Customer Reviews: The Zen of Social Media Marketing: An Easier Way to Build Credibility, Generate Buzz, and Increase Revenue
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on May 20, 2010
This is my tenth time reviewing this book! The author has an in with Amazon to take down her bad reviews. This book, in my opinion, has been review stuffed! I find it hard to believe that 44 people decided to write their first book review, and just by LUCK it's the same Book!!! and all 44 people gave it 5 stars!!! WOW! - Note to the author: If you write a good book, you don't have to write (or ask someone to write) unethical reviews!!! Grow up Kid!!!

The subtitle of the book is ...Build Credibility...LOL!

Many sections of the book were not even written by the author, and these so called experts give bad advise! limit the number of people that follow you on twitter, don't use Youtube, and don't worry about SEO! Yea, Great!!!!

I have read over 67 books on social media, and I have to tell you this book is at the bottom! and i've read some bad ones. When it comes to why i don't like it - there are too many things to list, way too many! In my past reviews i went into detail why, but they were just wiped away from amazon for no reason other than the authors influence!

If you want good books on the topic try these because, their written by people who know what their talking because they obtained the knowledge themselves. - help you take steps to reach your goals, - know the topic form a-z, - they don't try to solicit your email every other page, etc-etc

Social Media:

Inbound Marketing by Brian Halligan & Dharmesh Shah

Social Media Metrics by Jim Sterne

The New Rules of Marketing & PR by David Meerman Scott

Twitter Power by Joel Comm

The Facebook Era by Clara Shih

Social Media Marketing an hour a day by Dave Evans

Twitter Marketing for dummies by Kyle Lacy

Twitter Marketing: An Hour a Day by Hollis Thomases


Search Engine Optimization by Stephen Woessner

Seo Made Simple by Michael H. Fleischner


KaChing by Joel Comm

Crush It by Gary Vaynerchuk

Word of Mouth Marketing by Andy Sernovitz

Content Rich by Jon Wuebben

I Need A Killer Press Release: Now What? by Janet Meiners Thaeler
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on March 22, 2010
I've been reading social media marketing books for about a year, and most of them over-promise and under-deliver. This one is different. For the first time, I feel like I "get" it.

It's filled with no-nonsense, practical tips that actually work instead of pie-in-the-sky talk about what social media "can" do.

I started reading the ebook on an airplane, and wasn't quite done when the plane landed -- so I made my husband drive, so I could finish it. If you'd ever ridden with my husband, you'd know that meant I just didn't want to stop reading.

If you want a step-by-step guide to what to do -- and what to avoid -- this is the book for you. I've been a marketer for a long time, so I have some habits to unlearn according to this author. She explained why in a way I can understand, so I might actually follow her advice.
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on March 27, 2010
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.
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on March 1, 2011
I enjoy reading blogs because they are usually short, informative, and get to the point quickly. Blogs have to be short and sweet or else people will click away. THE ZEN OF SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING is written like a blog. I love to read outlines, bullet points, and small dialogue boxes, just like an academic textbook, except ZEN is actually engaging.

It's a great reference book as well, because there are entire chapters devoted to one social media platform. The chapters on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are fantastic. Tells me everything I need to know about those sites: how to start a page, success tips, everything.

My favorite chapter is the one about video, where Dave Kaminski of Web Video University is the guest author. I follow Kaminski's podcasts, which are the best and only source for web video, and his contributing chapter in ZEN summarizes the state of web video right now and how you can take advantage of it.

