Shama is the founder and CEO of the award-winning agency, The Marketing Zen Group, an integrated web marketing and digital PR firm. She is also a highly acclaimed international keynote speaker and a regular media correspondent. She is the best-selling author of The Zen of Social Media Marketing (4th Edition) and Momentum: How to Propel Your Marketing and Transform Your Brand in the Digital Age.
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- The Marketing Zen and Social Media Examiner – Shama’s small business resources
- Blue Ocean Strategy – Shama’s Top Business Book
- The Zen of Social Media Marketing and Momentum: How to Propel Your Marketing and Transform Your Brand in the Digital Age – Shama’s books
- The Marketing Zen – Shama’s website
- Connect with Shama on her website
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3 Key Points:
- You do NOT need to be the influencer, you just need to CONNECT with someone who already has that reach in the market you’re targeting.
- Sometimes, the market defines YOU.
- The only constant thing in this world is change—accept it and be able to adapt.
Time Stamped Show Notes
(click the time stamp to jump directly to that point in the episode.)
- [01:17] – The Marketing Zen lets Shama work with clients from Lithuania to Hong Kong
- [01:25] – “There’s always something new and exciting in my world”
- [01:36] – Shama’s area of expertise is social media marketing, digital PR, and influencer marketing
- [01:54] – One BIG and Unique Value Bomb: “One thing that people don’t understand is the power of influencer marketing and how great it is to be able to leverage someone or partner with someone who already reaches the community you want to influence”
- [02:25] – What Shama did with “Cooking Fever”
- [04:05] – Worst Entrepreneurial Moment: Shama’s worst entrepreneurial moment was when a client introduced her to another potential client saying, “Oh my god, you have to meet Shama, she’s such a marketing guru.” And Shama tapped him on the shoulder and said, “I think you mean, business consultant”
- [05:03] – Listen to market feedback
- [05:26] – Don’t be afraid of being niche
- [06:40] – Entrepreneurial AH-HA Moment: Starting a marketing agency when it didn’t exist 8 years ago.
- [07:38] – Find your customer base
- [08:01] – Listen to market demands and don’t be afraid to pivot
- [09:19] – What is the one thing you are most FIRED up about today? “I’m really excited about live streaming videos”
- [10:52] – The Lightning Round
- What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur? – “Looking for a job”
- What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? – “Nothing lasts forever”
- What’s a personal habit that contributes to your success? – “The ability to always see the glass half full”
- Share an internet resource, like Evernote, with Fire Nation – The Marketing Zen and Social Media Examiner
- If you could recommend one book to our listeners, what would it be and why? – Blue Ocean Strategy – “it talks about differentiating and how important it is to create a niche for yourself in business”
- Imagine you woke up tomorrow morning in a brand new world, identical to Earth, but you knew no one. You still have all the experiences and knowledge you currently have – your food and shelter is taken cared of – but all you have is a laptop and $500. What would you do in the next 7 days? – “I would do what I did when I had $1500 and started my company, the exact same thing”
- [16:24] – Learn to be an editor, not a perfectionist
- 16:43 – Connect with Shama on The Marketing Zen and on her website
Shama Hyder: I am prepared to ignite!
John Dee Dumas: Yes! Shama is the founder and CEO of the award-winning agency, The Marketing Zen Group, an integrated web marketing and digital PR firm. She's also a highly acclaimed international Keynote speaker and a regular media correspondent, and the best-selling author of The Zen Social Media Marketing, and Momentum, how to propel your marketing and transform your brand in the digital age.
Shama, take a minute, fill in some gaps from that intro and give us a little glimpse of your personal life.
Shama Hyder: It's very tied into the professional life! Oh, yeah. Live and breathe social media. I think it's an exciting age that we live in of communication, and to my company Marketing Zen. We get to work with international clients from Lithuania to Hong Kong, across different industries from mobile apps to healthcare, so there's always something new and exciting in my world.
John Dee Dumas: Loving that! And if you could kind of break down what your area of expertise is in just a few sentences, what would that be?
Shama Hyder: Social media marketing, digital PR, influence in marketing. Essentially, marketing in the digital age about sums it up.
John Dee Dumas: So, let's break this down a little bit further, though. So, we're entrepreneurs, we're small business owners, we're cyberpreneurs, what's something we don't know in your area of expertise that we should?
Shama Hyder: You know, I think, one that thing that people don't understand is the power of influencer marketing, and how great it is to be able to leverage someone or partner with someone who already reaches the community that you wanna influence or you want as a customer base.
