Ever since a few of us from Accelity Marketing attended INBOUND16 (a HubSpot conference), I haven’t been able to get enough Gary Vaynerchuk. He was one of the keynotes at the conference and I was immediately drawn to his no nonsense and straightforward style. In his book Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World, he explains how you have to constantly give value before you can ask people to buy your products or services. The book explains how to do this via social media, along with how brands can cut through the clutter on social media with creative and powerful content.
Here are 5 takeaways I had after reading this book. These are just a few pieces of the social media marketing wisdom to inspire you to make some positive changes.
1. What’s needed is less “right-hooking” and more “jabbing.”
Vaynerchuk uses a boxing analogy of “jabs” and “right hooks” throughout the book. A right hook is content that aims to sell and a jab is content that aims to engage and trigger an emotional response. Brands throw far too many right hooks that kill engagement potential. Vaynerchuk emphasizes that well-timed jabs resonate with followers on an emotional level, reel them in as brand loyalists and prepare them for a right hook to make a sale.
“There is no sales without the story; no knockout without the setup.”
2. Most brands still don’t understand social media engagement, so much of their content really sucks.
I was amazed at how some of the most powerful brands could produce such crappy content for social media. Vaynerchuk has the examples that prove it. This happens partly because brands still don’t know how to tell their story in each social platform’s native language, which results in poor content that looks out of place. This provides an opportunity for marketers: since most content online is still just low quality noise, the creative and engaging content will easily rise through the clutter and get noticed.
“The content you’re putting out there sucks. You know why? Because even though consumers are now spending 10 percent of their time with mobile (a number that is soon going to be much higher), you’re only investing 1 percent of your ad budget there.”
3. It’s all about concise micro-content.
Marketers easily forget: people use social media by rapidly scrolling through their feeds, especially while on their phones, which makes up the bulk amount of time spent on social. That means a brand’s content must stand out by sharing something different, eye-catching and compelling enough to quickly grab the user’s attention. Even if you get them to slow down, you only have a few more seconds to get them to read, watch, click or interact with your content. It’s almost impossible, but it can be done. And the way you do it is with micro-content that is easy to read on the fly. This means:
- Brief text
- Concise copy
- Obvious links or calls-to-action
Doing these things makes it easier for followers to engage. When it comes to social media marketing strategies, remember, less is more.
“Stop thinking about your content as content. Think about it, rather, as micro-content — tiny, unique nuggets of information, humor, commentary or inspiration that you reimagine every day.”
4. “Content may be king, but context is God.”
This is a quote that Vaynerchuk emphasizes over and over in his book. Sharing content with the proper context involves:
- Communicating in the platform’s unique language
- Posting content that is native to the platform
Twitter does well with short form text while Facebook encourages big, high quality images. Instagram is about pictures taken with your phone that appear real and authentic, while Pinterest favors bright, glossy photos that look like a professional took them. It gets even more detailed than that, but you get the idea. Learn how to share content in the proper context and you’ll start to see engagement.
“You can put out good content, but if it ignores the context of the platform on which it appears, it can still fall flat.”
5. Brands still think of social media as a distribution channel rather than a storytelling channel.
Vaynerchuk claims too many brands are using social media the same way they used email marketing or banner advertising back in the day—as a distribution channel to just self-promote and push uncompelling content in people’s faces. This has to change. Social media is something better than those older ways of digital marketing because it provides marketers the opportunity to creatively share content that:
- Tells your story
- Sparks engagement
- Increases conversions
- Strikes an emotional chord
Sharing content this way is what creates brand loyalty and returning customers. Distributing sales-y material is what gets you ignored and forgotten.
“Marketers are on social media to sell stuff. Consumers, however, are not. They are there for value.”
6. Final thoughts
You will probably have thoughts about what this means for the state of social media today, and I’d love to hear them (share with me in the comments below!). Here’s what comes to my mind:
- Social media is still relatively young and has plenty of life
- Social media will continue to take on new forms and trends in the future
- Even though brands are finally establishing themselves on social sites, many companies still don’t understand how to use it
Read Gary Vaynerchuk’s Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook… to see just how much work still needs to be done for brands on social media. Start changing how you use social media and let me know what ways you plan to change up your social plan in the comments below!