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

Francisco Conejo (Department of Marketing, University of Colorado, Denver, Colorado, USA)

Journal of Consumer Marketing

ISSN: 0736-3761

Article publication date: 11 August 2014




Francisco Conejo (2014), "Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World", Journal of Consumer Marketing, Vol. 31 No. 5, pp. 403-404. https://doi.org/10.1108/JCM-03-2014-0911



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Social media is the recent craze. Not only did it give conventional media a final blow, but it is already wearing down prior online formats. While most companies jumped on the bandwagon and went social, a majority still see the field as a single medium. The various social platforms might seem similar. And, their marketing functions indeed overlap. But, they each command distinct demographics, cultures and communication styles. What works in one does not necessarily translate well to another. Failure to understand a platform’s intricacies or posting the wrong kind of content likely dooms marketing efforts.

Building on his previous two books, Crush It! and The Thank You Economy, as well as extensive consulting expertise with Fortune 500s, small businesses, and even celebrities, author Gary “the King of Social Media” Vaynerchuk’s new book Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook outlines how to communicate more effectively on different social platforms. As the author indicates, pp. 183–184:

It takes a ton of effort to figure out how to use any social media platform to its full potential, and today we’ve got seven major ones to contend with. I hoped that if I wrote a short, useful book – one as visually enticing as a Tumblr or Pinterest post – that broke today’s most popular and exciting platforms down to their essential building blocks of text, image, tone and link capabilities, it would make the exploding social media scene seem a little less daunting to any marketer and business owner trying to keep up with it. I promise, the investment you make familiarizing yourself with the ins and outs of these platforms will pay off, now and in the future […] Marketers who put in the effort to really understand the nuances and subtleties of the platforms explored in this book can and will dominate.

Using boxing analogies, Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook is a training camp that provides a wealth of actionable advise for creating relevant and shareable content. The book’s main point is that right hooks alone (bruising, tooth-shattering and knockout marketing campaigns intended to put competitors out for the count) no longer work in social media. Given how jaded consumers have become, right hooks tend to be just big swings (powerful, though not good enough to connect, i.e. inspire consumer action). Instead, like in boxing, firms need first to set up consumers through a series of jabs (small but frequent connections, lightweight pieces of content that slowly build customer engagement). Only after a solid relationship has been built, and consumers made themselves vulnerable, can the firm come in for the killer blow.

Like title fights, Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook is organized into 12 rounds (chapters): its first, The Setup, discusses social media’s evolution and the importance of tailoring messages to each platform’s native language. Round 2, The Characteristics of Great Content and Compelling Stories, addresses six fundamental qualities of social media communications: being short, native, non-interruptive, rarely demanding, consistent, and leveraging pop culture. Rounds 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 detail communication on specific platforms, i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and Tumblr. Each of these chapters ends with a Color Commentary. In these, screenshot examples discuss good and bad efforts by a variety of brands. More importantly, improvements are suggested. A brief checklist for self-diagnostic highlighting each chapter’s most important issues is also provided.

Round 8, Opportunities in Emerging Networks, provides about a one-page overview of the nature and possibilities offered by LinkedIn, Google+, Vine and Snapchat. Round 9, Effort, discusses the importance of intense, consistent, and committed social media work, potentially the great equalizer for smaller businesses. Round 10, All Companies are Media Companies, discusses how firms today need to focus on communications, particularly now being able to control their own channels. Round 11, Conclusion, wraps everything up with some final words of encouragement. Finally, Round 12, Knockout, sort of an addendum, comments on last-minute events within social media, its volatile nature, and the need for marketers to constantly adapt. Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook then ends with a section on Notes, with references organized by chapter, and a brief blurb About the Author. Though an Index is not offered, Table of Contents, Acknowledgements, Authors Note and Introduction (Weigh In) precede the book chapters.

Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook has a fairly well-defined audience. While the book’s insights might interest and update readers as to what’s being done in industry, academics will certainly require more theoretical depth and rigor. The same might be said of students, who beyond platform-specific basics need to understand the rationales behind these. Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hooks target is thus practitioners, who in line with the book’s light treatment of issues are usually content with getting things done with a minimum of interfering theory. That said Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook does not provide the usual generic recommendations. Examples illustrate a variety of situations that might arise. The pros and cons of different approaches are also discussed. This allows readers to go back to their particular situations and tailor social media efforts accordingly.

Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hooks style is personal, as if speaking directly to the reader. It is also casual, and at times slangy, in the streetwise style Vaynerchuk ' s readers might expect. Sprinkled with boxing references to further explain social media operation (e.g. Douglas unexpectedly beating Tyson) makes it insightful and entertaining. However, the book is also concise and to the point. This keeps the train of thought fluid and engaging. Pages are also laid out in wide-spaced double columns, somewhat akin to a magazine, making the read even easier.

In sum, Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook is engaging and practical. While by no means theoretical or deep, it is certainly worthwhile for anyone interested in quick, actionable advice as to how to improve their social media marketing. Highly recommended.

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