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How to Use and Ice Cream Controversy to Get 1 Billion Social Impressions

Authors: Jay Baer Shama Hyder
Posted Under: Social Pros Podcast
Hosted By
Jay Baer

Daniel Lemin

Convince & Convert
Jay Baer

Hannah Tooker

Jay Baer

Leanna Pham

Convince & Convert
About Social Pros Podcast:

Social Pros is one of the longest-running marketing podcasts in existence (10 YEARS and counting), and was recently recognized as the #1 Audio/Podcast Series by the Content Marketing Awards.

Our purpose? Making sure that we speak to real people doing real work in social media.

Listeners get inside stories and behind-the-scenes secrets about how teams at companies like Google, Reddit, Glossier, Zillow, Lyft, Marvel, and dozens more, staff, operate, and measure their social media programs.  With 600+ episodes, the Social Pros Podcast brings the humanity of social media to the forefront, while providing incredibly useful marketing strategies that listeners can immediately implement.

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To inquire about becoming a guest or show sponsor, please email our Executive Producer, Leanna Pham, at

Apple Podcast Reviews:

The Social Pros podcast has quickly become a favorite in my feed! I'm consistently impressed by the engaging conversations, insightful content, and actionable ideas. I truly learn something every time I listen!

@Arlie K

This is absolutely an awesome listen for anyone in communications or social media!!


This podcast has become one of my staple weekly podcasts for learning about marketing! Love the conversations that they have and it's always enjoyable and educational!


Love the podcast - informative, in depth and spot on for any business size.


Shama Hyder, CEO of Marketing Zen, joins the Social Pros Podcast to discuss her theories around agility through analytics and how taking her principals to heart can propel your social marketing to the next level.

Take It To The Next Level

Shama has nailed down five principles of digital marketing that declutter the social landscape and guide you through the mess to find success.
Agility through analytics is about understanding the right way to engage with and apply data from analytics without losing creative muster. Pulling data and curating creative campaigns don’t have to live in separate quarters of the strategic process. Shama knows how to pull these two together to remain informed and creatively agile.
Customer focus goes beyond crafting a strategy to appeal to a customer’s needs. It’s a paradigm shift of marketing that focuses on answering the question of ‘what does doing business with us allow our customers to say about their personal brand?’. Your social strategy focuses on being a mirror for your customers instead of a megaphone for yourself.
Integrating the digital and physical aspects of marketing is a principal that takes your strategy off the screen and into your customer’s world. This not only amplifies the impact of your statement but is the next natural step in the evolution of social. As it encompasses more and more of our lives, the time has come to complement these interactions off the screen by engaging in the physical realm.
These are only three of Shama’s nail-on-the-head principles that can take a social marketing strategy from zero to hero.

In This Episode

  • Why being agile in your strategy doesn’t mean ditching analysis or creativity in favor of speed
  • How honing verbal AND written communication skills leads to success in the written social medium
  • Why nailing your cross posting on social means creating a recipe for success
  • How becoming your customer’s personal amplifier leads them to embrace your social media


Quotes From This Episode

Agility through analytics is really this idea of being able to make decisions based on objective research: looking at the numbers.” —@Shama
“It’s really this idea of being agile but looking at your numbers and making decisions based on those.” —@Shama
“Because we have all these numbers we have to get even more creative especially as organic reach of course continues to get harder and harder.” —@Shama
“That’s important: being able to come to work with people that you actually appreciate and respect, and even when there’s differences in opinion as happens in a creative realm that they’re able to overcome those through strong appreciation for each other.” —@Shama
“If there’s one skillset that you can really sort of nail down before you get out of school, nail down communication.” —@Shama
“I really do believe in an ‘and’ world. I don’t think it’s ‘or’ world as in it’s Snap or email. It’s very much an ‘and’ world.” —@Shama
“I have all sorts of little recipes set up that make my social media a little bit easier to handle just personally that I use.” —@Shama
“I look for recipes once I have a need. If I did it the other way around, I would be really overwhelmed.” —@Shama
“That open letter really went viral in the true sense of the word because 48 hours later that campaign had more views cumulatively than 11 Super Bowl ads combined.” —@Shama
“Your brand is less important than what it allows your customers to say about their personal brand as they engage with you.” —@Shama
“The company almost becomes sort of this outlet or this channel to allow the customer to not just express themselves fully but also to be able to kind of enhance that expression.” —@Shama
“You don’t use social media; you understand it.” —@Shama
“The realization that everything is social is slowly sinking in.” —@Shama
“We’re coming into this point in time with social media where it’s not just tactical but it is very much more strategic and creative.” —@Shama


See you next week!


