Yesterday, I talked about the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and how we can let it inspire us to start a habit of philanthropy. But now, I want to talk about how the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge matters to entrepreneurs.
At this point in time, you or someone you know have been nominated to do the Ice Bucket Challenge. This expresses one remarkable, if simple, point: this social media experiment is working. As far as this year goes, the ALS Association’s fundraiser is successful. With over a million more donors and 68 million more bucks, this year is far surpassing the last—and it’s only August. While only time will tell what the long-term effect will be for the ALS Association’s donor count, we can learn from their current success. The bucket challenge has at least three take aways for us.
- The ALS Association understood today’s culture and creatively developed a fund-raising plan. One of the keys to being a successful entrepreneur is to be a diligent listener. I can’t emphasize this enough. Only by listening to your target market will you be able to cater to them. Whenever I’m approached in the microfinance world, I’m always looking to see if the possible client has been listening and observing their market. That’s when I know how serious they are about their venture. So listen to your target market. Then think outside the box, or find someone else who will, as you develop your strategy.
- They utilized the most basic form of advertising, word of mouth. There are two reasons word of mouth is a successful advertising scheme: A. It creates a sense of community. B. It creates a sense of trust. If a group bands together in something, the bond is going to instill brand loyalty. And if someone sees a trusted friend advertising a brand, they are instantly more likely to trust that brand themselves. What the ALS Association has done is monopolized on this loyalty. It looks like a pyramid scheme, except that no one is being cheated at the end of the day. Impress or excite your market so that they go tell their friends. Come up with incentives for spreading the word. Be creative.
- They knowledgeably spread their campaign through social media platforms. From crowdfunding through Kickstarter or gaining followers on Twitter, you’ve got to get in the social media game. Start out professional. Go ahead and make that professional Facebook page and that Twitter account. Clean up your LinkedIn. Follow hashtags and trends. Friend people/organizations you feel a commonality with or feel you could market to. Respond to every interaction in some way. By staying up on what the on-line world is up to, you keep up with the world.
Business has changed a lot in my lifetime. And the key is to keep up with the times. How are you using social media to market your venture?
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