of Hollywood A-Listers, all getting on board and helping to raise awareness (and donating), it’s no wonder it was such a success. But is there anything we can learn from this?

We think so.

As well as illustrating the power of social media perfectly, if we look a bit closer we can pick up some tips and look at why this sensation went viral, along with some of the factors that made it work so well. This might help you with future ideas or it might help you identify the next viral success.

1. It’s simple and anyone can do it
Anyone can get a bucket, ice and water and then throw it over themselves, so there is nothing complex about taking part in this. You don’t need anything more than a smartphone to film it, then upload it to Social Media and tag your friends.

2. It’s self-propagating
It has exponential growth as 1 person nominates 3 (or more in some cases) friends or colleagues to take part, so it has the ability to grow very quickly.

3. It is for a good cause
Whether people like to admit it or not, we like to feel that we’re doing something good; that we’re doing our part, and it has to be said, in a lot of cases we are. But the point is, whether people donate or not, they are still raising awareness for the cause, which is exactly what the campaign was meant to do in the first place.

4. It is a marketing opportunity
And last but not least, it’s a good marketing opportunity. But, using something like the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge as marketing is a fine line to tread. Bill Gates showed everyone how to use this as an opportunity to market a product in his video and countless people have written about it, much like we’re doing now. However, you do not need to blatantly push a product to use these kind of events to help promote you or your business. Whether it’s performing the challenge in your work uniform, as your business or even in front of your offices, there are a host of indirect ways you can get your brand and business into the spotlight, whilst remaining true to the intended spirit of the event.

Another important aspect that we think has been highlighted, is that this sensation has shown in spectacular fashion that video content doesn’t have to cost the earth or be high quality in order to be an effective tool. People have effectively raised millions for this cause just using their smart phones and social media.

So on that note, as well as making a donation here is a slightly shorter edit of my challenge, and yes, yes it was very cold…

Visit www.mndassociation.org to find out more and make a donation.

And if you’ve not been nominated yet then I nominate you too!