Jay: Welcome, everybody, to Social Pros, the podcast for real people doing real work in social media. I am, as always, Jay Baer from Convince & Convert. Joining me here on Episode 259 of the Social Pros podcast it is my special Texas friend, my rudimentary Texas friend, my better than average Texas friend. He is the Executive Strategist at Salesforce Marketing Cloud. He is the one, the only, Mr. Adam Brown.
Adam: Jay, I like that because no matter how you grade, especially if you grade on a curve which I always need, I am your friend. I am excited because I am going to get to see you in person here in a couple of weeks.
Jay: Yeah. That doesn’t happen very often. In fact, we did about a hundred shows before we’d ever met each other in person, but now we’re just stringing them together. It’s like we’re stacking them up like cordwood.
Adam: We’re bringing the band back together.
Jay: We are. We’ll be at the big social media marketing world event which actually be, I think, on … That event may be actually happening when this show releases. We will all be together in beautiful San Diego. Every time I go to San Diego, I think “Why don’t I live in San Diego?”
Adam: 72 degrees all the time. It’s lovely.
Jay: I could live anywhere. I really should. Then my wife always says “Well, there’s fires and traffic and expense.” I’m like “Those are three good reasons.”
Adam: Yeah, that’s true.
Jay: You know who doesn’t live in San Diego but could also live anywhere because she’s fabulous and brilliant is our guest on the podcast today. Shama Hyder is the CEO of Marketing Zen. She lives in Dallas or thereabouts so she’s also a special Texas friend.
Adam: I know.
Jay: She is the author of the fantastic book Momentum: How to Propel Your Marketing and Transform Your Brand in the Digital Age, and she has without question the best hair in social media. Hey, girl. Welcome to Social Pros.
Shama: Thank you so much. I can’t say I’ve had that introduction before.
Jay: You should stop doing podcasts after this. That’s it. You’re all done.
Shama: No, it’s great. In fact, it’s funny because when you were saying “your rudimentary friend from Texas” I was like “That’s me!”
Jay: You are not rudimentary. You are-
Adam: You’re a special friend. I’m the rudimentary one.
Jay: You are the very special friend.
Shama: Well it’s good to be here. Thank you so much for having me.
Jay: Love the book. Momentum is fantastic. I was delighted to blurb that book. I know it’s selling great as it should. I want you to talk bout one of the five principles of that book. You call it agility through analytics. I think it’s so critical especially for the people who listen to this show who are social media professionals by and large. Can you talk a little bit about what you mean by agility through analytics and how people who do social for a living can really take that to heart?
Shama: Yeah. Agility through analytics is really this idea of being able to make decisions based on objective research: looking at the numbers. I think we’ve all been in this situation where someone’s like “Well, we should go with red because our CEO really loves red.” Okay, but what if green converts better? It’s just a simple example of really looking at the numbers and making decisions based on that rather than sort of off the cuff. Not that there’s not a place for intuition; quite the opposite. But really being able to make decisions and also making them quickly. That’s the agility part. I think the difference in kind of how we do things today is with campaigns. There can be a lot of agility. You can look at which, for example, Facebook ad campaign is performing better than the other campaign, and you can make those changes very quickly. It’s not like kind of buying a television ad or some of the traditional mediums where once you kind of rolled out something, you’re just waiting to see where the chips fall. So it’s really this idea of being agile but looking at your numbers and making decisions based on those.
Jay: You’ve had your agency, Marketing Zen, for eight or nine years now, and you’ve got 30 or so people on the team. It’s remote. You’re doing all kinds of great work for big clients. Are you finding then based on that sort of agility through analytics principle that it’s becoming more science and less art than perhaps it was in the beginning?
Shama: If anything I think it requires even more art because there is so much science now. I think that’s just to say that because we have all these numbers we have to get even more creative especially as organic reach of course continues to get harder and harder. It’s really this idea of even if you’re going to have these numbers, how do you then … That’s the strategic aspect of it. We know people are responding better to this for example so how do we do more of this.
Jay: I think that’s an interesting perspective, this idea that because of the science and because of the competition that the art is even more important. That’s fascinating. I couldn’t agree more. You are continuing to add new people to the team. You keep growing and growing and growing. You’re like an unstoppable machine of social and digital consulting so you keep adding people to the team. What are you looking for now? If you’re like “Hey, we need to add somebody to the team.” You’ve been doing this for a while. What characteristics or qualities or skillsets are you particularly interested in when you’re adding somebody to Marketing Zen?
Shama: Great question. Of course, we are growing and we’re hiring in content, social, across the board really. Things we look for is … A big part of it is a cultural fit for us. Is this someone who can take initiative, works well without a lot of supervision because we are remote, we don’t do a lot of over the shoulder stuff? Really people who do well, we look for that. People who can take initiative, who are self-disciplined in that way, and just a really positive attitude. I think the one thing that we manage to keep, which is super rare I think as companies grow, is just a very positive culture. That’s important: being able to come to work with people that you actually appreciate and respect, and even when there’s differences in opinion as happens in a creative realm that they’re able to overcome those through strong appreciation for each other.
The other things we also look for is communication skills. So huge. Even when I speak to a lot of college students, high schoolers, the thing I always tell them is “If there’s one skillset that you can really sort of nail down before you get out of school, nail down communication.” It’s so crucial, not just verbal but written communication because of so many times of how we communicate with clients is through emails and so forth. You don’t always have that context that you would otherwise.
