The Zen of Social Media Marketing and How to Make It Happen

Shama Hyder

Just how hot are you on using Social Media Marketing?

Wherever you go, people are talking about social media – in the recent UK election, for the first time, social media tools and especially twitter really caught the public’s imagination

So what’s all this hype about social media?

Is it just about collecting thousands of “friends” on Facebook and Twitter and simply selling them your wares?

Or is it about creating and developing deeper relationships with people who share your values and interests?

Every now and then, I meet someone who is so passionate about what they do, that their enthusiasm and zest for life, and for their work blows me away.

One such person is Shama Hyder, who has been dubbed “an online marketing shaman” and “a millennial master of the universe” by Fast Company.

Shama is the President of The Marketing Zen Group, a full service web marketing firm, and has already won many national and international awards at the tender age of 23.

Today I am delighted to interview Shama who has just published her first book “The Zen of Social Media Marketing”.

1. Shama, I have known you now for 3 years when you were a life coach, and you were  blogging about personal development.

We first met via Facebook through a mutual friend.

What inspired you to become a world leader in social media in such a short time? What’s the single most important factor behind your success?

Thanks Arvind for this opportunity to share my passion with your readers.

Short answer is that I enjoy different things. I am an entrepreneur at heart. My love of social media comes from my graduate work in UT.

I studied social networking academically and then it was a natural fit to transition from that to business.

The single most important factor is to consistently INSPIRE yourself.

Inspiration doesn’t just happen, you have to go out there and find ways to ignite your passion.

2. I have heard you speak and have read a lot of your work – your passion and energy for what you do comes through so well.

Your book is going to transform many businesses and many people’s lives. It must be so fulfilling and rewarding for you to see the difference you are making in the lives of others.

Your passion for your work is clearly what’s made you so successful.

What lessons can you share about following your passion?

Thank you! I am so grateful for the genuine liking people have shown the book. It is very rewarding and refreshing at the same time.

Passion is key but it is worthless without discipline. There is nothing sadder than someone who is talented and even passionate about something but has no structure behind it.

Follow your passion but bolster it with discipline.

Shama Hyder

3. A lot of my readers are interested in personal development and at the same time making a difference.

What are your social media tips for those readers who wish to make the world a better place?

There has never been a better time to build a community and to share your message. This is as easy and fun as it will ever get.

My tip is simple  – take the time to build SOLID, QUALITY content and then share it using social media.

The sharing of such content will help you create communities who resonate with your message. Like bees to honey. Invest in the honey. The people will come.

4. You talk a lot in your book about being authentic and being yourself in the online world. This is so relevant in all areas of life.

Can you please expand on this?

Well, I think it takes a lot of effort to be anyone BUT yourself in the world (offline or online). And, it eventually shows through.

I see people, for example, online who seem to come off very enthusiastic smiley faces and all. And then, when you meet them, it is astonishing to find them quite dry.

The world is more and more transparent. If you pretend to be someone else, you will get found out. It is easiest to be yourself and work on cultivating a better you.

No one is perfect, and human imperfection is overlooked. Dishonesty and shadiness is harder to overlook.

Shama Kabani

5. I am personally passionate about changing the world big time and making a difference in the world.

I am very excited and passionate about using the internet to spread my message and my work.

So I have a question for you based on my personal motives – what social media tips can you suggest I follow to spread my message?

For example, how can I increase the number of my blog subscribers to say 10,000 in a few months time?

The first thing I’d say is don’t focus on 10,000. That is a number and frankly you don’t need that many. You need 1000 who TRULY love what your blog is about. They will re-tweet it, share it on Facebook, email it to friends. Then, you have the reach of 100,000.

I’d say start with compelling content (which you have!) but I’d also add different mediums.

People prefer to take in knowledge differently. Create videos for example. Then, audit your social media systems. Are they up to par? Are you optimizing them fully? For example, Facebook will pull in your blog as part of its notes feature.

Thanks Shama – that really helps. I shall certainly follow your generous suggestions and I shall keep you posted re my progress.

Shama Kabani

6. People like Bill Gates, Richard Branson and Warren Buffet have all become philanthropists after having been so successful first in their chosen fields.

You too have already become very successful at such a young age and you have created such a high profile on the world stage.

How do you see your role in the bigger scheme of things in the years to come?

Where do you see yourself in 5 years? What’s your ultimate life mission?

That is quite a compliment. Thank you.