I can't say enough about how good this book is.
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on January 12, 2012
An author fresh out of college with virtually no track record writes a book that purports to tell us how to do what she has never done! Well, maybe she's got some ideas. Let's take a look...No, she doesn't. She tells you to get on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. She tells you to post updates, tweet, make friends and try to "convert" them to your brand (as others have pointed out, she's vague as to how, exactly; the implication is if they hang long enough they'll buy your product or service....err, yeah.) She has all of these far-too-simple-for-the-messy-real-world "strategies," like, have good content, be interesting and sincere, and don't lie. Well, she has no track record in social media (unless she's not revealing it, but why would she do that? Plus, she's 25; I mean, what could she have done, social media for her little brother's lemonade stand?) She claims she's now so busy she's turning down business, but all I see her doing is appearing on TV to hawk herself and her book/website. I don't see anything someone with a reputation would do, such as case studies with nameable, traceable clients. Instead we get pointers that are well-known (update often, keep up with the conversation, offer your subscribers useful and free information, cross-publicize) and very sketchy basics for only three platforms. The rest, she states with the confidence of someone who's been out of school for a year, aren't worth the trouble. (Really? YouTube not worth the trouble? Yelp not worth the trouble?) She gives a lot of advice we've heard before as though it's new, and most of it doesn't work anyway. (Get a prospect's email by asking them to fill out a form to log in to post. Yeah, that's why everyone has fake email addresses these days, that you can get from Yahoo or Google for free. Email lists are a dime a dozen.)

And then there's this whole Matrix thing. She quotes a scene from the movie The Matrix ("Don't bend the spoon, there is no spoon.") as though this explains the infinite complexities of marketing. It reminds me of those books you see, The Philosophy of Star Trek or The Gospel According to Green Acres: trying to be profound by being anti-profound. As Mr. Sondheim once said, you've got to have a gimmick...

Most frustratingly, she doesn't answer obvious questions a first-timer would have. She seems proud of herself for her advice to pick a simple Twitter handle--"Believe me you'll thank me later!" she enthuses--and recommends something as simple as your name. But since I'm sure someone else named "John" and all its reasonable variants got to Twitter before me, this is useless information. (I contacted her about this and her excuse was she wrote the book when Twitter was new and that wouldn't have been such a problem. She wrote it in 2010. Now, aside from not thinking ahead [so how good an "expert" is she?] I'm pretty sure John was taken by 2010.) She talks a lot about LinkedIn "Networks" and what you can and can't do in them, without ever explaining what they are and how to get into them. As I say in my headline, you can find better info for beginners on the web.

In one chapter she turns the reins over to a video "expert." ("Expert" must be the most abused word in the English language today.) You may have questions, as I do, about what sort of equipment is best for web broadcasting. Well, here's a sample of his "expertness": "Understand that from a business standpoint, there is no advantage or disadvantage to using HD [high definition] rather than SD [standard definition] video. It's still just video. And the only thing you gain with HD is a nicer-looking image." (p. 114)

Yes, he really said it exactly like that. I'm not quoting anything out of context. It's like saying there's no difference between one dollar and a million dollars--except a million dollars is a lot more money.

So why's this kid so popular? She's pretty, which is an easy ticket to TV, especially cable news. After her book I read Larry Weber's "Marketing To The Social Web," a far better book with more still-relevant information even though it was written a year before Kabani's. But Weber is middle aged, plump and with receding hairline, and TV news directors do not want to book people who look like themselves. (Trust me: I used to work for them.) They much prefer cute and perky 25-year-olds, claiming it's what their viewers want. (And by and large they're right. Never forget television is a visual medium.) Kabani is similar to Penelope Trunk: energetic, bubbly, good at self-promotion, full of big-claims. What's ironic is, as other reviewers have pointed out, her whole shtick rests on credibility. And she talks about getting involved in conversations and not just leaving robotic feedback, yet you'll note to every negative review here she posts the same, "[Name] - I am sorry that you didn't enjoy the book. Thank you for your feedback!" I'm sure soon she'll say that below mine.

