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AMAs

Shama Hyder is a visionary strategist for the digital age. A web and TV personality, a bestselling author, and the award-winning CEO of The Marketing Zen Group—a global online marketing and digital PR company, she has aptly been dubbed the “Zen Master of Marketing” by Entrepreneur Magazine and the “Millennial Master of the Universe” by FastCompany.com. Under her leadership, The Marketing Zen Group has grown to include a team of 30 and serve clients ranging from publicly-held Fortune 500 companies to privately-held small businesses and nonprofit organizations across the globe.

Shama is the bestselling author of The Zen of Social Media Marketing, now in its 4th edition and Momentum: How to Propel Your Marketing and Transform Your Brand in the Digital Age, her latest book that launched in 2016. An acclaimed international keynote speaker, Shama has shared the speaking stage with the world’s top leaders, including President Obama and the Dalai Lama.

As a result of her success, Shama has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the prestigious Technology Titan Emerging Company CEO award. She was named one of the “Top 25 Entrepreneurs under 25” by Business Week in 2009, one of the “Top 30 Under 30” Entrepreneurs in America in 2014 by Inc. Magazine, and to the Forbes 30 Under 30 list of movers and shakers for 2015. LinkedIn named Hyder one of its “Top Voices” in Marketing & Social. Shama has been honored at both the White House and The United Nations as one of the top 100 young entrepreneurs in the country. Most recently her web show Shama TV was awarded a Hermes Gold award for Educational Programming in Electronic Media.

You can follower her on Twitter: @Shama

She will be live on December 8 starting at 930 AM PT for one and half hours during which she will answer as many questions as possible.

  • DH

    David Hobson

    12 months ago #

    Hi @Shama Hyder,

    Yes, thank you. Really looking forward to this.

    My question is on productivity and planning.
    I would love to know more about how you plan your day - and your week.

    There is a lot of literature and posts out there on this, but it's all in the action and top performers often have some great insights and tips. Do you plan on paper, an app, start of the day, night before etc?

    Thanks in advance

    • SH

      Shama Hyder

      12 months ago #

      Great question. Thank you.

      Let me start by saying that I am a work in progress. haha. There are some people who are EXCELLENT planners. I am not a perfectionist. I don't wake up early every morning and have a set routine...that's just not me. Each day for me looks a little different.

      Here are things that I have found to be helpful overall -

      1) Writing things down on paper. For many years, I was totally digital. And, for most things, I still am - but in the last year or so, I've started keeping notebooks with notes and scribbles. It just helps my mind get going a bit. My handwriting hasn't improved, but I do think my creativity has -

      2) Focusing on one task at a time. yes - this is HARD but so worth it. I have a plugin on Chrome called "Forest" - it lets you set a 25 minute timer on tasks. And - grows a cute little virtual tree in that time. I find it helpful to work in chunks of time like that.

      3) Make hay WHERE the sun shines. By this, I mean I focus on where it is easiest at the moment and walk away from things when it just isn't "clicking" - this is a very ZEN way to do things. If I am in the right "mode" I can finish the same task in 30 minutes vs the hours it would take me if I wasn't in the zone. In other words, this can't always be forced.

      • DH

        David Hobson

        12 months ago #

        Thanks @Shama Hyder. Much appreciated!

        I think it's time I revisited #3 more closely, couldn't agree more, it's great to work when you are in the zone, painful... when you're not.

        Great AMA, thanks!

  • SE

    Sean Ellis

    12 months ago #

    Thanks so much for doing this AMA with us. Three questions...

    - I'd love to know the story of how you shared the stage with the Dalai Lama and Obama.

    - Since your speciality is social marketing, do you think meaningful free opportunities to drive customer acquisition in social media still exist, or has it primarily shifted to paid marketing in social media?

    -Which companies are most effective with social media marketing today?

    • SH

      Shama Hyder

      12 months ago #

      My pleasure!

      1) Haha - It wasn't simultaneous. On various occasions, I've been invited to share the stage with both. The conferences I usually speak and keynote at revolve around entrepreneurship, marketing, and sales in the digital age. Also, on millennials and Gen Z.

