Women Empowerment

The Skill Set: 5 Ways to Grow Your Personal Brand

Shama Hyder, founder and CEO of Marketing Zen Group, tells all.

Named the “Millennial Master of the Universe” by Fast Company in 2013, Shama Hyder leverages social media in a big way. When she founded the Marketing Zen Group, an award-winning digital marketing agency based in Dallas in 2009, she began to show the corporate world that it was time to take the new form of networking seriously. Starting with just $1,500—pulled from her own bank account—the company grew 400% in its first year into a full-fledged competitive brand with a global footprint.

The Skill Set: 5 Ways to Grow Your Personal Brand

Now a keynote speaker (she’s shared the stage with President Obama and the Dalai Lama) and star of her web show Shama TV, she has been listed on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list and was honored at the White House and the U.N. as one of the top young entrepreneurs in the country. If that’s not enough, she authored The Zen of Social Media Marketing and just launched her second book, Momentum: How to Propel Your Marketing and Transform Your Brand in the Digital Age, in May. In it, she outlines how businesses can achieve new momentum in their marketing efforts by following five simple principles.

Here, Shama shows how these same principles can be applied to marketing your own personal brand, as well.

You don’t need a sophisticated online presence to take advantage of online analytics for your career goals. Even something as simple as keeping tabs on who’s viewing your LinkedIn profile can mean the difference between getting the job and not. Analytics allow you to respond in real-time to current trends or events. If someone relevant to your career goals views your profile, send them a quick message asking how you can help or if they’d like to connect. If you tweak your profile and get a boost in views, continue to make similar changes. Take full advantage of any and every kind of analytics you have access to, whether that means detailed Google Analytics data on visitors to your personal website or just information on who has liked and retweeted your tweets, in order to make informed, strategic moves aimed at reaching your goals.


Think of your employer—or your potential employer—as the customer you’re trying to reach. Understanding your audience (and making your message all about them) is the key to making your marketing effective. What does your boss value? What does your dream workplace value? Tailor your message to those exact characteristics and skills, and you’ll be speaking their language.


In today’s world, ‘either-or’ just isn’t an option anymore. ‘Both-and’ is the name of the game. Relying solely on online connections to help you land that dream job isn’t realistic—but neither is only connecting with people offline. An integrated approach to networking is vital to reaching the right people that can help you get where you want to be.


One of the biggest buzzwords in marketing and business today is ‘thought leader’—and with good reason. People who are not only experts in their field, but lead the way and blaze new trails with their dedicated followings online, command a great deal of respect and are highly sought after. But how can you become a thought leader in your field without adding more work to your plate? Rather than spending time creating your own content, become a content curator. Seek out relevant content online, share it with your network and add a quick comment or note to showcase your connection to it. You’ll soon become known for your smart and valuable contributions to your network’s conversations.

Cross-pollination is all about using every single resource at your disposal to reach your marketing goals. Why not do lunch with someone who works in the department where you’d like to be? Connect with a vendor your dream workplace uses, such as their website designer or marketing agency, to get introduced to whoever their contact at that company is. Creativity and the willingness to go that extra mile will always make you look good to an employer—and personal connections give you a significant leg up on your competition.