Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook

"Your story isn’t powerful enough if all it does is lead the horse to water; it has to inspire the horse to drink, too."

- Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook, page 11

Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook is the latest book by Gary Vaynerchuk and the third in a trilogy of the evolution of social media. His first book, Crush It!,  explained what great content should look like and introduced new, strange platforms that are commonplace today. Gary’s second book, The Thank You Economy could have been called, Jab, Jab, Jab, Jab, Jab! because it was all about building relationships and setting up the environment where the ‘ask’ or ‘right hook’ would be easy and lead to high conversion.

Even though he still believes strongly in those concepts, he felt he hadn’t taught people well enough how to deliver effective right hooks (or ‘asks’) for a sale, which he and his team at VaynerMedia have learned so much about this year. So he just had to write this book. He calls it a “mash-up of the best elements of Crush It! and The Thank You Economy with a modern-day spin, it offers a formula for developing social media marketing strategies and creative that really works.”

The Big Idea

The Big Idea: The biggest takeaway from the book

Tell Your Story As a Native

"Content is king, but context is God."
- Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook, page 17

“Buy one get one free!” “On sale, today only!” “Free shipping!”

Traditional marketing is all about right hooks–asking people to come buy your stuff. And that makes sense. What else are you supposed to do when you’re trying to sell things? Well, a lot actually. And that’s what Gary’s first two books were about–building relationships through social media–because people buy from those they have a connection with, or who have helped them out, and that’s what the platforms are designed to do. Now, once you have those relationships, how do you go for the sell? Very carefully, creatively, and precisely unique depending on which platform you are using.

The way you might ask someone to check out your product on Facebook is different than what you would do on Twitter, or Pinterest, or Instagram. Gary calls it native content. You’re being native to the platform, an insider, someone who knows how that platform is used and what people are looking for. That is when you are mastering the context.

It comes down to this basic truth: “A great marketing story is one that sells stuff,” says Gary. “It creates an emotion that makes consumers want to do what you ask them to do.” Great storytellers are very observant and keenly attuned to their audience. They know when to speed up for comic effect or slow down for dramatic impact. There’s a science to it all, and Gary has figured out the formula.

What’s interesting is that a few years ago these social networks didn’t exist; now they have their own culture and language. It’s like new countries have emerged (bigger than most existing ones) and Gary is trying to teach us the language and local customs. He has become a native to them all.


Insight #1

An actionable way to implement the Big Idea into your life

Storytell on Facebook

"On Facebook, the definition of great content is not the content that makes the most sales, but the content that people most want to share with others."
- Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook, page 32

Gary talks about three forces that have made it more difficult to share content on Facebook:

1. The masses
2. The evolution of the masses
3. Facebook’s response to the evolution of the masses.

With more than a billion users creating content how can you possibly stand out? Plus, as people’s interests evolve over time, as their life experiences change, how does Facebook keep all that information relevant? Answer: An algorithm called EdgeRank.

Every interaction you have with Facebook (posting, liking, sharing or commenting) is called an “edge,” and the more you have with certain items, the more they show up in your newsfeed. Currently, the algorithm does not consider click-throughs or any other action that leads to sales. So even though you may get a lot of sales from a particular post, that doesn’t help it get seen by more people.

Gary’s recommendation is to effectively jab, jab, jab on Facebook with posts that are likeable, share-able, and generate a lot of comments. Give generously and entertain, so your customers feel like you get them. Then, when you post a right hook, a call to action for a purchase, they’ll gladly want to be a part of your story.

On Facebook, I always like joining a conversation by commenting and giving people a boost, but I need to do a better job of telling my story in a way that’s fun and engaging for the people I want to connect with.

Insight #2

An actionable way to implement the Big Idea into your life

Listen Well on Twitter

"There’s a lot of talking and selling on Twitter, but not enough engagement, and that’s a travesty, because Twitter is the cocktail party of the Internet – a place where listening well has tremendous benefits."
- Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook, page 85

Gary talks about Twitter with the same affection as he talks about his children, because it has had such an impact on his life and business. It was perfect for his cocktail party personality of short bursts and quick conversation.

He says, “Breaking out on Twitter isn’t about breaking the news or spreading information – it’s about deejaying it.” What he means is that people want an entertaining spin on the information, a definite opinion or angle that will get people talking. Everyone else is just breaking the news.

The key to ‘listening’ to what people are talking about is to use Twitter search and find subjects that are relevant to your business, or to use the trending topics and spin them into your story. Gary says it’s “the only platform where you can jump into a conversation unannounced and no one thinks you’re a stalker.” It’s a marketer’s dream because you can connect directly with your customer and yet still be visible to the whole world.


There’s so much more information Gary covers, such as promoted tweets and the skill to using the right hashtags, along with similar details about the other platforms such as Pinterest, Instagram, and Tumblr, that I can’t even begin to cover. But I’ll be applying the wisdom I’ve learned from Gary on a few of them.

The bottom line is to stay true to your own personality, voice and story as you use these platforms in the way each of them works best. And after reading Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook, you’ll know what those are.

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Rex Williams

ABOUT Rex Williams

I'm a curious connector of people and ideas. I crave learning new things and invoking a creative twist to my methods. By day, I work as an engineer, general problem solver (and recently video producer) at the Boeing company as I fight the status quo and start movements, but after work I hang out with entrepreneur and rabble-rouser types online (like this group...
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