      2) I there there are meaningful free opportunities for customer acquisition - but the ROI is so much stronger than you combine it with paid amplification. Excellent content is still at the core of everything. And, that requires creativity. Which CAN be free! = )-

      3) I think there are lots of companies getting it right - and just as many who haven't caught on yet. Funnily enough, I think a lot of small businesses are actually being very creative with it. We work with a lasik eye surgery center in Jersey, and we've seen so much success with their social media over the years - even in a limited space and niche. Also - look to non-profits. I still love the ice bucket challenge done by the ALS.

      4 Share
      • AA

        Anuj Adhiya

        12 months ago #

        re: creativity.
        Do you think you can learn to be a super creative person or are you just born with it?
        If you can learn - any advice on how someone can teach themselves this skill?

  • AL

    Arsene Lavaux

    12 months ago #

    Bonjour Shama,

    Thank you for doing this AMA in this vibrant growth marketing community.

    Here are a couple of questions for you:

    1) What do we need to do to develop more young entrepreneurs to startup action?
    2) Do you have a passion in marketing? If so, in which area and why?

    Merci!

    • SH

      Shama Hyder

      12 months ago #

      Happy to be here!

      1) Great question! I think it's two-fold. Make them AWARE of the opportunities available to them. I think more young people are fed the - school-->job routine. When I speak to young people - in high school and colleges - they are amazed that such opportunities even exist for them. I think awareness and allowing them see the possibilities is crucial. Next, I think we have to start teaching them HOW to be an entrepreneur. I don't think you can teach "inner hustle" but you can teach them how to channel that, how to learn from failures, how to look at market demand...

      2) I love social media. I am partial - of course - I got my start in it - and my agency is a social media marketing and digital PR agency. I just love the power to reach so many in a way never done before in history. Look at AMAs - how cool is this?!! haha.

      5 Share
    • AW

      Avi Weisfogel

      12 months ago #

      Agreed! I just wanted to say thank you for sharing your knowledge with this community

  • SK

    S Kodial

    12 months ago #

    Hi Shama - so cool of you to join us.

    What does it take to become one of the "“Top Voices” in Marketing & Social"
    Also, for someone starting out with no connections or special advantage, what advice would you give someone to do first (and then keep doing) to become one of these "top voices"?

    • SH

      Shama Hyder

      12 months ago #

      Thank you for having me!

      Short answer - Hard work and consistency. I started in this industry - before it was an industry (lol) with $1500 bucks and zero connections. I was 23 years old. I built both the company brand and my personal brand concurrently by using that simple formula. You have to provide value to your audience. That is absolutely paramount. When I didn't have anything to offer, I went to the library - read books - and summarized those books as blog posts. I went to conferences - took notes - and offered to share my notes with others in exchange for a business card.

      If you can find a way to provide value to your audience - create OR curate - you can make it.

      7 Share
  • JD

    James Dunn

    12 months ago #

    Hi Shama, since the last release of your book do you think theres been even more changes (strategically or tactically) on how you think about transforming your brand in the digital age?

    • SH

      Shama Hyder

      12 months ago #

      Excellent question. I think both. For those who may not know, I have two books out - Momentum - which just came out in July. That's on marketing in the digital age. And, The Zen of Social Media Marketing - which is now in its 4th edition.

      Tactically of course is a no-brainer. Snapchat, Instastories, FB live....there are always new tools.

      Strategically - I think it is understanding the shift which has occurred. It is no longer about what a company's brand says about them - but what doing business with that company allows the consumers to say about themselves. This is new for the digital age.

  • JF

    Javier Feldman

    12 months ago #

    Hi Shama,

    What do you think it is about influencer marketing that most people still don't understand? Why do you think that is?

    Cheers!

    • SH

      Shama Hyder

      12 months ago #

      Thanks for your question!

      I do wish people would understand HOW powerful influencer marketing can be when it is done correctly. We've had great success with our clients using influencer marketing. This was THE strategy for 2016 which drove a considerable ROI.