Jay: You’re suggesting that they can’t just send a series of Snaps to clients, and sort of each Snap can have a piece of the proposal?
Shama: You know what? That would be one way to do it as long as they can do that and put together a traditional pitch.
Jay: Maybe the time is coming.
Shama: Yeah, no kidding. I really do believe in an “and” world. I don’t think it’s “or” world as in it’s Snap or email; it’s Instagram or … I think it’s very much an “and” world.
Jay: What would say … You’ve got a lot of experience with a lot of clients. One of the things I like about you is that you’re a consultant and a thought leader and a author and a speaker, but you’re also in the trenches. You’re doing the work every day, every week, every month with your client and your team. You actually know what’s happening unlike some people who talk the game but don’t really know what’s happening day to day. From your perspective, give us one underutilized technique in social, one kind of secret Shama tip that our listeners who all are also very much in the game might not be thinking about.
Shama: Yeah. I’ll share one tool that I think is particularly helpful that I’m surprised not more people know about this, but that’s-
Adam: Is it Salesforce Marketing Cloud?
Jay: Adam-
Adam: Also-
Shama: And. This is where “and” comes in. Yeah, Salesforce-
Adam: It’s an “and” world.
Shama: And if this, then that. It’s What’s neat is you can create your own recipes to help make social more efficient for you. What I mean by that is because I have a recipe set up, every time I post a picture on Instagram for example it automatically posts it on Twitter but not as a link, as the actual image and on LinkedIn and on so forth. I just have all sorts of little recipes set up that make my social media a little bit easier to handle just personally that I use. There’s all sorts of recipes. You can do it even just to make your life more efficient. If it’s going to rain tomorrow, send you a text. You can have it so if these people tweet that you want to get a text. There’s just a lot of different things that you can set up on recipes to help sort of make that process more efficient for you.
Jay: It is so powerful. It really is incredible, IFTTT. We should get somebody from them on the show. That would be a cool conversation.
Adam: It’s interesting, the most incredible automation. I agree.
Jay: And Zapier too in the same category. Here’s my problem. Maybe I’m just either stupid or impatient or probably both is the real answer. Every time, and I’ve had a IFTTT account for ever and Zapier too, but every time I go in there I’m like “I should do what Shama says. I should make a bunch of recipes.” I’m so overwhelmed by the number of recipes that I can’t ever drill down and figure it out. I know they’ve got some guides. Here’s what we’ve got to do. Shama, you’ve got to create the Shama Guide to Social Media Recipes on IFTTT and make that a downloadable on your website. We’ll promote it on Social Pros, and we’ll make sure that everybody gets it.
Shama: That’s a good idea. Here’s my recommendation. That’s funny because I know, Jay, you probably recommend this to clients and so forth too. I look for recipes once I have a need. If I did it the other way around, I think I would be really overwhelmed too.
Jay: That’s my problem. I’m always like “What can I do?” And I’m like “Oh my god, it’s an avalanche of opportunity.”
Shama: I think it’s the … For me, that part is cool to be able to say “All right, I have this need.” Originally it started because every time I would post a picture on Instagram, I could connect it to Twitter and it would tweet it but it would show a link to Instagram rather than the image. I thought this is annoying, and it should be an easy fix. Well there’s a recipe for it. I think just finding things that you feel like “Wow, I wish this was easier” especially repetitive tasks.
Jay: Yeah, it’s true. There are so many repetitive tasks in social and more and more all the time as channels get more varied and there’s more sort of blocking and tackling in reports. There’s a lot of things that aren’t terribly glamorous but still have to be done. I’m going to turn over to Adam in just a minute, but first I want you to tell us your Dippin’ Dots story. You are one of the social media agencies for Dippin’ Dots, the ice cream of the future.
Adam: Future.
Jay: If people are not familiar with what Dippin’ Dots are and maybe they’re not because we have listeners from outside the US or outside North America, they’re ice cream balls very, very small like BB size ice cream balls that they serve in a cup. Their tagline has always been “The ice cream of the future.” Sean Spicer who is now the Press Secretary for the White House has a longstanding opposition to Dippin’ Dots. He says they’re not the ice cream of the future, and he had some tweets to that effect. These tweets were years ago though. He tweeted a long time ago that he didn’t like Dippin’ Dots. He’s sort of anti-Dippin’ Dots, and that’s okay. Now that he is famous or infamous depending on your perspective, Shama and her team were able to capitalize upon that and create this viral sensation for their client which is an unbelievable example of social transcending and kind of leaping out of social into the real world and traditional media coverage. It’s a great story, and I’d like you to tell it please.
Shama: We are the social media agency for Dippin’ Dots. We’re the only social media agency. There’s a traditional side, traditional agency that works with them as well. The client’s great, and I think that certainly makes a difference. Here’s how it kind of went down. Over the weekend there was an article about these tweets that came out which the concern was or I guess kind of the growing clamor was that Press Secretary Sean Spicer would be asked about this at his press conference in terms of “Why do you dislike Dippin’ Dots?” Just for the record by the way, their tagline used to be “Ice cream of the future.” They retired that years ago. Their tagline for a long time has been “Taste the fun.”
Jay: Really? Geez.
Shama: Yes.
Adam: Where have I been?
Jay: I feel like it’s still the tagline. That’s the power of a good tagline though if people still think it’s the tagline.
Adam: Yeah.
Shama: No, it’s great. It gets people talking. What was interesting was … These tweets were old, but then the media is digging it up. What’s interesting is just to see over the weekend it really started trending. It was funny; wasn’t even so much about what was said as customers kind of picked up on this and said “Hey, what does Dippin’ Dots have to say about this?” That someone in power doesn’t like your brand and has been vocal about it in the past. The response wasn’t just so much even to Press Secretary Sean Spicer, it was to this broader audience that was like “Where’s Dippin’ Dots in this conversation?” Pretty much. As we all know, no response is a response. It’s not an option. Not responding is not an option.
