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Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook by Gary Vaynerchuk.
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Boxing is a natural metaphor for marketing—boxing and marketing are both aggressive and strategic, and both require dedication and hard work. In Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook, marketing expert Gary Vaynerchuk explains how to land perfect punches in the social media arena.

First, we’ll look at how the rise of social media has changed marketing. Next, we’ll look at how to create great social media content. Finally, we’ll look at individual platforms and how to take advantage of their specific features.

(Shortform note: Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook was published in 2013, so some of the content may be outdated.)

The Rise of Social Media

These days, almost everyone has a mobile device and many people are on social media. There are 325 million mobile subscriptions in the US and the author suspects that almost half of the time people spend on their phones is used for social media.

In spite of social media’s popularity, many marketers and businesses are reluctant to embrace new platforms. This is for a variety of reasons, including feeling they don’t have time or thinking the new platform is silly. This means that any brands that do embrace new platforms have a head start. Often, early adopters are small businesses because they don’t have the same PR and legal red tape that larger companies do.

The small business advantage disappears as new platforms become more mainstream and large companies work through their red tape. However, even if larger companies have higher budgets and more staff that can interact with the community, small businesses can still compete by increasing their effort. If you work hard to create great content and show the community you care, you’ll do well even if other companies have more resources. Being cared for by a business is so rare that it surprises people and leaves an impression.

What’s Changed in the Era of Social Media

The rise of social media has ushered in many changes in marketing:

  • Shorter campaign length. Today, every day requires new content.
  • Increased customer interaction. Customers can now engage with brands rather than passively consuming their ads. They can like posts, ask questions, and demand attention before agreeing to buy something.
  • Increased affordability of advertising. It’s free to set up a presence on social media and some platforms offer affordable advertising.
  • Decreased reliance on traditional media companies. Now, customers can directly access their customers on their own, without the help of a TV or radio ad. Any brand can become its own media company.

What Hasn’t Changed in the Era of Social Media

Social media has changed a lot of things for marketers, but there are some constants:

  • Good timing is critical. You still need to connect with customers at the time and place when they’re most likely to purchase.
  • Storytelling is key. No matter where you’re telling your story, you need to write it in a way that creates enough emotion to make customers want to answer your calls to action. (For more information on storytelling, read our summary of Donald Miller’s Building a Storybrand.)
  • Long-form content continues to be relevant. Social media content is becoming shorter and shorter, but long-form content still has its place. Books, movies, and YouTube videos probably won’t disappear.
  • Marketing requires lifelong learning. New platforms and technologies are coming into being every day. You’ll need to learn new skills on an ongoing basis.
  • You need heart, sincerity, engagement, commitment, and hustle. Marketing is hard and it takes work.
  • There are two types of content, “jabs” and “hooks.” We’ll cover these in more detail in the next section.

Jabs and Right Hooks

In marketing, 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. Here’s an example of a jab:

alt_text

Oreo tweeted this when the power went out during the 2013 Super Bowl. Oreo wasn’t trying to sell anything with this tweet; they were just trying to entertain people and show the brand’s humanity.

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. Here’s an example of a right hook:

alt_text

Amazon posted this image and text on Tumblr. Notice the price in the copy.

While the right hook is the content that creates a sale, jabs are just as important. If you were in a boxing ring with an opponent, you couldn’t just throw a right hook out of nowhere; your opponent would slip out of the way. You need to set up an opportunity to throw the hook by throwing jabs first. It’s the same in marketing—before you ask a customer for a sale, you need to build a relationship with them. There’s no universal combination of jabs and hooks that result in a sale every time—you’ll have to experiment.

Eight Tips for Creating Great Content

Now that you better understand the social media arena, it’s time to learn about how to create great jabs and hooks. These eight tips apply to any platform:

1. Use native content including high-quality images. Native content is content that mirrors the form and content of the platform it appears on. People like native content because it provides the same value as user-generated content. All platforms use high-quality photographs.

  • For example, people go on Pinterest to look at aspirational images. If your brand shares aspirational images, people on Pinterest will be interested in your...

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Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook Summary Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook Guide Chapter 1: The Social Media Arena

Boxing is a natural metaphor for marketing—boxing and marketing are both aggressive and strategic, and both require dedication and hard work. In Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook, marketing expert Gary Vaynerchuk explains how to land perfect punches in the social media arena.

First, we’ll look at how the rise of social media has changed marketing. Next, we’ll look at how to create great social media content. Finally, we’ll look at individual platforms and how to take advantage of their specific features.

(Shortform note: Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook was published in 2013, so some of the content may be outdated.)

The Rise of Social Media

These days, almost everyone has a mobile device and most people are on social media. There are 325 million mobile subscriptions in the US and the author suspects that almost half of the time people spend on their phones is used for social media.

