SHAMA HYDER – ZEN MAGNATE
Many of us Baby Boomers wonder how and when social media became such a staple in our daily lives. Some of us may shy away from this millennium’s digital overload by firmly clutching to the days of flip phones and emoji-less text messages. For others, evolving social media can be found in the palm of our hands with the touch of an app. No matter where you fall on the social media spectrum, you can recognize that it has made our world more connected – smaller even. We use Facebook to connect with our long-lost friends and relatives, Twitter to check for news around the world, our iPhones to Facetime our grandchildren who live miles away, and Yelp to check out if a restaurant is worth the drive.
Many businesses wonder how to use social media to engage their current and potential customers. Well, 32-year-old Shama Hyder has built a name for herself doing just that. She’s a millennial that’s literally written the book on how businesses can succeed in the social media world. She is a best-selling author, award-winning business owner, international keynote speaker, web and TV personality, and digital guru. She’s been named the “Zen Master of Marketing” by Entrepreneur magazine, “Millennial Master of the Universe” by FastCompany.com, and has been honored by the White House and the United Nations as one of the top 100 entrepreneurs in the country.
Digital Visionary Extraordinaire
How did Hyder reach such success at such a young age? Through her eagerness to meet business owners’ demand to develop meaningful online relationships with their customers. By keeping a people-first strategy, her company, Zen Media, has been able to help Fortune 500 companies, small businesses, and non-profits achieve online success.
Hyder’s a digital soothsayer some may say, because she knows what’s up next when it comes to technology and digital media. She graduated from the University of Texas in 2009 with a master’s in organizational communication and technology. At that time, Twitter was a platform of only 2,000 people, she knows – she wrote her thesis statement on the importance of the platform. Some may say that she was before her time, but fast forward to today when the platform has over 250 million users, it’s clear that she was on to something.
After graduation from college, with $1,500 in her pocket, Hyder made her company, Zen Media, a reality. One year later, she released her first book The Zen of Social Media Marketing: An Easier Way to Build Credibility, Generate Buzz, and Increase Revenue to “take the stress out of digital and social media marketing,” she said.It seems that all the time that Hyder spent tweeting has paid off as her company is now a multi-million-dollar success.
The book is now in its fourth edition and is used as a guide for college students in that field. In 2016, her latest book Momentum: How to Propel Your Marketing and Transform Your Brand in the Digital Age was released and has achieved much of the same success as her first book.
Brilliant Brand Building
When Hyder isn’t online, she’s speaking about the power of digital media at conferences around the world. She’s an international keynote speaker known for her captivating, engaging, and dynamic digital marketing strategies.” We are in an age where people are tired of the faceless corporate culture,” she says. “Every day, I ask myself the same question: What can I do today to increase value for our trusted audience (blog readers, TV watchers, Twitter followers, etc.), for our team and for our clients?” Her approach is innovative and well thought out. “We’re about legitimate engagement,” she said. “We want clients to engage with followers, rather than just talking at them.” She has clients all over the world, in places like the Netherlands and China and she’s traveled across the oceans to teach her strategies to young entrepreneurs in countries like Egypt and Denmark.
Part of her international success lies in her multicultural roots. Hyder was born in Goa, India and moved to Texas when she was 9 years old. Her father and grandfather were politicians and their pursuit of a safer environment led the family to America. She said that growing up both in India and America gave her a well-rounded view on life. She says in India the education system values discipline, memorization, and following the rules, while America values creativity, independence, and expression. “It’s good to have the best of both worlds,” she said.
Deep Dive into a Digital World
Hyder speaks to entrepreneurs, business owners, influencers, and digital strategists about understanding the needs of their clients both offline and online. Her first job was a school teacher for children with disabilities, which she thought would parlay into a career in education. She was particularly fond of history and wanted to be a professor, but her passions had different plans as she would ultimately fall in love with technology and digital marketing. “It became clear that the industry for the job I wanted didn’t exist, but I knew the demand was there,” she said. “I could see that this was just the beginning of things to come.” She was right. She attributes much of her success to being at the right place at the right time and embracing digital trends to increase her profits. In fact, Zen Media doesn’t have a brick-and-mortar office, but in a modern move has virtual employees all over the world. All in all, her drive has pushed her to monumental heights. She is dedicated to encouraging business owners to seize the global market through the many opportunities on social media.
Hyder says that she’ll always love technology because it forces her to be a life learner. “Old literacy was about reading, writing, and arithmetic. The new literary is more nuanced than that. It is about being able to learn, unlearn, re-learn, and apply knowledge to different sectors,” she said. Whether it’s learning how to promote an event on Facebook Live or using sponsored Twitter ads, learning in this millennium requires curiosity and being able to adapt as new technologies emerge. If you can do this, you can do anything!
For more information about Hyder and Zen Media, visit her website and click here to view our Q&A with this extraordinary woman.