I stumbled across Shama Hyder Kabani over a year ago on Twitter. That in itself says something. Her presence on Twitter got her exposure. As I followed her “tweets” and then visited her web site, I found someone with a clear voice, a positive can-do attitude and a real commitment to social media, which entails among other things, interactivity. Shama, who at the time didn’t know me from Adam, responded to my tweets and inquiries. It was clear that she practiced what she preached. So I was eager to read her first book on the subject.
In The Zen of Social Media Marketing, Shama lays out an explicit approach to forming a social media strategy and then guides you in how to use the three most well known social media tools, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. For good measure, she throws in a “guest chapter” written by Dave Kaminski on the subject of using video in your marketing.
If there is one lesson to be taken away from Shama’s book it is that social media is about relationship building. The old marketing tricks of the past where a passive audience of potential customers were force-fed your message just doesn’t cut it anymore. The Internet has changed all that. Consumers are now participants in the marketing process, and that process now needs to have give and take. Using LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter as the three legs of the social media stool, Shama shows you the do’s and don’ts of each platform. The book concludes with case studies illustrating Shama’s points in real situations.
If I had one minor criticism of the book it would be that there are too many case studies and I found some redundancy in terms of making the point. One case study in particular featured a web site owner who felt it necessary to explain in detail the cause for which he was marketing. I didn’t find it necessary at all and his point could have been made without so much description.
Shama supplements her book with an online workbook so you can read her ideas and then immediately start constructing your plan. As a result, the book is not some simple intellectual exercise. It is a practical do-it-now guide. I must admit it was an added benefit that the book was available on the Kindle, which is the edition I read.
I had the good fortune to interview Shama on my Internet radio show. Just click the play button at the bottom of this article to take a listen!