      You have to choose the right influencers (not always the biggest) and you have to strategize with them to make sure it is actually driving results. It needs to be interwoven with everything else.

      4 Share
      • AA

        Anuj Adhiya

        12 months ago #

        Any advice on choosing the right influencers? What characteristics should be looking out for?

  • AF

    Adewale Fayinka

    12 months ago #

    Hi Ms Shama Hyder, thank you for sharing with this group. Two quick questions:

    1. I am in the business of providing marketing education. But I suspect most of the tools we used belong to the old order. I am passionate about really really assisting my clients and trainees to excel in marketing, what tools should I be discussing with them for them to excel in their businesses.
    2. What can i do differently to redefine my business and become award-winner too.
    Thanks.

    • SH

      Shama Hyder

      12 months ago #

      1) You have to meet people where they are - and then bring them to where you want them to be. So, if your audience is still using "older tools" - then those are where you will need to be - as you educate and bring them further along. Also, important to note, that different age groups and audiences engage differently. Some will take in what you are offering but they won't react or respond publicly. Doesn't mean they aren't consuming your information...I've had people reach out after 3-4 years of receiving our newsletter every week. I didn't even know they were out there - but they were following and we were building trust and credibility.

      2) Provide value. I'll say it until I am blue in the face. You have to find our what your audience hungers for - what they need - and then give them that. Then - do it consistently. It works.

  • GH

    Glen Harper

    12 months ago #

    Hi Shama, really happy to have you on the AMA with us. To paraphrase a Peter Theil question - What one marketing truth do you believe that almost no one else agrees with you on? Thanks in advance, Glen

    • SH

      Shama Hyder

      12 months ago #

      Love the question, Glen. Happy to be here.

      Consistency is the least sexy word in marketing today. It's like the cousin of Prudence. People don't like it. So old fashioned in the world of Snapchats - haha - but it is what drives marketing RESULTS. Whatever you choose to do, you have to do it consistently.

      3 Share
  • JP

    John Phamvan

    12 months ago #

    Hi Shama

    Can you talk about how you grew your agency?
    We have many members who also have their own and I think It'd be enlightening to understand the history, challenges and opportunities as you see them of growing your agency to the point of being recognized as a top tier choice.

    • SH

      Shama Hyder

      12 months ago #

      Hi John -

      Absolutely. I can tell you that starting, running, and growing an agency isn't everyone's cup to tea. And, that there will be critics. To whom you should say - great. you should start an agency. have fun! = ) I've had people try to start agencies and then email me a couple of years later to say how challenging it ACTUALLY was! Imagine that. ; )

      That being said, if you run one, I think there are a few things to keep in mind.

      1) Get good at what you do and STAY good at it. This may seem like a no-brainer, but in today's digital age time moves at a faster pace. You have to keep up. Your clients depend on you for it. I know ours do.

      2) There will be lots of opinions on how to do things. Listen to them all, and then follow your intuition. Building a successful business is part science and part intuition. Hone both.

      3) Know your own weaknesses and strengths. Play to your strengths and get support from other people on your weaknesses.

      4) Pivot when you need to - and always listen to your clients and marketplace. They will tell you what you need, and you have to stay flexible and evolve.

      5) Own a niche. This is something I pushed against for a while because we could "help our clients in SO MANY WAYS! Opportunities for them are endless!" And, it doesn't have to be just industry. We work with clients across industries and across the globe, but we hone in on social media marketing, digital PR, influencer and content marketing - helping brands find their zen in the chaos of the digital age.

  • DO

    Danielle Olivas

    12 months ago #

    Hi Shama,

    Thanks for joining us today! :)

    What's been the most challenging (however you want to define it) client situation you've faced so far and how were you able to overcome it?

    I look forward to your reply.

    Thanks!

    • SH

      Shama Hyder

      12 months ago #

      My pleasure!

      We had a client situation once where they asked us to help them win a local election on a bill that would have shut down their business if it had been passed...we had 90 days to digitally educate people and drive votes. It worked, and we were successful - but it was a huge responsibility knowing so many jobs depended on us.