I don’t spend too much time thinking about 5 years down the road oddly enough. I am a reactor. I see opportunity, and if I feel compelled, I react.

My ultimate life mission is simple, do more good than harm.

Be more of an asset to the world than a liability.

Trust in the powers that be, and work hard but don’t struggle.

What is meant to be, will be.

I often joke that God (or the higher power of your choice) protects you more from yourself than anything else.

You may think you want something, but what you need may be completely different. I am open to where life may take me and I trust innately that all is for the best and that things happen the way they are meant to happen.

Thanks Shama – those are quite personal insights about what drives you – but I know that whatever you do in the next 5 years, you will be doing a lot of good:-)

7. Can you please share some final words of wisdom about your philosophy and approach to life?

  • Do more good than harm. (We all make mistakes!)
  • Trust in something greater than yourself.
  • Be open to where life takes you. So many times, people struggle to do something THEIR way. When you let go, greater things than you ever dreamed possible happen.

Life isn’t about taking control – it is about realizing that you don’t have any control and still living it and loving it, no matter what.

Thank you very much Shama for sharing your story and for your words of wisdom. You are truly inspirational.

We wish you the best of luck with your book, and your future career and life aspirations.

Readers who are interested in Shama’s Book can find out more at her book website – “The Zen of Social Media Marketing”.

And so now over to you – how will you use your own passion to make it happen in your life?!

Connect with your passion and share it with the world through social media. You know it makes sense.

Zen of Social Media Marketing

Editorial update:- 8th Feb 2013

Shama published the 3rd edition of her book in end 2012 – and she kindly updated me with her progress and the market:-

1. Shama, a lot’s happened for you and in the world of social media in the last 3 years! To bring readers up to-date, tell us more about the growth of your organisation and why it’s grown so rapidly?

It is astounding. In the last three years, social media has become an actual industry!

When I graduated with a thesis on social networking in my hands, people said what is social media?

There was no such thing. And, “social media marketing” wasn’t even part of the regular vernacular surrounding business and marketing strategy. But, all that has changed.

Today, more and more companies and organizations are realizing the power of this social media. Our company, The Marketing Zen Group, grew 450% alone in the first year.

As the needs of our clients and their trust in us grew, we expanded our services to become a full-service web marketing and digital PR firm. Although I did foresee the rise of social media, I could never have predicted the demand for our services.

2. Social Media has changed dramatically in the last 3 years. What are the eky game changers now? What should my readers do more or less of?

I believe integration is next. Social, SEO, traditional marketing – all the lines are blurring. And, only the companies that leverage each fully and tie it all together will see true ROI and growth. Readers: Be more consistent in all your efforts and integrated better. If your web team never speaks to the SEO team. Or, PR never communicates with social – that’s a problem. The time for short cuts is over. You have to put in the work to see the results.

3. What do you think are the key developments in Social Media over the next 3 years?

I see three things happening in the next three years.

1) Mobile strategy continues to rise. How are you reaching your audience on their tablets and smartphones? Because that is what they are using more and more to find information.

2) Integration across mediums which I spoke of above,

3) A rise in content curation. Look for more websites and networks such as Pinterest which help us filter information better.

4. Finally Shama, what’s next for you?

I am excited about the campaigns we are working on for clients at The Marketing Zen Group. The team is so creative! We also launched Shama.Tv, a weekly web TV show on business and technology, which has attracted viewers from around the world.

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  1. Vaishali Patel says

    Hi Arvind, this was an inspirational interview. V

  2. “Follow your passion but bolster it with discipline.”

    This particularly caught me as it’s where I get hung up a lot. I have a lot of passion, and do so-so with the discipline. I always feel like I need more structure, more planning, more productivity instead of just spinning my wheels and getting nowhere. 😉
    .-= Jess´s last blog ..Complete Webinar Flop (or why I feel like a fraud) =-.

    • Jess, that line really stands out for me – and I Have just had a friend email me to say the same thing as you. It was almost spookey that your messages arrived at the same time.

      “Follow your passion but bolster it with discipline.” – let that be our mantra from now on.

      Great to have passion for something, but now it’s time to make that passion count towards making the world a better place.
      .-= Arvind Devalia´s last blog ..Zen of Social Media Marketing and How to Make It Happen =-.

  3. Inspiring interview, without this interview here, I might not have known about it. Social media is everywhere, I guess I am one of last few people who are not on it 🙂
    .-= Zengirl @ Heart and Mind´s last blog ..Surviving without money possible? =-.

