Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Zen of Social Media Marketing by Shama Kabani Review

Title: The Zen of Social Media Marketing: An Easier Way to Build Credibility, Generate Buzz, and Increase Revenue
Author: Shama Kabani
Genre: Social Media, Marketing
Page Count: 200 pages
Publish Date: April 6, 2010
Book Type: Owned Paperback
Publisher: BenBella Books, Inc.
ISBN: 9781935251736

Picture from Goodreads
My Review: Unfortunately, I feel that Kabani rehashed the basics of social media without providing much, if any, new insight. “The Zen of Social Media” seemed like more of a instruction manual for creating profiles on social networks instead of a marketing guide. Many of the ideas throughout the book relied on common sense. For example, it is common sense for a brand to post regular updates on social networking sites. It would have been a better reading experience if Kabani had gone as far as explaining the types of updates people seem to respond to and bring a bit more of a human aspect into it.  
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.


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