John Dee Dumas: Give us an example of this. What's an example that you see in your personal life, even one of your clients or customers, break it down, get as specific and transparent as possible.
Shama Hyder: Yeah. You know we did something very exciting for one of our clients, that Cooking Fever! Cooking Fever is one of the fastest growing mobile apps out there, about 80 million users now.
John Dee Dumas: What exactly is Cooking Fever, like what have you done?
Shama Hyder: Cooking Fever lets you run a virtual restaurant on your phone. You can serve up burgers and drinks, and it is really addictive, but I get to call it work. So! The perks of what you do or what I get to do, for sure.
So, yeah, for them one of our goals is to keep increasing, obviously, the user base which is a fantastically engaged user base. And what we did was connect with an influencer on YouTube called Rclbeauty, and we did a video campaign along with her. And the video campaign had really nothing to do with the game even, it was like a slime challenge with her and her boyfriend where when they got questions wrong and they got to slime each other, and we just integrated that. So, in the middle of it she would say, "you know I'm playing this game, it's awesome, guys check it out," and that video alone has over 8 million views now.
So, we were able to get some downloads for great [inaudible] [00:02:48], so that's a great example of influencer marketing.
John Dee Dumas: That's a great example! Fire Nation, think about how you can integrate that into your life and your business, or if you're not there yet just know that that is an opportunity and an option down the road.
Shama Hyder: And it can be at any level, that's the thing. It doesn't, you don't have to play at the 8 million viewer level, it can be the mommy blogger, the fitness blogger, whoever it is that influences your customer base.
John Dee Dumas: Love that.
Well, Shama, let's talk about something that didn't crush it in your life. Let's talk about your worst entrepreneurial moment. Take us to that day, tell us that story.
Shama Hyder: You know, I would say my worst entrepreneurial moment is one where I still cringe when I think about it. Because when I first stated you know we all kind of go through the branding marketing stuff, and even though, of course, there was my passion.
I remember when a client was introducing me to someone else, a potential client, and saying, "Oh, my god, you have to meet Shama, she's such a marketing guru." And I remember tapping him on the shoulder and saying, "I think you mean business consultant," and it was so terrible! Looking back, I'm like, oh, that was awful. Because, of course, I wanted to stay broad! And so, the mistakes you make. So, I would say that was definitely a cringeworthy moment for me.
John Dee Dumas: So, in that cringeworthy moment, you're looking back, you're saying in hindsight X, Y, and Z. What are some things that you learned from that? How can we as listeners, entrepreneurs, small business owners really learn something from that cringeworthy moment?
Shama Hyder: Totally. So, I would say, one, listen to market feedback. Sometimes the market defines you and you should go with that, especially when there's money to be made and the demand is there. If someone says this is what this, you know, they excel at don't fight them and say, well, we also do the X, Y, Z, or like, oh, well, we really just! So, I think it's important to listen to market demand. I think that was a key lesson.
I think, two, is to not be afraid for being niche. Because for me at that time I was just starting out, it still felt like, well, what if someone wants something besides just digital marketing? Or what if they need something else even though, of course, I had no expertise or resources to carry out those things back then? So, we think there's also that, you have to get over that fear of saying, oh, I'm gonna turn away people.
John Dee Dumas: Fire Nation, listen to market demand. You have to keep your finger on the pulse because we're living in this world that is changing so quickly, so rapidly, you have to stay in the know.
And then, Shama, I love that last point that you made, you can't be afraid to niche.
Fire Nation, we're terrified of "turning away clients," but if you can't serve them properly you should not be serving them at all. If you try to resonate with everybody you will resonate with nobody at all. So, choose your niche, get down there, get specific, get details, crush that market and continue to learn. And as you learn and get experience you can broad it out, but don't start broad, start niche.
Now let's move forward, Shama, into another story. Tell us about one of your greatest ideas that you've had to date. Take us to that day, tell us that story.
Shama Hyder: You know, honestly, I think one of the greatest ideas is – and it's funny because this idea of listening to market demand, right? And was starting a social media agency when it didn't exist, like the word social media marketing or phrase, social media marketing didn't exist, agencies for social media certainly didn't exist.
And it was a time where big businesses said, well, we don't understand this, what's tweeter, well, Facebook's for a 14-year-old, before Instagram before Snapshot, before really how we see marketing today. And at that time is when I started, about eight years ago, my social media marketing and digital PR agency, and I had to shift and say, okay. I still felt like the idea had a lot of promise but it wasn't big businesses that were our initial clients, it was small businesses. It was small businesses that said, you know, we don't really care about red tape, it's a recession and if this brings customers in we're game, we'll try it.
