social media reviewsDo you remember the spoon-bending scene from the 1999 movie The Matrix?

It occurs the first time Neo goes to see the Oracle after he was rescued from the Matrix. In the Oracle’s waiting room, he sees two girls floating blocks above their heads and a young boy bending a spoon.

Young boy: “Do not try and bend the spoon. That’s impossible. Instead … only try to realize the truth.”

Neo: “What truth?”

Young boy: “It is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself.

zen of social media marketingSo if you think you can use traditional marketing techniques on social media, you’re still trying to bend the spoon. That’s the message in The Zen of Social Media Marketing by Shama Hyder.

Traditional marketing rules cannot be applied to social media because social media is not a marketer’s platform. It belongs to consumers,” says Hyder.

Todd Defren, principal of SHIFT Communications, is even more blunt: “You are in the findability department. The marketing department is dead.

“Findability” means using social media to find people who are already talking about you and your company, and starting a relationship with them. Yes, I said a relationship! Because relationships are why most people use social media. And most people are more likely to buy something from someone they know than from a total stranger.

So when you use social media to find people who are already talking about their needs, and you offer to help them solve that need, you are building the foundation for a trusting relationship.

shama hyder kabaniThat’s very different from spending thousands of dollars and using mass media to “blast” your message at millions of total strangers who probably couldn’t care less about your product or service at that particular time.

And Hyder writes from personal experience. After getting a Master of Arts degree in Organizational Communication at the University of Texas at Austin in 2006, she started her own online marketing business in 2007. Just one year later, she was making “six figures.” And all of her clients came from her online marketing efforts, specifically social media marketing.

Now she gets speaking engagements and television interviews, and has to turn away more clients than she takes on. Wouldn’t you like to be in that position?

ACT Right to Get Results

“The Zen of social media marketing is about understanding the mindset of people who are using social media and then using it to your advantage,” says Hyder. And here’s a clue about that mindset: they’re not interested in buying anything! “Remember, social media is not a selling tool! It is an attracting tool!”

That’s right – Hyder recommends using social media primarily to attract people, not sell to them. Because people don’t use social media to look for something to buy. They use social media to express their unique personality and connect with friends and family.

In fact, Hyder says “attract” is the first of three steps in successful online marketing:

  1. Attract: Get their attention and lure them to your main selling tool – your website.
  2. Convert: Use your website to turn a stranger into a prospect or a customer.
  3. Transform: Turn past and present successes into testimonials, case studies and customer success stories.

The acronym for this process – very appropriately – is ACT. And Hyder recommends you use social media for steps 1 and 3, and your website for step 2. The testimonials, case studies and customer success stories on your social media sites will attract a new set of potential customers.

Because people love to read stories – especially the stories of people who have successfully solved the same problems they have. How did they do it? If they can do it, maybe I can too!

And if your company provided the solution, they might just email you.

If you already know a lot about social media marketing, you may want to pass on this book. It only covers the basics and you may already know all of that.

But if you’re still standing on the beach wondering how to use social media marketing, let Hyder teach you how to swim in the social media ocean. If you’re not willing to spend four months learning social media “an hour a day,” you will love her book. You can read it in one day!

Here is what you will learn:

  • How to use the ACT process
  • The importance of a properly optimized website
  • The basics of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn
  • Video podcasting from Dave Kaminski of Web Video University
  • How to create a social media policy for your organization
  • Using to boost your website’s Google ranking

The book ends with social media marketing case studies from 12 different companies and organizations. Many are using social media to successfully market their products and services. You can too!

And Hyder has created an interactive, online version of the book that will be frequently updated “to make sure you’re always on top of the latest in social media, with videos, MP3s, and more!”

So if you need a brief, basic introduction to social media marketing, you can’t do better than this book.

Social Media Examiner gives this book 5 stars.

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  • Love the insights you share! Over the weekend I read a book by Jeffery Gitomer, and the one thing that stands out to my mind was your goal should not be to find your customers; your goal should be that you’re such a resource and benefit that your customers come searching for you.

    And being THAT attractive – it’s a great start.

  • I love acronyms! Social Media can be used for multiple parts of the sale cycle, and with the right planning, you can make it work to your advantage.

  • drburt

    This is a great review of another book that wil be on my TO READ list. Half way through ENGAGE. There is so much to learn and very little time to do it. Social Media is a constanly changing ocean of information. One must keep up with on regular bases.

  • Thank you so much Ruth. The best gift an author can receive is a sincere reader. I wrote the book specifically for beginners and intermediate students of social media.

    Barbara – yes, that’s the principle! To serve as a resource for your audience. = )

    Nick – Absolutely! I just did a presentation on how to measure social media, and it was based on the different stages of the sales cycle. Its on slide share.

    Dr.Burt – Engage is another good book. I look forward to your thoughts on this one. Thanks!

  • I think you nailed that the key to social media marketing is the building of a relationship with a customer. Understanding that fact first helps you to understand how to implement social media marketing. Thanks for the great insights!

    Another great book that I just read is Crush It! which also gives some great tips on starting your social media system.



  • thanks for the update, it’s a fine line to know when to “sell” and when to just engage customers. I found that just engaging people didn’t really work, but “selling” worked better. But I hadn’t tried marketing in the fashion described above. I’ll give it a shot.