Eight a.m. Monday we get on a call with the team, with the CEO, Scott Fisher, Dippin’ Dots, their team, the other agency, and we’re talking strategically like “What do we do?” This is sort of war room stuff. We looked at all the options, and one option was do nothing. Let this kind of die down. Maybe get word to him through other channels to just say “Hey, Dippin’ Dots is an American company. We’re kind of on the same page here.” It’s all good to make friends and make peace. The other option is of course as all the stuff is happening and I’m on the phone with these guys is we need to respond because customers want a response. The brand can’t stay silent on this. It’s trending, and the only person who hasn’t said anything is Dippin’ Dots. I think we were really lucky that Scott was very open to that, the CEO and the team was. They said “Yeah, you know what? Let’s respond, and let’s do it very much keeping in the brand values. It’s ice cream. It’s fun. It’s funny. It’s meant to bring people together.”
We crafted this sort of open letter to Press Secretary Sean Spicer essentially just saying “Hey, we know we’ve run out of your favorite flavors before. We want to be friends. Did you know we’re an American company.” Some of it was a little bit tongue-in-cheek but nothing over the line. It was like “We’re creating jobs here in Kentucky where we’re based. We hear that’s on your agenda too.” And essentially ending with offering an ice cream ball, like an ice cream social for the press corps and the White House. That open letter really went viral in the true sense of the word because 48 hours later that campaign had more views cumulatively than 11 Super Bowl ads combined. The phones went crazy because not only was it people responding and having a blast and talking about the brand but also media publications from NPR to CNN to Fox wanting to know “This is interesting: brands in the political age. How did you guys come up with this response? How are you ‘winning this battle’ right now?” Of course by 10 p.m., even earlier perhaps, Press Secretary Sean Spicer actually responded to the tweet saying “How about something for the veterans and first responders?”
It was such an interesting … The whole campaign was so interesting. It lasted really, I want to say, 64 hours total from the beginning of kind of looking at what was trending: Dippin’ Dots and ice cream and Press Secretary Sean Spicer. All these keywords were trending for three days straight on and off. Just the visibility for the brand was and has been amazing. Dippin’ Dots is a about 400 million in revenue company. They’re US-based. A lot of people didn’t know that. They got to educate people about their new tagline which is “Taste the fun.” It was great because a lot of people have great memories like I do of Dippin’ Dots as a kid going to the mall and getting a cup with my sister. They have them at games and fairs and so forth. I think a lot of people … It was very nostalgic for a lot of folks. That was the campaign in a nutshell, but it was very much about taking advantage of a certain opportunity but doing it in a way that we weren’t going to be offending people and still sticking to sort of the brand values. We knew that there was a risk obviously that it could backfire, being able to respond. That was a calculated risk and one that the leadership was willing to take and embrace.
Adam: And you took that risk and as you said, what amazing benefit and coverage you got. Over those 60 hours as you said getting the genuine benefits and genuine response from your fans and from the brand and from as you said traditional media all kind of latching on to it because it was such an interesting story. I just love it for so many reasons. As Jay pointed out, the internet never forgets. This is a perfect example of “Here is some post by Sean Spicer from years ago and the media will bubble those up and turn those into a news story.”
One of the other things I really like about this is that it certainly shows how you applied many of the principles from your book Momentum in this case. In fact, this one I think really underlines your second focus around customer focus. The way that you look at customer focus isn’t the way we all look at it. I would love, Shama, if you could share a little bit about that because I think it’s so appropriate in how you triggered the brand and turned the brand around to not being about what the brand feels or says about something but empowering your customers, empowering your fans to be able to tell the emotional tie that they in this case had with Dippin’ Dots.
Shama: Yeah, it’s funny. Jay is obviously the expert when it comes to hugging your haters and turning people into champions of your brand. Customer focus is similar but distinct in that it really stands not so much about making your customers at all costs. The broader principle of that is really this idea that your brand is less important than what it allows your customers to say about their personal brand as they engage with you. I think with Dippin’ Dots this was definitely true because if you were sharing that story, if you were buying Dippin’ Dots, if you love that ice cream, all these different sort of facets of it … It allowed you to say something about yourself more than the company. The company almost becomes sort of this outlet or this channel to allow the customer to not just express themselves fully but also to be able to kind of enhance that expression if you will.
Adam: True. You’re right. The brand can be that amplifier. The brand has the soapbox. The brand has a little bit of the amplification to tell those stories from those people. As you told your story, I can remember the first time I had Dippin’ Dots at a Nashville Sounds little AA, AAA baseball team in Nashville, Tennessee the first time. We all have kind of a Dippin’ Dots story. If you can get enough fans to share that and allow the customers to be the champion there, the customers to be the winner and the storyteller, that’s so powerful. I think that’s one of the big takeaways I had from your book, that piece. The other one that really, really hit me was your message around how to integrate physical and digital stories, how to integrate those marketing activities and what I often call and what Jay and I have talked about here on the show: kind of surround sounding your customer.
Shama: Yeah, absolutely. This idea of physical meets digital and I think we’ll see more of this. I’ll give you a very recent example of something we just did for a client. DFW Airport, the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport, is one of our clients. They just celebrated a billion passengers since 2000. There was this big celebration to mark the billionth passenger which as you can imagine to serve a billion people, that’s a big number for an airport to have processed-
