The 6 Rules for Effective Social Media Marketing

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook" by Gary Vaynerchuk. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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Are you looking for effective social media marketing tips to help grow your business? How can Gary Vaynerchuk’s social media rules help you to up your marketing game?

The six rules for effective social media marketing are: use native content, don’t interrupt, tailor your jabs, involve pop culture, use micro-content, and be true to your brand. Your jabs should be constant, relevant, and should keep your customers engaged with your company.

Continue reading for six rules for effective social media marketing.

Effective Social Media Marketing: The 6 Rules

Note: The information in this article is from the book Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook by Gary Vaynerchuk. The book was published in 2013 and some statistics and information may be out of date but the advice is still valuable.

Effective social media marketing consists of two main concepts, jabs and right hooks. A metaphorical jab is content that builds the relationship between you and your customer. Jabs should be intriguing, engaging, and/or create some sort of emotional response, such as making people laugh. A metaphorical right hook is marketing content that includes a call to action and aims to convert a sale. Right hooks need to be easily comprehensible, work on all digital devices, including mobile, and meet the conventions of the platforms they appear on.

Social media campaigns should be simple and focus on these two elements:

  1. Jab constantly. Social media requires attention 24/7.
  2. Talk about what people are talking about. This creates engagement.

Rules for Using Social Media

There are six rules to creating engaging, effective social media marketing content that people will want to read or view. These six rules apply to any platform. 

Rule #1: Use Native Content

Every platform has its own unique design, tone, culture, and aesthetic, and native content is content that mirrors the form and content of the platform it appears on. For example, user-generated content on Instagram is typically beautiful photos, so native content on Instagram would also be beautiful photos.

Customers go on social media because they want something of value, whether that’s a break from stress or news, or to connect with friends. If you employ native content, your content gives people the same value that they’re seeking. Your company’s posts feel like they’re coming from a real person and your customers are just as interested in reading your posts as they would be in reading their friends’.

For example, the earliest TV ads were people talking about products, which wasn’t anything like the kind of content that appeared on TV. Eventually, marketers started coming up with ads that were like TV shows—the ads became story-driven scenes with characters. The native content was far more effective and commercials became part of the TV-watching experience.

Rule #2: Don’t Interrupt

Before social media, it was fine for ads to interrupt customers from their media. Commercials interrupted TV shows, and no matter how native they were, there was still a hard break between what people were watching and the commercial. 

Today, however, if you interrupt people, you’re doomed, because people’s expectations have changed. People have more control over what advertising they see now—pop-up blockers and commercial-skipping devices abound—and being forced to look at your ad at best annoys someone and at worst makes them hate your brand. Effective social media marketing doesn’t use mobile banner ads, which are a huge interruption because they block almost the whole mobile screen (and they’re overpriced).

To avoid interrupting people, your content needs to:

  • Include more jabs than hooks.
  • Be native. Ads need to be just as entertaining or informative as a regular post so that they don’t annoy people or break the spell of the social media experience.
  • Offer something of value, such as a joke that brightens a user’s day.

Rule #3: Tailor Your Jabs to the Customer’s Desires

Leo Burnett, an expert advertiser, said that good content should be simple, memorable, inviting, and fun. The author adds that good content should also be aimed at meeting your audience’s goals, not yours. Right hooks are about your company, but jabs are all about the customer.

How do you find out what the customer wants? Consider what kinds of apps they use. The three most popular categories are: 

  • Utility (notepads, maps, and so on). The popularity of utility apps tells you that people want things that are useful.
    • For example, if you’re a cosmetics company, you might appeal to people’s desire for information by posting a video tutorial about how to choose lipstick colors.
  • Recreation (music and games). The popularity of entertainment apps tells you that people want escape.
    • The cosmetics company might appeal to people’s desire for entertainment by posting music videos and then starting a conversation about stage makeup.
  • Social (social media). The popularity of social apps tells you that people value their relationships with others.
    • The cosmetics company might appeal to people’s desire for human interaction simply by chatting with potential customers about what they’re interested in, no matter how tangential it is to cosmetics.

Rule #4: Take Advantage of Pop Culture

Another effective social media marketing tip is to get involved in pop culture. Pop culture is a large part of what defines a generation. If you show your followers that you’re in their loop and share their interests, whether that’s by talking about a popular song or sharing celebrity gossip, your brand will come across as human.

Rule #5: Keep Your Jabs Brief and Nimble

Your jabs should be micro-content—short content that responds to current events and culture.

For example, in 2013, when the power went out during the Superdome, Oreo put out a 4-word tweet, “Power out? No problem.” with a photo of an Oreo in the dark with overlaid text. This was the first time a brand had reacted to an event as a real person would. The tweet didn’t have any calls to action—it was just supposed to be entertaining and remind people that Oreos existed. Oreo was able to do this because they planned ahead—they put together a team that was on call to respond to whatever happened.

This is also an example of why it’s good to be the first to a platform. Oreo’s post was revolutionary because it was the first of its type; other brands who later reacted to pop culture in real time were less notable.

Rule #6: Maintain Your Identity

Know who your brand is and know its message, and always keep both of these things in mind while creating your content. Your content should always be in line with your brand’s identity.

However, it’s fine (and even encouraged) to use different platforms and jabs to share different stories. Likewise, you don’t have to always keep the same tone—for example, some of your content can be light-hearted, while some can be more “serious” and factual. 

The 6 Rules for Effective Social Media Marketing

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Like what you just read? Read the rest of the world's best book summary and analysis of Gary Vaynerchuk's "Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook" at Shortform.

Here's what you'll find in our full Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook summary:

  • Why creating strong social media content is like boxing
  • How the rise of social media has brought many changes to marketing
  • How to build a connection and then convert a sale

Hannah Aster

Hannah graduated summa cum laude with a degree in English and double minors in Professional Writing and Creative Writing. She grew up reading books like Harry Potter and His Dark Materials and has always carried a passion for fiction. However, Hannah transitioned to non-fiction writing when she started her travel website in 2018 and now enjoys sharing travel guides and trying to inspire others to see the world.

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