Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook Book Review – Gary Vee Shows You How To Rock Social Media

Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook – Book Review

If you’re looking for a book about how to succeed in the overwhelming social media world, written by a superstar who practices what he preaches (and even invests in social media platforms!), then the “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World” by Gary Vaynerchuk truly over delivers.

It’s got the theory and the concepts and the awe-inspiring statistics. But much more importantly it has tons of practical examples and screenshots of social media content that both went viral and fell flat on its face.

It can help you quickly grasp what is required to make it in the today’s noisy social media world, and how to implement the right approach, strategies and content to be successful and generate leads and sales for your business.

Who is Gary Vaynerchuk?

Gary is an authentic social media superstar. Yes indeed.

He burst onto the scene with his video blog called Wine Library TV which he built to massive success on YouTube before businesses woke to the social media phenomenon.

He used it to review wines, joke, express opinions, but crucially – to build his family-owned wine -selling business.

At the time of this writing he has 1.2M Twitter followers, 240k Instagram followers, 490k Facebook fans, and on and on and on.

He seems to be everywhere, and indeed he is. He has a sort of a blanket approach to social media – be everywhere and engage with your tribes.

Definitely a person to look up to as you navigate your journey through the social media jungle.

In quite some visionary moves, he bought Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr stocks, and sold them nicely when the times were right (IPOs and acquisitions, respectively).

He also runs VaynerMedia, an agency helping fortune 500 brands run their social media accounts, and does that with great success.

Gary rocks! Okay? That alone should be a reference good enough to read this book right now.

What is “Jab, Jab, Jab…” all about?

You can almost visualize Gary shaking his head when he discusses how many brands today use the approach which worked for the past 30-40 years in their modern social media efforts.

The typical marketing approach of the several previous decades was that brands were hitting the general public with direct sales messages, using radio, TV, newspapers and billboards.

Hit and pray. Sell some stuff. Repeat.

Then they embarked on the social media and started doing the same.

Hit and pray. No sales. Repeat.

Throughout the book the author painstakingly proves and explains that you must adapt the message to the channel, and that it’s a huge mistake to apply the TV ad philosophy to Facebook or Twitter, for example.

Instead, you must entertain, help, engage, educate, build relationships. And only then ask for the sale.

A great quote from the book explains the speed of change of the marketing channels:

“It took thirty-eight years before 50 million people gained access to radios. It took television thirteen years to earn an audience that size. It took Instagram a year and a half.”

However, the traditional marketing approach didn’t get this memo, it seems.

The boxing analogy is omnipresent in this book, and you’ll learn some boxing terminology as well (I certainly did 🙂 ).

Essentially, a boxer would jab at his opponent with all sorts of tricks and moves, preparing the grand right hook which would take the opponent down.

In social media speak, instead of hitting the social networks with hard selling pitches brands need to go for interactive storytelling, develop relationships with their followers, and only then ask for the sale.

In Gary’s own words: “Jabs are the lightweight pieces of content that benefit your customers by making them laugh, snicker, ponder, play a game, feel appreciated, or escape.”

And the right hook? “Right hooks are calls to action that benefit your businesses.”, i.e. sales.

In contrast to the times when you blasted the same ad on TV, radio, newspapers etc., “Now, if you know what you’re doing, you scour the Internet daily, searching for references to your product or service so you can jump in on the conversation, or scrambling at a moment’s notice to respond to a 2: 47 P.M. complaint via Twitter. To do social media right is harder and requires more time and effort than most people realize.”

And try telling this to a Mad Men type: “The incredible brand awareness and bottom-line profits achievable through social media marketing require hustle, heart, sincerity, constant engagement, long-term commitment, and most of all, artful and strategic storytelling. Don’t ever forget it, no matter what you learn here.”

You’ll hear the author repeating many times that he has a lot respect for the platform. The social media platform, that is, be it Twitter, YouTube or any other.

And that I think is the crucial angle of this book. You need to learn how each of the platforms work, what makes people tick, what’s considered funny and what’s frowned upon.

Do not just apply the scorched earth policy where you take your TV ad and blast it on Twitter.

Small businesses indeed have an advantage here as they are not slowed down by lawyers and red tape. They can have fun and build huge audiences using social media.

What are the Characteristics of great content? How do you create those perfect jabs?

Per Gary, the content has to be:

  1. Native – it has to be adapted to the channel. 140-character text for Twitter is way different compared to a friendly image on Instagram. In Gary’s words: “Content is king, but context is God. You can put out good content, but if it ignores the context of the platform on which it appears, it can still fall flat.”
  2. It doesn’t interrupt – banner ads or TV ads interrupt. In contrast, as Gary says: “If we want to talk to people while they consume their entertainment, we have to actually be their entertainment, melding seamlessly into the entertainment experience.”
  3. It doesn’t make demands-often – a sales message is fine, but not too often: “The emotional connection you build through jabbing pays off on the day you decide to throw  the right hook.”
  4. It leverages pop culture – you have to know the latest gossips, the stars of your niche, link your messages to events, trending hashtags.
  5. It’s micro – social media is a giant party, don’t bore everyone with long form content.
  6. It’s consistent and self-aware – ask yourself “who are we?” every time before posting.

What I like about “Jab, Jab, Jab…”

All the concepts and approaches above are valuable in and of themselves, but here’s where this book truly shines…

The author provides a screenshot after screenshot of examples of great jabs and right hooks executed by brands on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and Tumblr.

Now, this is pure gold. The book about social media which does not only cover very useful concepts and theory, but also shows examples of how it’s supposed to be done. The successful practitioner tells it all.

He dissects each example with great commentary and gives you tons of actionable guidance and advice which you can put to use, or correct some of your efforts if you’ve done the same mistake as the examples in the book as you were creating your campaign in the wee hours of the morning.

You’ll keep these examples as a reference, for good and bad stuff. Especially since you know that if you post bad stuff on social media, the internet world will quickly know about it, sometimes even faster than about your stellar stuff.

Awesome value.

Is there anything that could have been better?

The risk about writing a book on social media is that things change so quickly that your book can be outdated even before it was published.

Even though you’ll be hard-pressed  to find something lacking in this book, the author spends quite a chunk of a chapter discussing Facebook ‘s sponsored stories, which were phased out by Facebook several months after the book was published.

It would be good to have the book updated in that sense, but again the author would  be taking a risk that the update would become obsolete just a few months later. That’s just the nature of the beast.

Gary himself acknowledges in the final chapters that just as the book was about to be published –  Instagram introduced videos in addition to images. Too late to go and add it in the book – rather he dived into the new feature and started figuring out how to make it work for his business!

All this is a great example of what social media actually is – the ever-evolving jungle of strategies, techniques, tools and changes. And if you want to play with it, be ready for the change being the only constant, to paraphrase Jack Welch of GE.


Would I recommend this book? Absolutely.

It’s a rare book with tons of examples and concepts which will equip you to properly dive into the social media ocean, with case studies, insights and experience of a guy who’s been through it all, and has come back alive to tell us all about it.

And he’s off into the jungle again.

Have you read this book? Share your thoughts! 🙂

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