Adam: It’s McDonalds level.
Shama: And welcomed. It is.
Adam: I feel like they’re always there when I’m there. All of them.
Shama: It’s got magnitude. One of the things we did was … And this was neat because the airport actually had us … We created an installation for the airport, and it was part art but part really social engagement not just for the passengers but for employees specifically as a piece of employee advocacy. The front is an acrylic on canvas. We essentially had these artists create this painting or this drawing I should say, and it was made through motorized machines. It automated the machines putting over a billion dots on this canvas. Each dot a different color representing a passenger served. On the back of that we actually showcased a time lapse video on a screen and then had copy that explained what it meant to serve those billion passengers. It was kind of like an ode to all the employees and the team that had managed to pull that off. That’s a great example of sort of that physical meeting digital.
Adam: I think it also reinforces kind of where social is in its ecosystem. As social matures we’re no longer seeing social as this end-all be-all one isolated type of marketing or communications. It is the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. It’s how do you do things in the physical world, in the “and” world as you and Jay were talking about just a few minutes ago, and complement and leverage social whether it’s Snapchat or something more traditional social to be able to amplify and share that story with those one billion people who aren’t at DFW on that particular day.
Shama: Yeah. For the longest time, I’ve explained social in this way of “It’s not about the tools or the platforms, but it’s really this ecosystem right now that we live in.” To even say kind of how do you use social media feels a little oxymoronic because you don’t use social media, you understand it. You understand that it’s an ecosystem, and to me the definition of social has long been and I will always explain it this way is “People are the media.” How do you leverage that? Whatever platform, whatever way, whatever strategy you use, how do you leverage the fact that people are the media? That to me is really where sort of that power lies.
Adam: I’ve got one more question for you before I pass it back over to Jay. To that point, are you seeing any different trends in how your clients are coming to you and asking for different types of services as it relates to both social and as you’ve perfectly articulated other types of marketing and communications activities? Over the past five years have you seen that your customers and clients go from the more tactical “We need someone to do social” to “Now we need some marketing programs that may or may not include social activities?”
Shama: Totally. I think the realization that everything is social is slowly sinking in, slowing but surely. What we see if clients are broadening. Rather than “Hey, we want someone to tweet for us” which was six, seven years ago – it was very common – to more “Hey, we’re having this conference. How can we engage people there.” Or “Hey, we really want to do something for employee advocacy. We’re trying to recruit female engineers. How do we do that better? We’re trying to get this-” For example, a direct-selling company says “We’re really trying to recruit more people for our brand or to be able to be better known, to be able to retain our consultants. How do we do that better? How do we train them better?” I think what’s amazing is just the level of creativity for us as an agency. I feel like we’re now getting to do more creative work than we’ve ever done before because I think clients are coming to us looking for solutions rather than “Okay, here’s what we’d like to do.” “We’re exploring. Here’s our goal. Here’s our budget. What can we do?” I think you can have so much more fun in that way results-wise of course, but just to be able to be more creative in that way.
I’ll give you another example. Mary Kay is one of our clients. In this last year, we’ve done a lot of video work for them including a lot of videos.
Jay: Please tell me you have a pink car. Please tell me you have a pink car. Please tell me you have a pink car.
Shama: Are you asking if I have a pink car?
Jay: Yes. Isn’t that the deal? If you’re-
Shama: The pink Cadillac?
Jay: Yes.
Shama: No, I drive a black Audi. I do not drive a pink Cadillac.
Jay: You got to trade that out. Come on.
Shama: I know. I should put that in our contract with them. Be like listen.
Jay: Absolutely. Then there’s a happy hour every Thursday in the pink Cadillac. This has got real potential.
Shama: See, this is what I’m talking about.
Adam: A pink Escalade.
Shama: Creativity right here. We’re doing some really cool stuff for them. Again, multimedia production stuff. That’s really something that we’ve gotten into more in the last couple of years because even though it wasn’t traditional “social” it very much is today. Live video is a huge part of social. In a way it’s about us as an agency having evolved too to keep up with our clients, and then as we do more of these projects what we find is more clients are interested in saying “Hey, that’s really cool. Can you do that for us? Here are our ideas.” It’s neat. It’s really cool that I feel like we’re coming into this point in time with social media where it’s not just tactical but it is very much more strategic and creative. That’s really fulfilling.
Jay: You are one of the people out there in the social media world who does a lot of television. You do lots and lots of TV in Dallas and beyond talking about social and digital. What is your tip for explaining social media to people who do not do this for a living. You’re out there talking to everybody. You’re talking to grandmas and people who don’t speak English, and the television viewing audience is a pretty broad audience.
Shama: Yes.
Jay: How do you do that effectively?
Shama: I think you do it in chunks, honestly. A part of what I really enjoy and appreciate about what I’m able to do and what I do on television is to simplify what it means to succeed in the digital age. That’s really broad, but I think that’s kind of what the television audiences need. How do you take all of this and explain to what it means to the average Joe? But what it means to the average Joe can be very different based on that time period or whatever we are. For example, I was just on Fox and I was talking specifically about … Which is so crazy … Did a lot of stuff around when the campaign was running. How people can be more civic-minded if they want to find the right platforms to engage with? What does that look like? For example, I’m going to be on Friday again talking about SnapChat’s IPO and what does that mean.