While it’s normal for new platforms to replace old ones, social media is taking over quickly. To get an audience of 50 million, it took radio (which replaced print) eight years. It took TV (which replaced radio) 13 years. It took Instagram (which replaces everything that’s come before it) 18...

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Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook Summary Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook Guide Chapter 2: Creating Great Content

Now that you better understand the social media arena, it’s time to learn about how to create great jabs and hooks. 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.

This chapter will discuss six rules and 11 tips that will help you craft great content for your campaigns.

Six Rules for Using Social Media

There are six rules to creating engaging, relevant content that people on social media 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...

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Shortform Exercise: Assess Content

There are six rules and 11 tips for creating great social media content.


Below is a Facebook post from Selena Gomez. What did she do right? How? (Think about how native the post is, her choice of image, her use of text, and so on.) alt_text

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Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook Summary Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook Guide Chapter 3: How to Best Use Facebook

We’ve discussed the marketing techniques that apply to any social media platform. Now, we’ll explore platform-specific techniques. Each platform has its own features, and native content looks different on all of them.

In this chapter, we cover how to best use Facebook for marketing purposes. In subsequent chapters, we’ll cover how to use other platforms.

Facebook is a social media site that allows users to share text, photos, and videos with their network. Most marketers use Facebook, even if they’re not on board with social media in general, because it has such a huge audience.

The audience: As of December 2012, there were over a billion monthly active Facebook users, and 680 monthly users who accessed Facebook on their mobile devices. Facebook is responsible for 20% of page views in the US.

Who uses it: Facebook is used by almost everyone.

Why they use it: People go on Facebook because they want to find out what people they know are doing and socialize.

Notable Features

Facebook has several features that distinguish it from other social media platforms:

Feature #1: Advanced analytics. Studying Facebook’s analytics can tell you a lot about how...

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Shortform Exercise: Assess Your Facebook Posts

Facebook is one of the most popular social media platforms, so it’s important to use it effectively.


Navigate to or recall one of your brand’s recent Facebook posts. Is it a link post or a photo post? Why did you choose the option you did?

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Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook Summary Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook Guide Chapter 4: How to Best Use Twitter

Like Facebook, Twitter is a popular social media site with a large audience. Twitter is a microblogging platform and posts are called “tweets.”

The audience: As of December 2012, there were 500 million Twitter users worldwide. 750 tweets are posted per second.

Who uses it: The Twitter demographic is young and urban.

Why they use it: Twitter is mainly used to share information and news.

Notable Features

Twitter has several features that distinguish it from other social media platforms:

Feature #1: Mobile friendly. Twitter is one of the most mobile-friendly platforms.

Feature #2: Very public. Twitter is almost completely public. Most tweets are public to the entire internet, even to people who don’t have accounts, and anyone who does have an account can usually talk to anyone else with an account, regardless of whether or not they’re following each other. (On Facebook, Instagram, and Tumblr, you can only talk to people once they’ve decided to follow you.)

Feature #3: Huge potential for community engagement. Because Twitter’s so public, in addition to responding to customer’s tweets about your brand, you can initiate conversations with...

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Shortform Exercise: Assess Your Tweets

Twitter is one of the most popular social media platforms, so it’s important to tweet effectively.


Navigate to or recall one of your brand’s recent tweets. What hashtags did you use, if any? What memorable and idiosyncratic hashtags could you add to strengthen the tweet?

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Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook Summary Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook Guide Chapter 5: How to Best Use Pinterest

Unlike Twitter and Facebook, Pinterest is a very visual platform. Pinterest is a social bookmarking site that allows people to save images they like, and ideas associated with the images, into collections. Posts are called “pins” and collections are “boards.” Every brand should get on Pinterest, even if your product isn’t particularly image-worthy.

The audience: By 2013, Pinterest had 48.7 million users. While it’s only slightly less popular than Twitter, marketers have been reluctant to get on it for two reasons:

  • They’re already busy with other social media sites.
  • It encourages you to share images you don’t own, which people initially thought might create copyright infringement. Pinterest has since revised its terms and put in business features to make it more attractive, and no one has ever been sued.

Who uses it: The majority of Pinterest users are women. Many parents use Pinterest—half of Pinterest users have children.

Why they use it: Pinterest was initially used to share fashion, food, and home decor ideas, but now people use it to share all sorts of hobbies. People like Pinterest because it’s aspirational—people pin images of what they’d like...

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Shortform Exercise: Brainstorm Pins

Pinterest is a quickly growing social media platform, so you should consider setting up an account if you haven’t already.


