Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World – Gary Vaynerchuk

These are 3 things all of your posts should have:

How do you tell your story in a noisy social world? According to Gary Vaynerchuk, American entrepreneur, four-time New York Times bestselling author, speaker and internet personality who is first known as a wine critic who managed his family’s wine business, the best way is to keep “jabbing” your audience with quality content. Only after delivering quality content should you expect to throw in your “right hook” of the call to action and actually expect people to oblige. In this new age of social media, too many people follow the traditional method of sales/marketing and go straight to throwing the “right hooks” to their audience members. As people these days encounter so many advertisements on a daily basis, we’ve adapted to ignore them and in fact when they’re blatantly thrown in our faces, we get annoyed by it. The concept behind jab, jab, jab, right hook is in line with several psychological cognitive biases such as reciprocity, liking, and social proof.

For those of you who are looking for a book on social media marketing, this is a must-read book. In the book, Gary Vaynerchuk dedicates a chapter to each of the social media platforms and gives an in-depth analysis of what the platform’s about, how to use it, and examples of real posts by several companies that he deems to be a success or failure. Despite this book being published in 2013, I still believe that a lot of the concepts he talks about are relevant and key to being successful in social media as he always says the same thing about “jabbing” your audience with great content in his talks even to this day. Here are some of the highlights to the book:


1. Double down on internet-marketing and learn how to use each platform as they’re all different. Spend less resources on traditional forms of advertising.I write this with the utmost respect: Marketers, small businesses, celebrities, I know you’re trying, but with a few exceptions, the content you’re putting out there sucks. You know why? Because even though consumers are now spending 10 percent of their time with mobile (a number that is soon going to be much higher), you’re investing only 1 percent of your ad budget there. You can’t just repurpose old material created for one platform, throw it up on another one, and then be surprised when everyone yawns in your face. No one would ever think it was a good idea to use a print ad for a television commercial, or confuse a banner ad for a radio spot. Like their traditional media platform cousins, every social media platform has its own language. Yet most of you haven’t bothered to learn it. Most big companies haven’t put in the financial resources, and most small businesses and celebrities aren’t putting in the time. You’re like tourists in Oslo who haven’t bothered to study a word of Norwegian. How can you expect anyone to care what you have to say? Whether you’re an entrepreneur, a small business, or a Fortune 500 company, great marketing is all about telling your story in such a way that it compels people to buy what you are selling. That’s a constant. What’s always in flux, especially in this noisy, mobile world, is how, when, and where the story gets told, and even who gets to tell all of it.“‘


2. Study your competition and study them well as they’re successful for a reason. Then, find their weakness and leverage that. A boxer spends a lot of time analyzing his own technique, but spends an equal amount of time analyzing his competitor’s technique, too. Even when two fighters meet in the ring for the very first time, they already know each other well. For months before the match, in addition to their regular predawn training in the gym and practice ring, the competitors spend hundreds of hours studying each other on film. Like insanely fit behavioral scientists, they analyze every move and swing their opponent has made in previous fights, repeatedly rewinding and rewatching footage in an attempt to memorize their opponent’s technique, and particularly, the tics and habits that can warn a fighter of the swing that’s about to come. Does the opponent blink before he throws with his right hand? Does he hesitate to come back after getting hit with a cross? Does he drop his hands when he gets tired? Finally, on the day of the fight, a boxer will take all of this information into the ring with him, armed with a strategy precisely calibrated to take advantage of his opponent’s weaknesses and protect himself from the other’s strengths, so he can use his best moves to maneuver himself into a winning position.