I think there’s so much now in “social media” that is relevant across the board because this is our life now. Whether it’s helping understand when is it appropriate to add someone on LinkedIn to how to respond when your boss adds as a Facebook friend and you don’t want to be their Facebook friend or how to set up your personal brand appropriately. For example, being able to get into college and college acceptance stuff and getting your job whatever it may be. I think it’s just this taking social media, making it broader, looking at again how to help people thrive in the digital age. We obviously do that with businesses in the agency, but on the television side I do more of that I guess more towards the consumer.
Jay: I love that idea of sort of redefining what it means to succeed in the digital age. That’s a really, really smart way to think about it. I love it. I’ve got to ponder that after the show. Social Pros listeners, what you need to ponder after this show is how fast you can download these two things. The first thing you need to download: brand new free ebook from our friends at Yext, Y-E-X-T. Did you know that consumers now trust information from other consumers more than their family and friends? It’s no longer the kind of circumstance where you’re just going to kind of randomly just pop into a restaurant. You’re going to check reviews to see whether that restaurant is any good before you waste your time, money, and stomach on that restaurant. Yext has a brand new white paper written by me and Daniel Lemon and Convince & Convert called How to Win Digital and Real World Traffic With Local Reviews, all about the importance of local ratings and reviews, not only third-person reviews which are on Yelp and TripAdvisor and Google et cetera, but also first-party reviews that are on your website. Really, really proud of our work on this. If you have a business that has a doorway, you need to download it now for free. Go to That’s
Also before we change it out which will probably be next week, make sure you take advantage of the book from our friends at Salesforce Marketing Cloud called The Future of Ads. Really interesting stuff because they’ve looked at all their clients across the whole globe and figured out relevant click-through rates for Facebook ads, Twitter ads, LinkedIn ads, et cetera, country-to-county, ad format-to-ad format, look-alike campaigns versus re-engagement campaigns. Really useful stuff. If you’re like “Hey, what is a good click-through rate for a Facebook ad in this circumstance?” Unless you have comparison data, you don’t know if you’re doing good or if you’re doing mediocre. Really useful stuff called The Future of Ads. It’s from Salesforce Marketing Cloud. Get it for free at bitly/salesforceads. That’s bitly/salesforceads. All lowercase.
Adam, back to you.
Adam: Jay, thank you. Shama Hyder, thank you so much for being on the show. Shama is CEO of Marketing Zen, a great agency out of Dallas with over 30 people now. That is just absolutely fantastic. You’ve also authored your newest book Momentum which is fantastic. We’ve talked about a few of the principles in that book. You give speeches, and as Jay articulated you have pretty much been on every single TV network that has any sort of news program. I have to ask. How did you get to this point? This is an absolutely incredible resume. How have you grown into these roles and is there any part of the role that you like better than others?
Shama: Well thank you for that. I really do appreciate it. I will say the cool thing about doing what we do, talking about all of us, is our industry I honestly think is one of the most welcoming and warm industries. I think in a lot of other industries, Jay and I for example, people would see that as competition, but I don’t think we have that so much in social. I have so much respect for Jay, and I’ve always felt kind of that sort of mutual … We learn from each other. We kind of grow together. There’s a handful of us who’ve been in this game from early on, and I think that’s such a fantastic place to be. I will say that I feel very lucky for being in an industry that’s warm and that has just amazing colleagues and people who kind of walk the talk. It’s not just lip service to what social should be but actually kind of embracing that sense of community.
I think that’s helped honestly. I think that’s helped in a big way because I started the company and I got into this field right out of grad school. I was 22, 23. When you enter an industry like that I think the only way to really sort of succeed at it is to have colleagues in the industry who are warm and welcoming and who encourage you to sort of do your best work. For example, when you have a book are more than happy to say “This is great.” To be able to have that sort of camaraderie, I think is a beautiful thing. I do credit a lot of where I am at now to that sort of atmosphere and to colleagues like Jay who really sort of supported “a young person” getting into this. Now it’s been eight, nine years that I’ve been doing this.
A lot of it I think has also been just my philosophy of being able to constantly create value and stay relevant. Even when someone asks “What’s the future of Marketing Zen? What’s next for you? You’re doing all this television stuff. You have all these platforms and you speak and all that good stuff.” I just say my goal is always to stay relevant because I don’t know what the industry’s going to look like in the next five years. I don’t think anybody does.
Adam: True. None of us do.
Shama: We have a sense of where things are going, but it moves too fast to say “Well here’s what’s going to be next and what’s hot.” The only thing that you know is it’s going to keep changing. There’s going to be new platforms. The goal is always to stay relevant. I think as long as I’ve always been able to look and say “How do we stay relevant today?” It’s going to look different than it did two years ago, but I think as long as we can keep doing that we’ll keep growing and as a professional, I feel like I’ll still be able to keep contributing to the industry.
Adam: Well certainly one thing that you have done is done a remarkable job of self-promotion. You mentioned kind of early on in our interview about the importance of people learning to communicate and be able to write effectively to communicate, to present themselves. Without a doubt every thing that you’ve done with your speeches and your books and your video and television appearances have helped to not only promote yourself but also promote Marketing Zen, your agency. My question is maybe for some people who are listening to our podcast right now. They may say “I hate going out and doing public speaking. I’m never going to do that. You can tell me that it’s important, but I’m not going to do that.” I also don’t want to get into Jay’s big question he’s going to ask you at the end about your one big tip. Are there any tips you can give someone who says “Listen, I’m not a big speaker, but I need obviously to self-promote myself if I’m going to be effective here in this space?” What would you tell that person? Or would you tell that person “You really need to learn how to speak?”
