Allia Mcdowell

Social Marketing: Put up your dukes or throw in the towel

Social media marketing is just like boxing, or so says social guru Gary Vaynerchuk.

Money doesn’t grow on trees. As the founder of a startup, you are begging people to have enough faith in you that they are willing to invest. Living on a tight budget in college, eating ramen and off-brand crackers, doesn’t even compare to the frugal budgets that early companies must adhere to in order to stay afloat. You will hardly have enough to pay yourself; you definitely won’t have endless money to throw at marketing and advertising on all the socials.

So how do you pick which socials to be on and which to skip? In an interview with Marie Forleo, Gary Vaynerchuk talked about the “jab, jab, hook” method that he uses for his business. Vaynechuk expanded his family wine business and co-founded a digital media agency with his brother. He is best known, however, for being the ultimate go-to source for social media marketing.

The “jab, jab, hook” method revolves around the idea that people don’t want to be sold to, they want to be engaged with. ‘Jabbing’ is providing the consumer with content and engages and informs them, without pushing them to buy anything. The ‘hook’ is the time to self-promote and sell the product. Maintaining a balance of the jabs and hooks is the underlying key to social marketing success.

Photo by Blue Corona on “Which Social Platform Should my Business be on?”

Each social platform has its own purpose and its own audience. Blue Corona did a study to measure the platforms, as you can see in this image. Pinterest, for example, is mostly used by educated women looking to (eventually) buying something – whether it’s their dream wedding dress, or their ideal kitchen, or a top 10 list of books to read. On the other hand, LinkedIn is primarily professional men and women looking to connect with other professionals for networking purposes. Understanding the context of the social platform is really the first step to using it effectively. You don’t want to be on every platform, only those who reach an audience similar to your audience. If you aren’t looking to target women, Pinterest would likely not be a good use of your money. Identifying who you need to reach with your message, and choosing the platform that reflects that, is imperative for making each dollar count in social marketing.

The next step is planning your message. This is where “jab, jab, hook” really comes into play. People don’t like to be sold to. In speaking from experience, I can say without question that I am more intrigued by ads that fit my aesthetic, and leave me wanting to know more, than ads that throw themselves in my face. Vaynerchuk stresses the importance of making your message fit the ‘room’ that it is portrayed in. He compared it to how you would behave differently in a busy Vegas party than in a professional interview room. You have to know who you are marketing to and blend in with the rest of the content they are seeing. For example, on Instagram, you have to remember that the post is 90% visual with a short text caption. Having a strong image to grab your viewer is imperative. Twitter, on the other hand, is more satirical and text-based. The more you blend in with surrounding content, the more likely someone is to actually engage with your post – jab.

Once you have found your audience, picked your platforms, and figured out how to display your message effectively for each platform, you have to craft your hook. You have to figure out a way to go from being recognized to being sought-after. Your hook may not work every time, but if you jab enough times effectively, all you need is for a few good hooks to be successful. From the outside, said Vaynerchuk, boxing may look like dudes trying to hit each other, but anyone who really knows boxing knows that it is a science. Social Media marketing is the same. From the outside, it might just look like a bunch of ads being thrown around, with hopes that one will stick. But really, there’s an art to doing it right.

You don’t have an unlimited budget for marketing, and social marketing is expensive. Making sure to do it right and make each dollar be spent effectively is important to the success of your marketing campaign. If you spend all your money in the wrong places, you won’t make any money off of it. However, if you dedicate the time and effort to finding the best places to target your audience, you will find money rolling in much quicker.

I never thought about how essential, and yet complicated, social marketing could be. There’s more to it than I ever thought, and in planning marketing for my own new company, I realized that I need to spend extra time evaluating which socials to be on. It is not a good tactic to be on all the socials. That’s a waste of money, a poor use of time, and will likely backfire as people tire of your ads.

Photo by Hermes River (@hermez777) via Unsplash

Put in the effort now, learn about your audience, and make a social marketing plan that will actually work. Don’t start to jab until you know your hook. Don’t even enter the ring if you aren’t ready to throw a few punches.


One thought on “Social Marketing: Put up your dukes or throw in the towel

  1. I like how you continued the boxing metaphor throughout this piece and how you broke down the entire process of developing a social media marketing strategy. Someone could read this and use it as a step-by-step guide!


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