So, we think sometimes it's about finding your customer base if you really believe in your product.
John Dee Dumas: Find your customer base, Fire Nation, believe in your product.
So, once again, Shama, let's kind of go back and what lessons did you learn from that experience? What do you really wanna make sure that our listeners, Fire Nation, can take away and potentially even apply to their own businesses?
Shama Hyder: Yeah, I would say a couple of lessons. One, highlighting, again, listen to market demand. It was there but not where I expected it to be, right? So, sometimes market demand isn't when you go looking in one area, but when you widen your search to say who would benefit from my product or service. And for us, our initial customers, like I said, small businesses more willing to take risks and try it.
Two, you can't ever be afraid to pivot. A lot of times people think their first ideas, would they have to stick with you, they don't. Your first idea may not be your best idea, it's the ability to roll with the punches in business, and then just like in life.
John Dee Dumas: This is a theme that's developing, Fire Nation. We need to really understand that things are changing quickly in this world. I mean, what's true today is not gonna be true in six months, and it's not gonna be true six months from then.
For me, I look at my day-to-day life, Snapchat, Instagram stories they're a big part of my day-to-day and my week-to-week. They didn't even exist in my world six months ago, so we need to be flexible, we need to keep that finger on the pulse, and continue to roll with the punches. And that's the beauty of being an entrepreneur. We are building this Swiss Army-knife-like skillset that we can use in these different scenarios. And it's really exciting, but you have to be flexible, you have to roll with those punches.
So, Shama, take us to today. Let's talk a little bit about what you're most fired up about here at the end of 2016.
Shama Hyder: Yeah. What I'm really excited about and I'll speak specifically to digital marketing, what I'm sharing today.
I'm really excited about live streaming video. I think it's going to be such a game-changer, with Facebook Live now has it, Twitter is doing live videos, and the ability for anybody, any business out there, any small business to be able to share a video and a high-quality video at that, to be able to broadcast that and connect with your community like that. I think that's something I'm really excited about. And the numbers we're seeing are so phenomenal.
We shoot a show on business and technology on Facebook Live, we air it on Fridays. And we might, on YouTube might have gotten a couple of thousand views for those videos. And then, when we post them on Facebook for ours and our clients' it's not rare for us to see 140,000 views.
John Dee Dumas: Wow! I mean, that's just a game-changer, Fire Nation.
Shama Hyder: It's massive!
John Dee Dumas: And that's where you are continuing to roll with the punches, Shama, and Fire Nation where you need to take a lesson from that. Shama could've just stayed focused on YouTube and that would've been her business, and that would've been her views, and that would've been a slow steady growth and it would've been fine. But you have to leverage the new platforms that become available as they become available.
And Facebook Live, Facebook's streaming right now. It's huge. And you know, maybe it will be in six months and you need to know what that next big thing is, but you have to keep leveraging down on what's currently working.
So, Fire Nation, we have so much fire coming up in the Lightning Round, so don't you go anywhere. We're gonna take a minute first to thank our sponsors.
Shama, are you prepared for the Lightning Rounds?
Shama Hyder: I am prepared!
John Dee Dumas: What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur?
Shama Hyder: Looking for a job! Because I was 23, I'd just gotten out of grad school, and I thought originally that I would go the traditional route and get a job. Except, I guess the correct answer would be, my industry didn't exist. So, social media marketing as an industry didn't exist when I graduated.
John Dee Dumas: What is the best advice you've ever received?
Shama Hyder: Nothing lasts forever.
John Dee Dumas: Where did you hear that from? What kind of, expand upon how you've used that.
Shama Hyder: Yeah, I mean, it's a philosophy you see in so many things, right? From Buddhism to Sufism, to pop culture even, but it's true.
I think in terms, applied to marketing and business and so forth, if you take advantage of the trends when you have them, you know you make hey while the sun shines, and even when you have those low periods in business you gotta keep swimming until you're out on the other side. Because again, all that's ever promised is change.
John Dee Dumas: Now I think I heard you say Sufism, did I pronounce that correctly, and if so, what is it?
Shama Hyder: You did. Sufism is a mystical branch of Islam. If you've ever seen the whirling Dervishes?
John Dee Dumas: Oh, yeah!