People use Pinterest because they want to imagine what their lives could look like. If you were to take a photo of your product to use in a pin, how would you make the image aspirational? (For example, could you make the photo convey luxury or high status?)

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Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook Summary Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook Guide Chapter 6: How to Best Use Instagram

Like Pinterest, Instagram is a very visual platform. Instagram is a photo and video-sharing social media platform that’s owned by Facebook. Images are becoming more popular than text and will be the future of social media.

The audience: In December 2012, there were 130 million monthly active users. Users upload 40 million photos a day and there are 1,000 comments per second.

Who uses it: Instagram is a young person’s app. Kids are on Instagram while their parents are on Facebook.

Why they use it: Instagram is a consumption platform. People want to look at each other’s high-quality photos—photos often tell a story better than words. Additionally, Instagram has unique photo-editing capabilities.

Notable Features

Instagram has several features that distinguish it from other social media platforms:

Feature #1: No reposting. You can only post your own content, not reshare other people’s. However, you can get around this by using outside apps, or by screenshotting a post and then posting the screenshot.

Feature #2: No linking. Posts can’t be linked to outside sites. However, you can get around this by putting a URL into the photo’s description. It...

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Shortform Exercise: Assess Your Instagram Posts

Instagram is one of the fastest-growing social media platforms, so it’s important to know how to use it effectively.


Navigate to or recall one of your brand’s recent Instagram posts. Is the photo high-quality, indie, and/or artsy? Why or why not? How could you retake or edit the photo to make it more native?

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Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook Summary Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook Guide Chapter 7: How to Best Use Tumblr

Unlike the other platforms mentioned above, Tumblr wasn’t originally a social media platform, but a blogging platform. In January 2012, Tumblr redesigned its dashboard to become more social.

The audience: Tumblr has 132 million monthly users as of June 2013 and every day, 60 million new posts go up. Tumblr’s not as big as some of the other platforms, but your brand should still have a presence on it.

Who uses it: Tumblr is mainly used by 18-to-34-year-olds. Slightly more women than men use it, and many artists use it. The tone is urban, ironic, and hipster.

Why they use it: Tumblr is more a publishing platform than a consuming one, but people do consume media on it, and quickly.

Notable Features

Tumblr has several features that distinguish it from other social media platforms:

  • Customizable homepage. Unlike Twitter or Facebook, you can choose your art, logo placement, color, format, and font, which allows you to better express your brand’s identity.
  • Interest-based connections. Connections are made based on interest, not who you already know. If you post content people are interested in and tag it appropriately, they’ll find it, whether or...

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Shortform Exercise: Brainstorm Posts

Tumblr is a smaller but still important social media platform, so you should consider setting up an account if you haven’t already.


Brainstorm a possible Tumblr post about your brand or product. What would the topic of the post be? What media could you include? (Consider both images (especially black and white images) and GIFs.)

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Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook Summary Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook Guide Chapter 8: Up-and-Coming Platforms

In this chapter, the author covers four platforms that weren’t very social at his time of writing, but that he believed had the potential to become social as users demanded this functionality from everything in their lives.

(Shortform note: Two of the platforms the author mentions in this chapter—Google+ and Vine—are no longer operational. However, we’ve included information on them to give an insight into the types of content that the author thought would become popular.)

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a business-oriented site that allows professionals to network with each other. It also allows people to share samples of their work, articles, and reviews.

The audience: In 2013, LinkedIn had 200 million members. Over 2.8 million companies have a company page.

Who uses it: LinkedIn is used by students, college graduates, Fortune 500 company executives, and many other professionals.

Why they use it: People use LinkedIn to make professional connections, find jobs, find employees, and learn about the workplace.

Notable Features

LinkedIn has several features:

  • Access to a professional audience. B2B marketers, who sell directly...

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Shortform Exercise: Consider New Platforms

Early adopters of new platforms have the opportunity to corner a market before other businesses get around to building their presences.


What’s a social media platform that your brand doesn’t have a presence on yet? What’s holding you back?

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Table of Contents

  • 1-Page Summary
  • Chapter 1: The Social Media Arena
  • Chapter 2: Creating Great Content
  • Exercise: Assess Content
  • Chapter 3: How to Best Use Facebook
  • Exercise: Assess Your Facebook Posts
  • Chapter 4: How to Best Use Twitter
  • Exercise: Assess Your Tweets
  • Chapter 5: How to Best Use Pinterest
  • Exercise: Brainstorm Pins
  • Chapter 6: How to Best Use Instagram
  • Exercise: Assess Your Instagram Posts
  • Chapter 7: How to Best Use Tumblr
  • Exercise: Brainstorm Posts
  • Chapter 8: Up-and-Coming Platforms
  • Exercise: Consider New Platforms