Today, I am reviewing the The Zen of Social Media Marketing by Shama Hyder Kabani. This, among other books out there, is a great book to help you understand the foundations of social media marketing and how to hit the ground running. Probably my favorite part about this book is that she makes live online updates to the book, meaning this book is constantly evolving as changes occur within social media marketing.

According to Kabani, most people fail because they do not have a solid foundation or a brand. I completely agree; how can you possibly market and get the word out about a brand or product that is not fully established yet? Building your brand is so critical to not only the online success of your company, but its success in general.

Ok, so you get your foundation and you get people online…now what? What is the conversion? Well, for many small businesses, this is getting them onto the shopping cart section or to the part of the site where they can directly make purchases. This works well for businesses with the reseller or retail end to them. Let’s face it, though—we are Managed Services or Break Fix and most of us don’t have the online shopping carts like many retailers. Kabani goes on to talk about how conversion works in many different ways. It’s not only getting people to buy, but also getting them to subscribe to your blog, like you on Facebook, or even sign up for your newsletter. This is also a way of taking them and turning them into customers. In the channel, we have always exchanged whitepapers for contact information and similar offers like that. Another way to convert prospects into customers is to use free trials or samples. Everyone likes to get things for free, so why not give out a product or service with a low overhead that you can turn into something with serious results? For our MSP, we use a free computer system cleaning coupon. We have had great return from this, taking something simple like cleaning out start up applications and clearing out a cache to being able to upgrade people with new hard drives and even new systems! Nothing happens overnight, and like with everything in marketing and business, you need to put some time and effort into it for it to be successful.

While online marketing is very important to the modern business model, you need to remember that “you can’t reach a demographic through one channel. You need to reach people through the channel of their choice.” So, by using social media, email, direct mail, etc. all in combination, you ensure that you are going to hit each and every medium that they enjoy. This is where marketing tracks come in and help to automate all of this. With ConnectWise integration from your website and event Facebook, there are plenty of ways to automate the process and give your sales team the upper hand.

In order to get people to your site, blog, fan page, etc. you need to attract them to it. To attract, you need 3 things: a brand, an outcome, and a differentiator. What is your brand and what does it represent? What is the outcome your product or service is trying to help the client achieve? And finally, what differentiates your brand from every other brand? Think about what we teach at Academy when you have a Plastic and Platinum offering. What truly makes you stand out from the competition? The same goes for your brand. Sure, your products and services are different, but so what? Why does this matter to the client?

The book goes onto cover blogs, SEO, videos, and many other points in online marketing. It’s an easy read with some good case studies at the end of the book. If you need to build your social media platform or need a good refresh, this is a good start. Plus, there is an online workbook that helps you establish the groundwork for your social media platform.