Shama Hyder: They're very popular, they kind of, yeah, that's part of the Sufism mysticism. Yeah, it's a very, it's actually very similar to Buddhism in some ways, in terms of its philosophy and letting people connect with the Divine and so forth.
John Dee Dumas: What's something unique about Sufism do you think Fire Nation would find interesting?
Shama Hyder: That it focuses on the individual's relationship with God without necessarily a mediator or a middle man. Which, of course, lots of formal religions have in the form of preachers, Pope, what have you. And Sufism is very focused on an individual's relationship directly with the Divine.
John Dee Dumas: What's a personal habit that contributes to your success?
Shama Hyder: The ability to always see the glass half full. The ability to be able to see the silver lining, to take personal responsibility.
A good example of this, honestly, is the recent election. I won't get into the politics of either side, but I will say I'm amazed at how much power people give an individual, rather than take that responsibility into their lives.
Because they think regardless of who is president or what someone's views may be, the chances of, you know there are going to be people who are gonna be greatly successful in the next four years and people who are gonna be greatly not successful. And I think that whoever's running the country has a very small, if any, role in that!
John Dee Dumas: Yeah, that's interesting, Fire Nation. I mean, I love that phrase, just take 100 percent responsibility for your life, for what happens. Just don't give that power away.
Now, Shama, what's an internet resource you can recommend to Fire Nation?
Shama Hyder: Can I give two recommendations!?
John Dee Dumas: Yes!
Shama Hyder: All right, I'll give two recommendations because one might be a little direct.
But on MarketingZen.com, the company site, the company blog. But we have over, boy, over 500 posts and articles, and it's just – I mean, we have content from 2007. But specifically, right now, we have lots of great content on live streaming, how to use it, great case studies. So, I wanna recommend that.
I realize that that might be a little unfair because it is my site and, perhaps, a little biased if not unfair.
But the second site that I recommend, I think is great, is SocialMediaExaminer, especially for those who are interested in keeping up with social media and enjoy the text and trends.
John Dee Dumas: Absolutely two great recommended resources. And let's talk about books now. The Zen of Social Media Marketing, Momentum, both need to be on our bookshelves, Fire Nation.
Beyond those two, Shama, what would you recommend and why?
Shama Hyder: A classic that I really like is Blue Ocean Strategy. It is a classic business book and it talks about differentiating and how important it is to create a niche for yourself and business. I just think it's a classic read for anybody in business.
John Dee Dumas: It was actually one of the very first entrepreneurial books I ever read in my life. And I remember stopping that book and be like, huh, so I don't have to stay in this red ocean where everybody else is! Is that real?!
Very interesting stuff. One of my first ah-ha moments.
And, Shama, this is the last question of the Lightning Round, but it is a doozy. Imagine you woke up tomorrow morning in a brand-new world, identical to earth, but you knew no one. You still have all of the experience and knowledge that you currently have, your food and shelter is taken care of, but all you have is a laptop and $500.00. What would you do in the next seven days?
Shama Hyder: I would do what I did when I had 1,500 bucks and started my company! The exact same thing, you know.
Start creating content, and if I knew nothing about that then doing research and starting a blog. I would start creating very good content, written form, video form, until I got my first paying client.
John Dee Dumas: Shama, I wanna end today on fire, so give us a parting piece of guidance, the best way that we can connect with you, and then we'll say goodbye.
Shama Hyder: Parting piece of guidance would be, learn to be an editor not a perfectionist. Because the world of marketing, business, and life changes too fast. So, I think having an editor's perspective rather than a perfectionist's.
Perfectionists are in something that's done and it's final, and editors are always looking at how you can make it better, so making progress your friend.
And then, you can find us at MarketingZen.com and my personal site at ShamaHyder.com.
John Dee Dumas: Fire Nation, you're the average of the five people you spend the most time with, and you have been hanging out with S.H. and J.L.D. today, so keep up the heat!
And of course, remember, to be an editor not a perfectionist, make progress your friend. And head over to EOFire.com and type Shama, that's S-h-a-m-a, in the search bar, and her Show Notes page will pop up with everything that we've been talking about. Best Show Notes in the biz, Fire Nation, timestamps, links galore.
And one more time, Shama, give us the two URLs you just shared.
Shama Hyder: MarketingZen.com, and ShamaHyder.com.
John Dee Dumas: Shama, thank you for sharing your journey with Fire Nation today, for that we salute you and we'll catch you on the flip side!
Shama Hyder: Thank you J.L.D., it's been real.
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