dollar bucketWe’ve all heard of it, some have done it and the number of people that actually know what it’s for is somewhere in between those two.

Although there are debates that the Ice Bucket Challenge is a cry for attention or a waste of water among others, the viral campaign to raise awareness for ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or Lou Gehrig’s Disesase) has successfully raised $79.7 million dollars instead of the previous $2.5 million last year. With the international challenge morphing to dumping dirt on your head, not only did the campaign work, it worked extremely well.

This has been a marketer’s dream. Sure sometimes the message was lost or it became an if/then deal, but the organization came out on top in the end. The ice bucket challenge can be a lesson in viral mobile marketing for organizations and brands around the world.

Out of the millions of videos taken with people dumping ice, I would be willing to bet that 99% of these were taken on smartphones or tablets. The average person spends 2.5 hours on a cell phone every day and recording is easy when everything you need is in your pocket. Video recording? Check. Instant upload? Check. Tagging others via social media? Check. Instant notification of the likes, retweets and shares? Check, check, check.

Brands have a big chance here to ride the wave of social sharing and instant gratification. Recently, Coke gained a lot of attention from their #ShareaCoke campaign via social media (even a pregnancy announcement). Customers don’t want to put a lot of work into your cause or brand for some likes but they’ll do a little. Mobile phones turn that little into a whole lot more.

How? It takes a delicate recipe of easy, trendy and useful to make something happen. By offering people a chance to participate in something bigger just by doing a little right here and right now, marketers are opening up a world of opportunities.

Imagine this: a customer walks into your store and gets an alert via your mobile app to do something fun — taste-test the new frozen yogurt flavor, instantly take a picture of the brainfreeze and upload it with #GoFroYo for a $1 coupon redeemable today only. The individual already has some of the ingredients for your recipe to be a success: a smart phone that’s connected via cellular or WiFi and, most importantly, inside your store right now. Why not give a reward they want to share? You bring in more business and the customer has a fun picture to change up their usual selfies — it’s a win win.

The chance to do good can continue with your new social media popularity through partnerships. People enjoy feeling good, so you could take it a step further and donate a percentage of their now guaranteed purchase to an organization. #FroYoWish for Make a Wish? Now everyone wins.

Mobile phones can empower individuals, create relevant marketing and promote the greater good all at the same time. Using information available to you, your new location-based marketing campaign may just stick around for a while.