  • katiescharms

    I completely understand how this works – now I just need to figure out how to apply it to my business. I have such a small niche (I sell beads and charms for bracelets like Pandora and Chamilia), that I’m not sure how to be such a resource to my customers. How do I satisfy a “need” when all I do is sell beads?? This is the part that I really have to work on…


  • Hey Shama – Glad you enjoyed Ruth’s review – Mike Stelzner

  • Hi Jennifer,

    Perhaps you could start by giving some thought to why people enjoy to collect the beads in the first place. Maybe its because they like to create personalised jewellery with each bead relating to a collection with a friend, loved one or experience?

  • Hi Jennifer, Ask yourself, the person who buys your beads, what is their biggest problem, need or desire? That might be more choice, tools to work with or tuition. Just my quick thoughts 🙂 Linda

  • Mike – thanks so much. = )

  • Certainly give it a shot. Its worked for all of our clients so far.

  • Jennifer –

    I’d urge you to think about your audience. Who are the people who enjoy the beads? What does your audience look like? What do they care about? That cause could easily be “powered by you.”

  • I think resources like this post (and the referenced book) support the proper way to act online with social media. It’s great because this blog, and others is spreading this message and hopefully in time people will “get it”.

  • Nice insights Ruth, I will get the book. I do follow Shama at her blog. He has some very valuable info.

  • Isn’t the Matrix wonderful? “Oh…,( Ruth), what’s really going to bake your noodle later on is, would you still have broken it if I hadn’t said anything?” … NOW- there’s a Matrix quote to describe my day…YES indeed – it sure weren’t the spoon that get bent over today—OH wasmost assuredly…me 😉 Meanwhile..the blog is outstanding…thank you…Oracle…;-0

  • Mark Bennett

    The book looks like a great source and reference. Great insight Ruth, looking forward to picking up some points from the book.

  • Thanks for the book review – always great to get the shorthand version of what a book covers (no pun intended) so we can see if we want to read it.

    Charlie Seymour Jr

  • AD

    I really appreciate the acronym ACT for social media by Kabani. I agree with the point we should attract people instead sell to them. First we understand the online public relation. Then only we should look forward.

  • Jennifer – Shama is absolutely right. First you need to think about your customer – what’s important to them and connect with those ideas…

    Here’s a thought. People wear beds for a reason. It can be as simple as an aesthetic – ie: “this bead bracelet looks nice on me” but ask yourself (and eventually your customers) why they wear a bead bracelet as opposed to a silver or gold bracelet. What is it about the BEADS that resonates with your target audience. Identify and amplify that..(another example – you could talk about how beads were once a very potent and valuable currency throughout Africa. You could talk about the beads relationship to live giving seeds, etc, etc.)

    Are you talking about your bead bracelet on sale this month for $19.99? NO. And THAT’s the point…


    – Don

  • Rahul @ MazaKaro

    Yes , that is a good reason to read it , i’ll be telling you aboutit soonnn !!!!!
    thank You

  • katiescharms

    Thank you to Don and everyone who replied to my comment!

  • Thanks for the review and the recommendation! That’s what social media is about: getting in contact with your target audience, building relationships and engage with them. That leads to recommendations. And recommendations lead to leads and sales because people care much more about what their friends and peers say than what the advertisment says.

  • Hi Ruth,

    I truly love this book. It gave me a better understanding of social media. I learned what I did right and what I did wrong so I was able to make adjustments. The author is approachable and answers emails, pretty cool.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Take care


  • Thanks for providing details on this social media marketing guide. Willing to change with present trends would seem to aid a company in using best practices for each social media site and outlet.

  • Your three step process, ACT, sounds a lot like what we do here: Listen, Engage, Convert, Retain. Guess we are doing something right! Thanks for the tips.

    Lb, Social Media Intern @3birdsmarketing

  • brianrobinson1

    Social Media Networks are a consumers network, which businesses can tap into. Traditional marketing ways are dying as social media networks are flourishing at the same time. The article offers up three main keys to networking online. They are to attract, convert, and then to transform.

  • Excellent post!

  • Here is a new approach to building enthusiasm while attracting new fans and followers.

    We have developed a site to help companies interact with their Facebook and Twitter users in an exciting and enthusiastic way. It is a Social Contest site that allows a company to have giveaways targeting their FB and Twitter users with a clicking competition. This method encourages the fans or followers to pay attention to the Facebook posts and tweets put out by the company.

    We have just gone live with a beta version which targets our own First2Click Facebook and Twitter users. We post a contest schedule and prize(s) for the day each morning at 8:00 AM CST. There may be one or more contests each day. The user can pre-register for the contests once they are posted and they receive additional clicks for their effort. A user can also recommend other users to earn additional clicks.

    At the scheduled time we post an active link to Facebook and Twitter announcing the opening of the contest. A user has a better chance at the first click if they are either following First2Click on Twitter, or like the First2Click fan page on Facebook. The first person to click the link and enter their email address in the corresponding box wins the “first click” prize.

    We then have a “lucky number” prize which is the same item as the first click prize. After a user’s first click we show them what number they were and what the lucky number is. They then strategically use their remaining clicks to try to hit that lucky click. There is no charge of any kind even for the shipping of the prizes. We have a Winners page that lists the contest winners from each previous contest.

    We are finding from the small user base that we currently have that it is addicting, exciting, and promotes enthusiastic conversation on the contest chat board. We are currently working with a few companies to pilot the Contest Sponsoring aspect of The ability to stimulate current fans as well as to encourage those fans to recruit other fans is the selling point of this new contest site.