      As a team, we knew what was at stake, and we communicated with the client daily to make sure everyone was on the same page.

  • MD

    Mark Anthony de Jesus

    12 months ago #

    Is there a particular marketing experiment that you can recall that was either a big win or provided some deep insights?

    • SH

      Shama Hyder

      12 months ago #

      We run experiments practically daily - lol - so the most recently has been Facebook videos! Running live videos for clients gets them 3x more view in organic feeds than any other type of post.

  • DH

    Dani Hart

    12 months ago #

    Hi Shama,

    Wow! So awesome to have you here today. Very impressive background!

    I'm curious... as CEO of The Marketing Zen Group, how involved are you with your client's growth? What do you do as a team to find new techniques (or resurface old ones) to produce and replicate successful growth experiments for your clients?

    Also, what are your top three lessons learned from your career experience thus far?

    Excited to hear what you have to say. :)

    Cheers,
    Dani

    • SH

      Shama Hyder

      12 months ago #

      Dani -

      Thank you for questions -

      1) Very involved with client growth. The team is virtual so we use Slack (which we love) to constantly share ideas and techniques. Most of our clients have been with us for years. It is a nice feeling.

      Top 3 lessons learned -

      1) Keep going. You will never get it ALL done, but you can do your best each day. That's what I strive for -

      2) There will be champions and there will be critics. Love them both. Send both groups good vibes - then continue to do your thing. No one has to walk in your shoes but you, and you don't owe anyone an explanation.

      3) Gratitude. Gratitude. Gratitude. THANK YOUs make the world go round.

  • BW

    Brand Winnie

    12 months ago #

    Hi Shama!

    What's the right stage in your mind for a startup to think about PR? And to parse that question further, is there a stage at which startups can/should handle it on their own and is there a stage at which point it just makes to consider an agency?

    • SH

      Shama Hyder

      12 months ago #

      I think it was Bill Gates who said if he had just a dollar left, he'd spend it on PR. In other words, PR is a KEY investment for a start-up right out of the gate. Now, it can be handled in house but should never be ignored. FD - We work with start-ups on their digital PR - and it has such a solid ROI for them. It isn't just one article or one hit...but the culmination of everything which keeps paying dividends. In PR, the old adage is true - success breeds success.

  • EN

    Eyal Nayowitz

    12 months ago #

    Recently i have been looking into getting more involved in forums on linkedin, quora, reddit. and eventually maybe promote my company... probably by sending them to a review sites that shows our awesome clients testimonials. Do you think that activity is worthwhile... and is it scalable?

  • JA

    Jamil Ali

    12 months ago #

    Thanks for sharing your experiences with us. Looking forward to the next session.

  • AA

    Anuj Adhiya

    12 months ago #

    Hey Shama - so stoked to have you on

    What was the trigger for Shama TV when you launched it, ie, what told you that was going to be a viable channel to achieve whatever goal you had in mind at the time?
    Also, has the objective and strategy around it changed since its launch? If so how has it changed and what prompted the change?

    • SH

      Shama Hyder

      12 months ago #

      Thanks for your question, Anuj!

      I love Shama Tv because it has been such a fun and fascinating way to reach my audience. I run into people at conferences - and they will say - oh, I watched this episode and really liked it. It feels so good to know that we can connect like that in this day and age. I initially started doing videos 5 years ago when I realized how powerful the medium truly is - one stat I came across said - 64% of people will finish watching up to a 30 minute commercial video clip vs 24% who will finish reading a POST. I was shocked because I am a reader. I prefer reading a transcript of a show - haha. But, I realized that wasn't MOST people. So, we started creating the videos - and a global audience grew.

      Most recently, we moved "homes" from YouTube to Facebook Live because the audience is there. My content - which is business, marketing, technology, appeals more to a FB/LI audience than youtube - which is more consumer based channel driven.

      The objective has always been to educate and connect with my global audience. Having a one to many channel like that is an efficient and personable way to share information. The strategy keeps evolving as we keep up with algorithms, tools, etc.

      Even now, when we create videos - we share them across platforms - housing all of them on www.ShamaHyder.com

      3 Share

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