My Zen of Social Media Marketing Journey
Shama Kabani’s book The Zen of Social Media: An Easier Way to Build Credibility, Generate Buzz, and Increase Revenue was printed as a third edition in the Spring of 2013. I am fortunate to have followed the journey of the book from e-book to the third edition.
I’m not quite sure how long that social media has been a vital part of business marketing, but I have been reading and listening to Shama Hyder Kabani since 2009.
When I launched my website, dfwfootball.net, I looked for cost effective ways to generate traffic. I came across dfwreporting.com, and through Chris Ghanbari, I found Shama’s website, her company and Shama.tv.
I was captivated.
I had already been given advice to use social media, but she took it to a whole other level with the idea of strategies, tools and other new ideas, hence, social media marketing.
I bought her e-book, The Zen of Social Media Marketing: An Easier Way to Build Credibility, Generate Buzz, and Increase Revenue. If you noticed, yes, that is same title of her current, printed version.
In 2010, shortly after I moved back home to Arkansas, the once e-book became a printed book. I remember all of the excitement from Shama and her team as the book was becoming a reality. Since then, I have gotten a copy of each edition. The second printed edition, was published in 2012, and now, the third edition has just been printed this past Spring.
I am grateful that her publisher has been willing to send me copies to review and write about. This is my disclaimer for you, the reader. I am happy to write about the book and have recommended whenever possible.
Truth is, if I was asked to do a seminar on social media, the chore for my presentation would come from Shama’s book.
She has the credibility and her ideas have been verified in the business marketplace. Many other social media experts I read agree with her on so many of her points, maybe knowingly, or maybe not. Nevertheless, it gives further verification of her expertise in the area of social media marketing.
Here is a case in point.
Shama recommends that your website be your online home base in her book. She explains that we do not own our social media profiles. She wrote this in beginning with her first edition, her e-book. She has been saying this for at least four years.
One of my other favorite social media experts, Copyblogger (Brian Clark, Sonia Simone and company), talks about social media being digital sharecropping, a temporary location whereas your website is your property and should be your home base. Copyblogger and Shama say the same thing, and both are uber successful in the online world.
Since the book has been published, Shama is everywhere. She has been interviewed for TV, podcasts, magazine articles, given the title of “an online marketing shaman and a millennial master of the universe” by Fast Compnay and been invited to speak in numerous events. Further, she has been given several honors including Top 25 under 25 entrepreneurs in North America (Businessweek), 10 Most Influential and Powerful Women in Social Media and a Top 30 under 30 entrepreneurs (Entrepreneur magazine). There are more awards and recognitions; just Google “Shama.”
Finally, the ultimate way you know she has credibility is that she was interviewed on the infamous dfwfootball radio show. 😉 Okay, it was a show I hosted, and I was fortunate to have her as a guest!
Zen of Social Media 2013
With the 2013 edition, I am going to address three things: 1) Why write a new edition? 2) What kind of changes did I see? and 3) What would I like to see?
Why write a new edition?
Social media is an emerging field. Ultimately, it is a subset of technology. The reason for that is that all of these social media websites are built on the latest technology. As a result, technology changes, almost daily. Therefore, all of these social media websites, and applications, change, it seems like, monthly.
One things that has changed is hashtags are used on Facebook now. That was something that has rolled out this week. Every year, Facebook makes significant changes. Linkedin has changed, twitter has changed, and the list goes on. Simply follow Mashable and you can keep up with the changes. Okay, so it’s not that easy to keep up, but Mashable will help.
Changes in the book
I have observed some changes in the book from last year, although I may have missed some others.
The first thing I noticed was a new chapter. Chapter five is called “Identity Before Community: Why Most Companies Fail at Social Media Marketing.” I really can’t recall Shama communicating this thought as succinctly in her earlier editions. She clarifies something that needs to clarified, and it is true when creating content for websites as well.
She explains in the chapter that in social media, users are interested in expressing their personal identity first. While users do crave community, it is through recognizing our own identity and the commonalities in others. Users kind of look at their social media profiles like a mirror, or, like a high schooler decorating their locker.
This chapter was created as if Shama was taking a breath and saying, “Okay guys, here is what you are missing about social media users.” It is based on her research in grad school. I really wish this is something I picked a long time ago.
The second thing I noticed is she updated her Facebook section to include the use of Timelines. This was one of my feedbacks about last year’s addition, but, as I mentioned, Facebook came out with the Timelines after the book went to press. I was glad to see this update.
The last thing I noticed, that stood out, is the use of discussion questions at the end of the book to help generate engagement. This could be helpful in actual planning sessions with other members of your marketing team.
What I would like to see
I am sure Shama will publish a new edition in the next couple of years. With that being said, these are some things I would like to see in the new book.
Continue to go over the Facebook changes! I love that she updates that, and they have already made changes with the use of hashtags. Hashtags are something other social media platforms are incorporating as well. This is a very real twitter influence.
I would love to see Shama and her team address twitter chats. This is something that I have been able to participate in, and it can be a really cool use of the tool. Users rally around a hashtag and engage in a chat on twitter. I have participated in the #AskAngel twitter chat, but there are several others.
One final thing I would like to see is a workbook section, or a companion workbook to the book so that they could be used in a more group setting. In fact, when I was looking at Shama’s e-book version, she included one. She does have questions in her printed edition to help with the process, but I would love to see the publisher help put together a comprehensive workbook that users can work through to put the principles of the book.
Whatever your status with social media marketing, Shama’s book is the ultimate primer. It gives you the building blocks as well as well as lots of practical how-to’s to get you started.
I recommend the book to you. I have used it successfully and even have given the book away a few times.