Social Media Branding and How a Happy Birthday Tune Connects Us All

05/12/2015 09:56 am ET | Updated May 12, 2016

By: Renee Smith

I attended INMAN Connect New York City 2015 where a social media theme tied together three days of topics. Specifically "How to utilize social media and what keeps us ahead of the curve?" During a panel discussion, Rupert Murdoch, CEO of News Corporation, was asked about social media and advertising. He categorically stated social media is not a viable option for ads. Alternatively during another presentation Ryan Serhant, of NestSeekers, stated social media is necessary for branding. Can they both be right?

To fully understand lets travel in time to the invention of television. That innovative box transformed the 20th Century. Television can be traced back to 1884 when a 23 year old German student named Paul Julius Gottlieb Nipkow patented the Nipkow Disk. By 1927 the black and white TV made its debut in San Francisco but it wasn't until the late 1940s that commercial television as we know it today become widely used. This history discussion highlights two important lessons about how humans connect and communicate. One: television did not put print and radio out of business. Humans like to communicate in multiple mediums. Two: moving images share subconscious messages unlike words or still images. For example how the 1981 launch of MTV and music videos changed how sound and musicians were branded. One might argue that the cultural popularity of MTV contributed to the stardom of Madonna.

In today's culture social media is center stage as a leading source of entertainment. This world of 140 characters, captured private moments and 15 second video clips highlights how humans connect and why branding is a multi-billion dollar industry. Humans view the world as multi-dimensional. So social media connection allows for social interaction with strangers to close confidants in a never before intimacy and the creation of these social impressions or personal branding are best done with images.

Now branding is not to be confused with advertising. Mr. Murdoch and Mr. Serhant were right. Advertising and branding have different goals even if at times subtly. In an advertisement, the product or service is front and center for the recipient. The advertising message is: our product will fulfill this need in your life and here it is. Direct. Social media is self-descriptive. It is designed and perpetuated by the human need to be "social."It does not welcome blatant advertising. Social media lends itself to "social listening" which is the creation of discussion that reflects culture. This discussion is why Inman Connect emphasized social media's importance in following cultural trends.

To create a brand you are creating an image of the product whereby when someone hears the brand name it invokes subconscious positive acceptance. Branding tends to be developed over a series of mediums and time to create a "feel" for the product. That is why radio, print, television and now internet all exist even if their influence has changed to find new places in culture.

In 2015 videos are very effective in combining multiple forms of entertainment to create a brand impression over the social media vehicles. Twitter just added video. That speaks volumes as to the need for video in the creation of your brand. To demonstrate the point here is a video "What is Branding?". The video moves words by the viewer's eyes combining reading with entertainment all while music is playing. Creating a multi-dimensional pleasant experience while educating. Yes, videos can make education fun or in this case make understanding branding fun for the recipient.

Video can tell a story, reveal a message, describe a personality and engage the viewer at a deeper level all at the same time. So how can you integrate videos into your business?

Here are the four steps to video branding:

1. Keep it simple. This doesn't mean disorganized or unplanned. Simple means simple message organized and orchestrated to reach the viewer on many levels

2. Accurate reflection of the product, service or person. Videos are a more honest medium than words. Subtle messages are revealed and interrupted. Silent movies made theater goers laugh without a spoken word.

3. Transferrable. If you want to reach more than one viewer you need to make sure the message, the scene, the subtitles and the lighting will engage the largest amount of viewers and viewpoints. However, don't subsume to tunnel vision. Review how a negative viewpoint may be interpreted. We have all heard of large corporate brands failing at social media attempts by "missing the forest for the trees" and not seeing obvious downsides to a campaign.

4. Make it entertaining. It's called "social" media for a reason. It's a cocktail party, county fair, and neighborhood barbecue. Not a board room, class room or text book.In the enlightened words of Mary Poppins make sure there is a "spoon full of sugar if you want your message to go down."

What event connects every person no matter where they live in the world, whatever their background is or language they speak? Every person is born and therefore he/she has a birthday. To condense that into your business, what 3 minute marketing video could you create that would reach every one of your customers on a personal level? A birthday video. Who hasn't heard the tune "Happy Birthday"? I will leave you with a link to my branding video created to bring Happy Birthday cheer and share a personal side of myself with the viewer. When you watch it list what impressions you have about my brand and my person through the images and what would you do if it was your birthday branding video.

Attorney Renee Marie Smith speaker and author of "My Guru's" book series and she is nationally published in NAWRB Magazine, Palm Beach Woman, Women's Council of Realtors PB quarterly, Huffington Post, Mortgage.Orb and Forbes. @mygurupublishes