Jab, Jab, Jab Right Hook by Gary Vaynerchuk

Jab Jab Jab Right Hook

It’s been a while since I’ve done a book review here, but I’m bringing it back with the best marketing book I read in 2013: Jab, Jab, Right Hook (affiliate link to Amazon, if you wanna buy it). It’s amazingly well written and manages to not only educate but inspire. Gary convinces you “this shit is important” and has lots of colorful examples that make you laugh, but also effectively drive his points home. It builds upon his previous books, all of which I’ve enjoyed, with the final component which is how to make the sale from social media – which I think is very important, as social media sells when done right.

First, what’s with the name? As someone who has no interest in boxing (too violent for me, sorry), I wasn’t clear at first myself. But Gary explains it in Gary fashion that makes perfect sense and makes you smile and get it all at the same time:

Jabs are the lightweight pieces of content that benefit your customers by making them laugh, snicker, ponder,play a game,feel appreciated or escape; right hooks are calls to action that benefit your businesses.

Gary’s past books have focused more on “jabs” and he joked the Thank You Economy could have been called “Jab, Jab, Jab, Jab” but Gary admits that fights are not won on jabs alone – you have to occasionally give a right hook. Those jabs are crucial to setup your opponent for the fatal blow, so both pieces are important.

Another thing I loved about the book was all of the insights on how to produce better content for social. Gary gave a great framework for outstanding content, which follows six rules:

  1. It’s Native to the platform it’s posted on. You can’t publish the same crap on each channel, and the best “jabs” are so native they blend in with the platform as if they weren’t an advert at all.
  2. They don’t interrupt – social media is about placing a bunch of jabs (soft engagements, warm fuzzy moments) rather than interrupting for a right hook (hard sale).
  3. It doesn’t make demands (often) – have plenty of jabs before you go for a right hook, don’t try to go straight for the instant gratification, the big demand of the consumer. Provide them value over-and-over again, and then when you do ask for something in return that goodwill has been earned.
  4. It leverages pop culture – how we interact with brands is influenced by our world view, our cultural norms, our outside interests. Use pop culture to your advantage.
  5. Think Micro – It’s not about the one big super bowl commercial per year, it’s about dozens of micro-content (tweets, status updates, etc) every day…
  6. It’s consistent & self aware

Personally I think #1 is the most important – too often marketers push ads into social media without trying to make their content appear native to the platform. Your content competes against a person’s friends and inner-circles, as well as celebrities and anyone that person may follow on any particular network – you think re-purposing a cheesy ad for Facebook can compete with pictures of puppies, engagement announcements, viral content spreading, and other things happening on FB? Think again…

On crafting killer right hooks:

  1. They make the call to action simple and easy to understand
  2. They are perfectly crafted for mobile, as well as all digital devices
  3. They respect the nuances of the social network for which you are making the content

Ultimately though – the issue is that most brands are doing only right hooks (pushy sales pitches), and few if any jabs (small interactions and fun, useful content). The most effective jabs are the gentlest.

Some more of my favorite quotes from the book:

Like their traditional media platform cousins,every social media platform ahs its own language. yetmost of you haven’t bothered to learn it…posting the same content on Tumblr as on Google+ is the equivalent of the tourist (in Norway) deciding that since he can’t speak Norwegian he’ll just speak Icelandic and it will do. That’s stupid.

Ultimately, that’s the real reason to do any of this – because social media sells shit.

The strict dividing lines between marketing categories can no longer exist – they must all be blanketed with a layer of social.

Far too much of the content businesses and celebrities put out is no more innovative or interesting than a Yellow Pages ad. You can find truckloads of garbage on these platforms, especially when they are young and people are compulsively tossing content around like Mardi Gras beads, or when they are old and act their age.

Twitter is the cocktail party of the Internet – a place where listening well has tremendous benefits.

When you load photos on the service, you’re putting out content that no one can immediately do anything with, just like when you place ads in magazines. And you’re doing for the same reason: scale…consider Instagram as one of the great jabbing platforms, there to set the tone, tell yo ur story, reinforce your brand, and build impressions.

Content is king, context is God, and then there’s effort. Together, they are the holy trinity for winning on Facebook, Twitter, and any other platform, and even for winning in any business.

Effort is the great equalizer. It doesn’t matter if your competitor is three times bigger than you and built like a Mack truck, or if it has the marketing budget that matches the GDP of a medium-size country…what matters is the effort you put into your work.

Forget Mad Men, and fuck Don Draper. He lived in an easy world where nothing changed for thirty years, where you could spend your whole career working to figure out how the print and television markets worked.

There you have it. A great book for anyone, especially those active in Social – whether building their own personal brand or someone elses’. Thank you @garyvee for the inspiration and hustle!