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The Zen of Social Media Marketing: An Easier Way to Build Credibility, Generate Buzz, and Increase Revenue Paperback – April 6, 2010
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I was expecting valuable information like time of day to post, keywords that (empirically) do better, ways to measure success in social media, etc. However, I got none of these things and wasted a few hours of my life.
If you are truly interested in learning about social media and don't want to be spoon-fed about the basics, check out the Buffer blog. They have tons of great data-driven metrics on what works with social media.
Although those who have a more advanced knowledge of the topic may find the Shama Kabani's inclusion of some very basic information an irritation, I'd have to commend her on doing a really excellent job of balancing that basic information with some good practical in-depth `how to' guidance for the more advanced reader.
Because it focuses upon FaceBook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube it really a great primer for those looking for a business angle on social media. The `Zen' referred to in the title is the distinction the author draws between the traditional marketing mindset and the mindset required for success in social media marketing - this will be familiar territory for those who have read much on the topic, but she treats it well and draws on an impressive record of having successfully `practiced what she preaches' in her own business.
The book is described in the blurb as `an easier way to build credibility, generate buzz, and increase revenue'. There is no doubt in my mind that following her step-by-step guidance will indeed build credibility and generate buzz - on revenue generation I'll have to let you know later.
This is definitely worth a look - especially if you buy it on Kindle at a very reasonable cost of $8.98.
To me, the highlight of "The Zen of Social Media" was the workbook provided online. It is a nice workbook that gets the user thinking critically about what they want to achieve by using social media. The workbook gives tasks such as, "How will you measure your social media marketing efforts?" and "List three goals you want to accomplish using social media marketing." While the workbook does not provide the sought after analysis and case studies, it does get the user to take a step back and think about their motives for using social media, which is always useful. I feel as if "The Zen of Social Media" would have been more effective as a whole if it was set up more like the workbook.
Despite its flaws, "The Zen of Social Media" has only enhanced my interest in working with social media from a marketing standpoint. The constant changing creates an always evolving workplace. Although I have been critical about "The Zen of Social Media," there are some nuggets of helpful information in there.
There is one passage that I wish had been focused on more throughout the book: "So much of social media is about building relationships and leveraging word of mouth. Sometimes a consumer has to hear about you ten times before he or she will buy" (p. 141-142). I do not think the goal here is to get people to post the same message ten times on different social networking sites. I am afraid that novice people who are looking to "The Zen of Social Media" for guidance may just take exactly that away from this book. I think Kabani has some really good ideas, they just were not executed very well. Perhaps it would have been more effective in an online only version that could be updated regularly. The three main points Kabani wanted the readers to focus on were: Strategize first, be human, and have patience. Overall, I wish these aspects were weaved more thoroughly throughout the book. If "The Zen of Social Media" had focused on these aspects, like I think the goal was, it could have been great.
If you're new to social media marketing and are looking for a good primer on the subject, then this book might do the trick. But if you already have a Facebook fan page or Twitter account, or even if you don't, but know that you should, skip this book and read any of the several good books out there devoted specifically on how to market on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, in that order. Save your Zen for something with more depth.