Shama: No. I think I would say “Find a platform that feels comfortable to you.” There are a lot of very talented introverts where for example the stage is never going to be something that they feel comfortable with. No problem. When you’re thinking about audiences, they last thing they want to do is here a speaker who is not comfortable on stage. We’re getting very specific in saying “I want to speak, but I don’t feel like I’m good at it. I think I could get better.” Great. There’s plenty of awesome help out there that will help you be a better speaker if that’s what you want. If it’s just really not your thing, there’s lots of other ways to create value: a podcast, videos, writing. There’s a lot of great folks out there who don’t speak. They don’t do keynotes like Jay and I do, but they write. I think you do have to find a platform that lets you share and create your thought leadership. That’s very important.
I think there’s also sometimes this concern of “Well do I want to toot my own horn? Is it too self-promotional?” Here’s the thing. In our world, it’s funny. You can’t have sizzle without the steak. In our world, that’s very transparent. People see through that, but I think it’s just as important when you have the steak that you are showcasing that sizzle. For me, a lot of it isn’t so much creating this brand over here and running the company. A lot of my personal brand revolves around me sort of letting people get a peak behind the curtain if you will. Being able to say here’s what we’re doing like with the Dippin’ Dots thing. That was a campaign we ran. Then at the same time, it was about running almost a secondary campaign to say here’s how we as an agency ran this campaign. I think both of those things are very interconnected, and so you are definitely showcasing what you’re already doing. For me being an entrepreneur, running my company, an author, keynotes, all these things, it’s just my personal brand then really becomes about showcasing that. Here’s what I’m doing. Here’s how I’m doing it. Here’s how … What’s the saying? Here’s how the lemonades made.
Jay: People love that. People love that behind the scenes stuff. That’s why people like this show because this is not the show for somebody who’s brand new to social media. It’s a show for people who do it for a living. People like this show because we talk about how it really works in the real world. There’s not a lot of shows that do that. It’s almost like that peek behind the curtain for what you’re doing or brands. You probably last night … We’re taping this the day after the Oscars, Social Pros listeners. I was really thinking that we should email our pal from PricewaterhouseCoopers who was on the show recently who was their head of social media because he had a really bad night after the whole winner’s envelope snafu.
Shama: Maybe send them chocolates or something.
Jay: Envelopegate. It’s those kind of stories that we tell on the show. I think that’s why the show’s effective and gets so many downloads because people want to know the details. They want to see the sausage being made.
Shama: They do. I think there is the sense of “What’s the secret sauce?” Here’s the secret sauce. It’s a lot of hard work. It’s staying consistent, staying relevant, and here’s what that looks like. For me, a lot of that is sharing that experience, sharing that journey, letting people in. Even with your personal brand I think it’s important to … The original question was “Well if I don’t want to speak, do I have to?” No, but you do need to find some way to be able to showcase value, to be able to share what you’re doing. In our industry of course a lot of it does boil down to your expertise, your opinion. What’s your take on things? I think being able to share that is pretty important.
Jay: I liked what you said about picking a platform and going with it. If you don’t want to get on stage, fine. You can write or you can do pictures or you can do podcasts or you can do videos. There’s a lot of ways to talk about what you know that don’t require you getting on stage or writing a book or et cetera.
Shama: Right. There’s a lot of ways that you can communicate your thought leadership, create your platform. Somethings are easier than others. Sure. Of course. We all have our strengths and weaknesses.
Jay: I feel like one of the mistakes people make is they try to do all the platforms at once. Then they don’t do any of them very well. I mean I wouldn’t have a speaking career or a book or this podcast if I didn’t first start off with a really good blog. Had a blog, blog was good, a lot of people read the blog, and that created another opportunity which then created another opportunity which then created another opportunity. But I didn’t try to do all those things at the same time because you end up then doing them all half-ass. Eventually you can do them all at the same time, but you have to master them sequentially. Most people … I shouldn’t say most people. Many people try to say “Well I’m going to do speaking and podcasting and blogging and live video and SnapChat and something else all at the same time to sort of build my personal brand.” I always say “Why don’t you pick one of those and be really good at that?”
Shama: Yeah. The thing is if you can, kudos to you. Hats off to you. I do a lot of these things, but it’s taken me a long time to get to that point. I think what’s most important – I always say this is the least sexy work in marketing – is consistency because it feels like some cousin of prudence or something. It’s like “Uh, consistency.” It’s what drives results. If you’re going to do the podcast, be consistent about it. If you’re going to do the blog, be consistent about it. If you’re not, there’s not a lot of one-trick ponies. I think sometimes because social media is so instant people think the results are instant but especially in terms of being able to pull all of this together. I don’t think it’s so black and white at all.
Jay: Do you think that is your one tip? The question we ask every guest here, Episode 259, is what one tip would you give somebody who is looking to become a social pro. Would that be it? To be consistent?
Shama: Absolutely. I would say be consistent and find ways to stay relevant. I think both those things are very important because the world changes so fast.