    • Zengirl, glad that you are now more familiar with social media – but you have been part of the social media conversation for a while, with your blog and your comments on other blogs.

      Welcome to the zen world of social media:-)

  4. Barrie, indeed a very impressive young entrepreneur.

    As for bringing you more great stuff, I can only aspire to do much more, especially after reading Shama’s book:-)
    .-= Arvind Devalia´s last blog ..Zen of Social Media Marketing and How to Make It Happen =-.

  5. Anastasiya says

    Arvind, thank you for sharing this interview! It was amazingly inspiring and helpful. I think a lot of people (including me sometimes) feel overwhelmed by social media. There is definitely a need for Zen in this area.
    I absolutely loved Shama’s quote:

    “Trust in something greater than yourself.”

    This is such important advice. Thank you again and I’ll definitely check out the book 🙂

  6. Thanks so much Arvind. You asked great questions! = )

    Barrie – Perhaps your comment is a sign for me? ; )

    Jess – Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I feel like that is the downfall of so many artists (passion but no discipline). The biggest thing is acknowledgment. You seem to know the gaps you need to fill – so what could be greater? : )

    Vaishali – thanks. Arvind asked some good questions!

    zen girl – thank you. = )
    .-= Shama Kabani´s last blog ..St. Gallen Symposium – Switzerland, Chocolate, and Lessons on Entrepreneurship =-.

  7. Arvind – amazing interview with an amazing young woman. I like her focus on a small but powerful army of followers. Very good stuff. I’m going back to re-read the interview for more nuggets.
    Thanks so much.
    .-= Angela Artemis´s last blog ..Intuition: Will We Ever Learn how It Works? =-.

  8. John Sherry says

    Arvind, congratulations on a stunning interview with such a sharply insightful ( and I have to say strikingly pretty) young lady. She talks enormous sense and with a beautiful air of respect and humility. I think her words, “it takes a lot of effort to be anyone BUT yourself” is pure genius in its truth. Then she goes and tops it with her mission to “do more harm than good” and to “be more of an asset to the world than a liability” is phenomenal.

    Arvind you have excelled yourself with this and the tone and substance of your blog is continuing to blossom into the very highest level of wisdom and insight. Many many thanks for sharing this, I have genuinely thoroughly enjoyed each and every word and reveled in the energy it awakens. May I also ask you to pass on thanks to Sharma for her inspirational answers and loving, supportive aura caught so majestically in this post.
    .-= John Sherry´s last blog ..How to live G.L.A.D not S.A.D. =-.

    • John, thanks so much for kind words about Shama – I shall certainly pass on your compliments directly to Shama.

      You have picked out 3 gems from her interview and I just love them:-

      “It takes a lot of effort to be anyone BUT yourself”
      “Do more harm than good”
      “Be more of an asset to the world than a liability” .

      Thanks also for your gushing words of praise for my writing and my blog – it is such encouragement that inspired me to do much more:-)
      .-= Arvind Devalia´s last blog ..How You Too Can Be An Energiser Bunny for 24 Hours a Day =-.

  9. Great interview with Shama, she has a very wise head on her shoulders!
    .-= Amit Sodha – The Power Of Choice´s last blog ..Book Review – The Emissary By Milan Bakrania =-.

  10. Arvind –

    Thanks for the introduction – social media is a fascinating world and I feel I know a bit more now. Some great insights here.

    .-= Phil – Less Ordinary Living´s last blog ..How to avoid getting fired by George Clooney =-.

  11. Eileen O'Shea says

    My blog is Threshold Place (
    Hi Arvind,
    What a great interview! She is so full of vitality, energy and enthusiasm it’s a pleasure to “meet” her through your blog. Thanks for the introduction to this extraordinary young woman!
    Eileen O’Shea

  12. Scott Dinsmore says

    Very useful interview Arvind. Shama is an inspiration in many ways. Amazing what she has done so early in life. I just received a review copy of her book and I can’t wait to dive in and apply it! In the little interaction I’ve had with her so far, she seems so genuine and generous. That’s contagious. You apply that to anything and that’s success. Great photos and layout for your post too.

    Thanks Shama! You’ll be seeing a review/summary from me soon.

    .-= Scott Dinsmore´s last blog ..How Not to Get Caught Up In the Chatter =-.

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