The info here can be found via Google and Facebook for free. Take a look at this page, available as an FAQ on Facebook, for example:[...]. It's pretty much her chapter on the same subject. However, what she and no one can answer, because there is no answer to this most obvious question, is what do you do when everyone else is doing the same thing? How much of a competitive edge does your secret weapon give you when everyone else has it too? The net by its very nature is democratic, at least as it now stands: we all have equal access and we all have pretty much the same tools, with the time we can devote to master them the only real differentiate them. The Internet is an equalizer, and despite the hype of this book Ms. Kabani has not found a way to give anyone an advantage over anyone else. When she does, I'll listen. In the meantime, remember, there's no difference between this social media book and a better social media book, except a better social media book gives you better information.

ADDENDUM: While attending a marketing conference recently I received a free copy of Engagement Marketing: How Small Business Wins in a Socially Connected World. This is a much better book along the same lines. It actually has ideas that are useful yet far less obvious than Kabani's book. It still overhypes its utility and results--they all do--but it will be an afternoon better-spent if you read it.
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on March 17, 2011
I read this book in a a few hours and I learned a lot. I am not a complete novice at Social Media and know quite a bit about technology and the web, but I really got a great sense of how to make Facebook, Twitter and Linked in work for a business.

I think for a business owner looking to utilize this new media, this book would be better than hiring most consultants. Even if you are going to hire a consultant to help, this book would help you vet them and maybe even teach them a thing or two.

It was mostly the basics and I didn't quite get the Zen feeling, but it certainly made me think hard about clarifying my value propositions on my website and then working these sites into the mix.

Very pleasant style too.
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on November 13, 2011
As a small business owner, social media is a huge concern for my business. And I'm sure most of you out there are in a similar position as I am, or involved in online marketing. These concerns led me to purchase a copy of this highly rated book, largely to my disappointment.

Where Shama shines is by being distinctly likable. Her writing is approachable and she is genuinely interested in helping the reader. However despite her best intentions, the book falls short of telling you how the "zen" is achieved in a thorough and comprehensive way.

Even for a novice social media user like me, I found the book to be a complete basic primer on social media. It understandably covered the bases of the social media channels (facebook, twitter, etc.) but did not extend very much further from very simplistic uses of these channels. If you are serious about your business and taking social media marketing to the next level, this book is probably not going to help you. Quotes by several "guest experts" were vague anectdotes which seemed to be a filler for the book, a common trend amongst serial self help writers these days.

I found little advice that reached further than simple common sense. And I didn't realise how basic Shama's book was till I read "Likeable Social Media" by Dave Kerpen, which was written with great detail and depth.

Amazon's book rating's rarely disappoint, but I am sad to say this was not the case with this book. As a restauranteur with a new facebook and twitter account, I found little value in reading this book. If you really care about your business and your marketing skills, I suggest you try Dave's book instead.
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on July 17, 2011
I almost bought this book because of all the positive reviews. (Which made me suspicious.) I got it from the library fortunately. There is no meat in this book. It's all empty calories. I agree with the long list of books given in one of the other 1 star reviewers of quality books on social media.
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on August 16, 2010
I really hate to give this a bad review, and actually I am not....the content is excellent. But I bought it digitally and had it downloaded to my phone with a Kindle version. The problem is, there are huge grey blocks cluttering the pages with no text graphics or anything in the grey blocks. Also, the tables and text in picture blocks is so small it is not readable, and there is no way to increase the size to make it readable. (You can adjust the book text, but not the text in the graphic boxes.) I was hoping for a great opportunity to buy books on the fly and read them on my smart phone...but alas, it appears the technology is not perfected.

In addition their is no satisfying resolve from Amazon or Kindle. Their response is they will look into it.

I would have liked for them to say they would send me the hard copy of the book immediately and then deal with their issues as they can. I am not looking to get two versions, just one that I can use and read without expense or delays. This is their issue and they should find a way to satisfy their customers while they are sorting it out.
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on February 24, 2011
I was hoping for something a little more in depth and applicable to a larger company. But this book talked about basics as low-level as a Facebook picture--it's definitely for beginners! It's also way better for a solo business owner as opposed to someone like me, who's trying to develop a social media marketing strategy for a company of several hundred people! Not a bad book...just totally not what I was looking for.
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