Jay: One of the partners that I used to work with, an agency that bought one of my previous firms, had a slogan that success is built on perspiration, not inspiration. This idea that you’re going to create content or do something when you’re motivated or when you really feel it is a road to ruin. You got to do it every day. You got to write every day and you’ve got podcast every day and you’ve got to make videos every day and you got to do all these things every day. This concept that like “Hey well today I’m really feeling motivated. Today I’ve got something to say.” If you don’t have something to say, what? You just don’t say anything? It’s a really difficult way to succeed if you’re only going to create content randomly. You can’t run any other kind of media business that way. Fox is on every day. Sports Illustrated publishes every week. Every other kind of media does it consistently, but sometimes when people think about thought leadership they’re like “Well I’m only going to make stuff when I feel like it or when I feel disproportionately motivated.” That will never work.
Shama: Yeah. The thing is I think there’s also this sense that sometimes I think people have perfection paralysis. It’s got to be perfect. In our world, that doesn’t exist. Progress is the best thing you can aim for and the only thing you can hope for. To me, that’s so important. I think that’s been something that’s helped me personally is because I was never a perfectionist. I’ve always been an editor at heart.
I think that’s immensely helpful because you spend two years on getting that website just perfect, and by then technology’s changed. I think in so many ways you have to be iterative in this world. Better to get started, learn, keep going because you do learn so much from doing. Not every article that you’re going to write is going to be amazing. This has happened all too often where I write something and I’m like “Oh my god, this is going to be awesome.” Then it’s like “Okay, it did all right.” Then I’ll put together something, a video or write something, where I’m like “Yeah, this feels like common sense to me, but I think it’s worth saying.” Then that’ll be the thing that people are like “Oh my god, this is amazing.” That’ll be the piece that gets all these views and shares.
I think it’s interesting even from your perspective of you keep doing your work, not all of it it’s going to be your best work ever, but it doesn’t have to be. The idea is that it’s going to help someone out there, and certain things you do are going to help more people than the other things that you don’t do and so forth. I think the bottom line is you have to sort of stay in the game.
Jay: You got to keep showing up to the party. People ask me “How did you get started?” Now I’m old enough to have started in the pre-internet days, at least certainly pre- what we know to be the internet now. I was a networking champion, and I was in traditional marketing before I became internet marketing. When I was just a young man, I was 22, 23 living in Phoenix I went to four networking events a week, different groups every week for five years.
Shama: Wow. That’s commitment.
Jay: At the end of those five years, I knew everybody I wanted to know in Phoenix. It’s gone four nights a week every week for five years. You just keep showing up to the party. If you keep showing up to the party, eventually good things will happen but you’ve got to take a long term approach to it. That’s the other thing that is so disheartening. Gary Vaynerchuck rails about this all the time. People are like “Well I tried it for six months and I haven’t become a world famous success yet.” It’s like “Six months?”
Shama: What a joke.
Jay: It’s like-
Shama: Also I think going in with the perspective of bringing something to the table. You see some of those same people that show up to the same events over and over, and it’s like “Dude, you’re not getting it.” You can’t just keep showing up to say “What can everybody here do for me?” I think you’ve got to start with “What can I do?”
Adam: What can I do for them?
Shama: Exactly. Speaking of 22, 23 when I got out of school and started the agency, the term social media was still so new. The industry is so young, and we forget that often I think. One of the ways that I got some of our first clients which is so funny now that I think about it is I used to go to conferences very much like you did, going to these events. I would go to these conferences and I would take notes. Then I would offer my notes to anybody with a business card. I would say “I’ll email you my notes.”
Jay: That’s awesome. I love that.
Adam: That’s great idea.
Shama: It was such a great starter.
Jay: People could be doing that now.
Shama: I had no network, but I knew I’d just gotten out of school. Heck, I was a great note-taker.
Adam: I’ll share my notes for you now.
Jay: You should do that for Social Media Marketing World.
Shama: It was a great way to do it even now. In fact one of the deals I have with my employees for example is that I’m big about training and development because what we do needs it. For me, I always say “Okay, if you want to go to a conference that’s fine. I’ll happily pay for you to go to a conference. Deal is when you go, you attend these sessions and I want you to share what you learned with the team. I want you to do a blog post for the company blog.” It’s funny because what started out as sort of my original way to get clients is still such a strong thing for us. Our company blog, we still blog almost three to four times a week.
Jay: After all these years, it’s amazing.
Shama: It’s like seven years later.
Jay: Last question for Shama Hyder, CEO of Marketing Zen, author, Dippin’ Dots impresario, and a number of other things. If you could do a Skype call with any living person, who would it be and why?
Shama: Any living person?
Jay: Sean Spicer? No. Probably not.
Shama: That’s funny. Actually I would really love to talk to Sheryl Sandberg. I’m sure actually our paths will probably end up crossing in the next couple of years, but she’s someone that I have a lot of respect and admiration for.
Jay: That’s a great answer, absolutely. We’ve had a couple people in the long history of this show mention Sheryl Sandberg. That’s a great answer. Shama, thank you so much for being on this show. It’s fantastic to catch up with you. Congratulations on all the success. Can’t wait to keep watching what you’re doing over there at Marketing Zen and knocking out the books and TV and everything else. It is fantastic.
Shama: Thank you so much to you both for having me on. It’s been a pleasure.
Jay: On behalf of Mr. Adam Brown from Salesforce Marketing Cloud, I am Jay Baer from Convince & Convert, and as always my friends this has been Social Pros.

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