Social media: The soap opera of the digital age?

Over 50 years ago, P&G created soap operas to help promote their brands like Duz and Oxydol. As television viewership declines in Canada and Internet usage and social media consumption increases, it doesn’t surprise me that more and more brands are creating content on blogs and YouTube channels/videos to help entertain and inform a new breed of customers.

The medium has definitely changed – consumers are no longer passively absorbing messages but rather actively participating in the brand’s story. However, the opportunity to create exciting content that resonates and builds credibility and trust with customers is actually not that different. It’s just that there are now a myriad of tools to use to help build the story and take it in new directions.

In addition, consumers have become enthralled with watching the lives of people in their network via tools like LinkedIn (where they’re working), Facebook (who they’re dating) and Twitter (what they’re reading or doing at that very moment).

Now, more than ever, brands have the opportunity to create their own media properties or publish their own content – while inviting participation from the customer.

Here are just a few examples of what I consider to be the new “soap operas” of the digital age:

1. Skittles touch campaign
– A series of videos hosted on YouTube which invite the user to touch the screen and participate in a bit of a quirky, yet entertaining situation

2. Tippex Whiteout
– An interactive video which invites the audience to determine what a hunter should do next when he encounters a bear in the woods

If you don’t have the production budgets of big brands, even simple blogs can be used as ways to entice customers to learn about your brand. Get creative, you can use just simple photos or text (the most common method) as a way to tell a story. For inspiration, check out The Rock Soap Opera – a daily soap opera featuring rocks. Get creative and use the tools at your disposal to invite customers into your brand’s daily soap opera.

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