Many people believe that since they already know how to use Facebook for their personal profiles they are perfectly capable of using Social Media in their business. And I guess that is true to a point. There isn’t anything ‘hard’ about using social media. But ‘using’ and ‘successfully using’ social media to grow a business are two very different things.
The Zen of Social Media Marketing by Shama Kabani is a perfect tool to make sure that you’re using social media successfully for your business.
When it comes to ‘successfully using’ social media, you need to understand more than just how to post or to like. You have to understand the selling process, how it works traditionally and how social media is different than traditional advertising practices. To cross the social media line with traditional marketing can be more damaging than not marketing at all.
Shama walks you through the differences in traditional and social marketing, breaks down some of the more popular social media networks (the ones that she believes ‘provide the highest return of investment), and explains how to create a social media plan for your business.
The guide isn’t exhaustive. It gives you a good beginning education into the world of Social Media. You’re not going to read this book and be a social media marketing god, but the book attempts, and succeeds, to create an understanding about what makes social media different and how to properly plan that social media for your organization. She has outlined the building blocks you need to create your social media presence. Zen isn’t about all-encompassing knowledge, rather it’s about success through understanding. Knowing the ways of something instead of the step by step instructions allows users to better adapt to the ever changing social media world.
Even with a couple years of experience in Social Media, I find new ideas every time I read this book. This is the third addition in of the book and while some of it has changed only a little, social media is an ever changing platform and each edition has been updated to take into account new networks, tools and methods. I used to own the first one – I’m pretty sure my boss took it back to Atlanta with her, but I still hold out hope that I end up coming across it one day in my library at home. When I bought my second edition, I made sure to buy an e-copy so I didn’t have to worry about loaning it out permanently again. My third edition is once again paper, but it isn’t leaving my sight.
Reading through some of the reviews on amazon have been interesting. There are as many theories on what does and doesn’t work in social media as there are reviewers on amazon so it isn’t a surprise that some people tend to think that there are better ways to work with social media. Maybe there are, but Shama is a pretty good authority on the subject. Her company, The Marketing Zen Group, is a well regarded company that has worked with many businesses to create strong virtual presences with fantastic results. The tactics and strategies that Shama teaches in The Zen of Social Media Marketing are the same strategies that The Marketing Zen Group uses to great effect. These are proven and trusted ways to harness the power of social media for your business, whether you are your only employee or you have hundreds of employees.
If that still doesn’t convince you, the book isn’t only written by Shama. There are many quotes from some of the best and most successful people in social media today, including a forward by Chris Brogan, co-author of Trust Agent, so there are many voices explaining the concept. Sometimes a different way of saying something helps make it that much more clear. Shama also took questions from her blog readers to better clarify some of the points that her readers had been unsure about in previous editions.
Strategies in a vacuum are easy. If they don’t have to hold up to real world challenges, it’s all too easy to say what should and shouldn’t be done. Shama shows how the lessons in this book can work in real life by giving us a dozen case studies of real life companies and organizations that have taken Zen marketing to heart to increase their social and virtual presence as well as their bottom line. In their own words they tell about the changes they made to create their social media presence.
Whether you’re a newbie or a pro at social media marketing, the first thing to remember is that you should ALWAYS be learning – technology is always changing and you have to keep up with it if you want to be successful. Zen of Social Media Marketing will keep you headed in the right direction.