3. There is no “one-size-fits-all” in marketing. Great marketing is an on-going process that requires a lot of attention just as is the case with anything else. Marketers are constantly asking me for a fixed storytelling blueprint, something that delineates the optimal number of jabs before it’s appropriate to throw a right hook. That blueprint doesn’t exist. Social media storytelling is as sweet a science as boxing, requiring constant experimentation and hours of observation. Successful online content marketers pay especially close attention to variables such as environmental fluctuations and demographic shifts. At what times do we see the highest level of response? What happens when we use slang? How does the same image work with different taglines? Did it make a difference to add a hashtag? Is there an increase in engagement when we put out animated GIFs? The answers are out there if you learn how to test properly and correctly interpret the data. You can see right away how many people heart on Instagram; how many fans share and comment on Facebook; who repins on Pinterest and how often; how many people reblog and write notes on Tumblr. Allocating the time and budget for these analyses can be tough for both small and large businesses, but it is imperative. It’s not enough to experiment—you have to respond to what the results tell you. This is how you devise a formula to guide your future storytelling on the platform. But that formula should be treated only as an overarching framework, because like any boxer, you can’t use the same move over and over again. A fighter will concentrate on trying to hit his opponent’s body if he learns that the competitor is reluctant to get hit there. But the next guy he fights might not be afraid to get hit in the body, so he’ll have to change his approach.


4. Keep “jabbing” until you need a favor in return and that’s when you throw the “right hook.” The emotional connection you build through jabbing pays off on the day you decide to throw the right hook. Remember when you were a kid, and you’d go to your mom and ask her to take you out for an ice-cream cone, or to the video arcade? Nine times out of ten, she said no. But then, every now and then, out of the blue, she would say yes. Why? In the days or weeks prior, something about how you interacted with your mother before the unexpected outing to the ice-cream shop or arcade made your mom feel like she wanted to do something for you. You made her happy, or maybe even proud, by giving her something she valued, whether it was doing extra chores or good grades or just one day of peace with your sibling. You gave so much that when you finally asked, she was emotionally primed to say yes. No way is a consumer going to say yes if you ambush him with a giant pop-up that blacks out the middle of the Web page he’s reading. The only thing he’ll feel is irritation as he frantically hunts for that little X in the corner that will make you go away. If consumers could wipe out all the banner ads blinking around the periphery of their Web pages, too, they would. No one wants to be interrupted, and no one wants to be sold to. Your story needs to move people’s spirits and build their goodwill, so that when you finally do ask them to buy from you, they feel like you’ve given them so much it would be almost rude to refuse.


5. Effort has always been the driving force of success. To get to great levels of success, you need to put in the work. It’s a sad story, though it should have been the next Rocky. At the time of the fight, Douglas had been enjoying fame as the world heavyweight champion after unexpectedly trouncing the then-undefeated heavyweight champion, ‘Iron’ Mike Tyson, nine months earlier—an upset that put my fifteen-year-old self in such a state of shock, I hid in my bed and missed a day of school. Dead serious. No one had expected Douglas to win that earlier fight. Tyson was the best boxer in the world; some thought he was the best boxer ever. This was the tenth time he was defending his title. Douglas had proved to be an unreliable fighter at best, and often carried more weight than he see how fast Tyson could knock Douglas out. But Douglas had done something no one expected of him—he trained like a man possessed. He was partly motivated by the unexpected death of his mother: ‘I knew that, somewhere, she was saying, ‘That’s my boy. He’s gonna do it.’ If I didn’t do my best, if I didn’t do what I was capable of, I thought my mama’s ride to heaven would be a little harder. I didn’t want that.’ But he had also met Mike Tyson in person and walked away unimpressed. Tyson couldn’t be the undefeatable monster everyone said he was, and Douglas was going to prove it. By the time he stepped into the ring with Tyson, he had more than doubled his bench-press capability from 180 to 400 pounds, lost more than thirty pounds of weight, and watched countless tapes of Tyson fights. He studied Iron Mike’s techniques, identified his flaws, and with the help of his managers and trainers, put together a strategy to take him down. The effort paid off. Despite having been laid up with the flu just twenty-four hours earlier, Douglas pummeled Tyson with a series of strong, confident jabs, until at one point Tyson, his eye almost completely swollen shut, was literally using the ropes to keep himself standing upright. Douglas handed Tyson the first defeat of his career. 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 a marketing budget that matches the GDP of a medium-size country, or if it has a staff of hundreds and you are alone in your broom closet with two laptops, an iPad, and a cell phone. What matters is the effort you put into your work. And never has effort counted more than it does today.


By Ryan Timothy Lee


Thank you for reading! Please share this post with someone who you think will benefit from it. Also, join my Facebook group here, to receive exclusive content and updates on posts. If you have any book requests or recommendations, I’d love to hear them out so please let me know through an e-mail at bookstakeaway@gmail.com.


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