“Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook” or how to create powerful social marketing

Which social strategy should you go for in order to truly engage your followers? Check out this hard-hitting marketing concept by Gary Vaynerchuk.

Tips and inspiration

5 min read

Jab jab marketing

Simone Engbo Hansen

How can brands cut through the noise on social media? The answer lies in the type of content they produce, says entrepreneur and communications specialist Gary Vaynerchuk in his book “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to tell your story in a noisy social world.” Vaynerchuk’s boxing analogy, in short, explains how ‘right hook’ content aims to sell and self-promote, whereas ‘jab’ content aims to engage and trigger an emotional response. So which content strategy should you go for? We’ll get to that in this article.

“Great marketing is about telling your story”

Gary Vaynerchuk’s book “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook” was published by HarperBusiness in 2013 and explains how you need to give value to your customers before asking them to buy your product. Basically, your customers must be emotionally invested in your company and its journey if you want them to do business with you. 

Here’s a great quote from the book: “Great marketing is about telling your story in such a way that it compels people to buy what you are selling.” It encapsulates the idea that great marketing should never feel like marketing - once you start selling and only selling, your customers get suspicious of your intent. It’s quite the paradox because we all know that brands are trying to lure us in with sneaky maneuvers, yet we still want to get wooed before placing our hard-earned money with a brand. 

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Fewer ‘right hooks’ and more ‘jabs’

Vaynerchuk’s idea that making marketing feel less like marketing and more like insightful storytelling that’s tailored to your audience is key to winning over clients and making them loyal customers. 

Too many right hooks on your social media platforms will almost certainly result in less engagement. Why? Because followers don’t care for constant salesmanship - they want to feel that there is some value to their engagement. Deep down, everything we do is based on a need for emotional connections - and that includes our online endeavors. So when we follow a brand, a business, or even an acquaintance, we’re looking to make that connection. That can’t be done by shameless self-promotions all the time. 

Instead, go with the jabs. Content that resonates with followers and gives them tangible value - such as tips, insider information, or in-depth knowledge about themselves - will have a greater chance of converting followers into loyalists. Then, when you’ve dished out enough jabs that offer value, hit them with a right hook. That’s when they will be most ripe to make a purchase with you.

How to implement it

It’s not just the big corporations that can benefit from constructing their social marketing around more jobs and fewer right hooks; small business owners should make a note of this too. 

It’s not just about making a lot of noise on social media; that will only serve to drive your customers away. Because there’s so much low-quality content out there, you need to make sure yours is well-planned, thought-out, and delivers actual value for your followers. Merely filling the void is not enough to cut through the clutter.

Followers scroll through thousands of posts every day that want to do the same: win them over. That gives you maybe less than a second to make your statement stand out. Vaynerchuk therefore argues that the only sure way to grab a customer’s attention is by being brief. Think social media content with simple copy that’s on-point, no long video formats, and always include clear calls-to-action. If you’d like some tips on how to write excellent Facebook Ad copy, we’ve written an article on the subject

Do Vaynerchuk’s social content strategy ideas sound cold or calculating to you? Maybe so. But only by understanding your platform and your role on it can you truly begin to connect with your followers and customers. And that’s not cold. That’s delivering value by lifting your brand and showing that you care. 

Other articles on marketing you might find helpful: “The ‘marketing funnel’ explained” and “9 different ways to market your business online”

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