When I sat down to enjoy Shama Kabani's new book, the Zen of Social Media Marketing, I was expecting to absorb a couple chapters a night during my quest to take my online marketing prowess to the next level.
I read the entire thing in one evening.
Not since Claude Hopkins' 1923 classic Scientific Advertising has a marketing book held my attention so intently. Shama, a lively and personable genius in her own right, didn't see any need to fluff her book up with generalities and useless anecdotes. Rather, every word, every case study, every personal story is crafted to bring the reader into a deeper understanding of how to lay an effective social media marketing foundation.
I like authors who respect my time and give me exactly what I need. Shama does both.
It's no surprise that digital marketing guru Chris Brogan chose to write the book's foreword. Brogan's philosophy of putting people over platforms aligns perfectly with Shama's style of nurturing very real, human relationships through online mediums. She sees the internet as an extension of (not a replacement for!) community and draws on common real world interactions like coffee houses and office-networking events to illustrate her point.
Chapter one is all about the philosophy of online marketing. "If you aim at nothing, you'll hit it every time" is what my mother always says. Shama writes: "online marketing is the art and science of...leveraging the internet to get your message across so that you can move people to action." The message is clear: you don't do social media marketing because your competitors do; you do it because it has the ability to "convert strangers into consumers and consumers into customers."
"Strategy should always come before tactics."
Shama evidently prefers her readers to know where they are going and why they are on the journey before she expends any energy on telling them how to operate the car.
The rest of the book is packed with tactics on how to relate to your audience using Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and web video. I pride myself on being a decent online marketer, and even I found myself taking notes on when to engage people through Facebook Groups and when to encourage the following of a Facebook Page. Should I care how many Twitter followers I have? Shama says I should, but not in the ego-stroking way I may be inclined to.
The only disappointment I faced was that my tech-savvy, Star Trek watching side wasn't fed. Not because the material wasn't solid, but because...
Shama speaks the language of small business.
You may not be a marketer; you may sew quilts or manufacture plantation shutters. Shama understands, and she writes with you in mind. Easy to remember acronyms and formulas, like Visability + Credibility = Success, and succinct, numbered checklists will help you implement her recommendations immediately.
I should quit talking before I begin to ramble. The bottom line is: social media marketing is something you, a small business owner, can participate in quite successfully. Shama Kabani's book, The Zen of Social Media Marketing, will show you how.