Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook Book Review.

Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook book review.Goodwill does seem to go around. So, when my friend Fernando Labastida asked for the abbreviated notes on Gary Vaynerchuk’s book, I thought I’d answer here, to continue something that started when I received it.

You see, the book was given to me by another friend, Raúl Colón, who makes the yearly pilgrimage to SXSW and stays at my place. I’ve never been able to attend the show (long story, every time), but he shares with me what he learns, and usually throws a couple of books my way as well.

Recent changes in my career highlighted to me the importance of this book. I already quoted it when I tried to answer what I think is the flawed question “Does social media marketing really work?”. It occurred to me this book matters to people in digital media, so I recently offered it up as a prize at the local Social Media Breakfast.

Fernando didn’t win it. But he’s a fan of Gary, and mentioned he’ll very likely get his own copy. As a B2B content marketing strategy and content producer for IT companies, social can be a challenging arena for his clients. I’m sure he’ll get a copy after reading this:

Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook is a “How To” book

Someone called “The Thank You Economy” (Gary’s previous book) a “Why To” book. That is, a book that made the case for social media as a tool to affect change. If you agree with that, then “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook” is definitely a “How To” book.

So much of the content regarding content marketing gets stuck on vague notions of “deeply engaging conversations” and blah, blah, blah, without ever touching on how exactly to go about it. This book doesn’t. But the trick with a how-to on social marketing, however, is that, by its very nature, a how-to book is a little like teaching someone how to be cool. Not exactly easy.

Social Media Content Rules

Gary gets pretty close to teaching the nerdy guy how to be cool by way of laying out some very important rules about content for social media:

It’s Native To The Platform

Gary writes: “Content is king, but context is God.” This is easily one of the most recurring points in my conversations about social media marketing. There are a bunch of clowns out there yelping out marketing truisms to demonstrate how up-to-date they follow their Twitter stream but far too few carefully crafted, context-aware social media marketing strategies. Make content native to the platform you’re publishing on, and publish it in a native way (in other words, careful with that automation).

It Doesn’t Interrupt

Again, Gary writes about context: “Whatever experience people are seeking on their preferred platforms, that’s what marketers should attempt to replicate”. One can interpret this in it’s simplest way to mean do not use hashtags on Facebook or Linkedin, but in a deeper way this is about trying to engage in legitimate conversations with the audience.

It Doesn’t Make Demands –Often

This time Gary quotes Leo Burnett:

Make it simple. Make it memorable. Make it inviting to look at. Make it fun to read.”

In other words, make it something your audience wants to see, read, feel, whatever. Don’t just push advertisement.

It Leverages Pop Culture

Can we say “trend”? This one too is about context: “Integrate your content into the stream, where people can consume it along with all their other pop culture candy”. The examples on the book are perfect. What else do we talk about on social media if not the current? What’s more current (if ephemeral) than pop culture?

It’s Micro

Jab at people all the time, every day. Talk about what they’re talking about. When they start talking about something different, talk about that instead. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.” – Gary

Social Marketing is now a 24-7 job” – Gary

If both these statements are correct, then making content micro should be appealing to you. Think about it, in a world of tl;dr, why would you go for long copy on social media?

(Yes I wrote this as I hit 777 words 😉 ).

It’s Consistent And Self-Aware

Though your business’s micro content will vary wildly every day, it must consistently answer the question ‘Who are we?’ ” – Gray

Didn’t I just do that? Must be learning something. Everything done online is the voice of a brand. While staying in touch with pop culture shows relevance, don’t try to pretend to be something you’re not – or don’t want to be associated with by your audience. Stay on message.


One of the most fun parts of the book is the large number of examples of social media use for marketing. The good, the bad, and the ugly, all illustrated, and with Gary’s commentary. It covers Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Tumblr.

As if that wasn’t enough, every chapter ends with social media channel specific “Questions to Ask About Your Content”. A how-to guide if I’ve ever seen one.

(I’m sorry, but I’ve quoted enough already to skirt plagiarism, so you’re going to have to buy the book to read about these).

My Favorite part

As much as I like the how-to stuff, I believe the high-level thinking informs a larger picture of our work. I love this quote because it’s high-level thinking expressed in simple language:

The world changes, platforms change, and we learn to adapt. But the secret sauce remains the same: 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.”
Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World*



I think this book should be required reading for anyone working in social media, wether as a contractor, employee, or self-promotion. I hope you enjoy reading it, and then pay it forward.

Have you read it? What did you thing? (please comment below)

Until the next time,

Nando Journeyman

Image by author, made with Pixelmator (Photoshop alternative)
Photo by Randy Heinitz via Compfight cc

By Nando Journeyman

Hi, I’m Nando Cabán-Méndez, a.k.a. the “eCommerce Whisperer”, creative left-brainer, pragmatic right-brainer, entrepreneur, writer, curator, artist, cyclist, life hacker, dreamer, starter, doer.
eCommerce Specialist and Project Manager, entrepreneur with more than 25 years of experience in business and design, and more than 10 years in eCommerce.
I use my skills and experience to help online business owners grow their business with best-of-breed eCommerce solutions.
In this blog, I share experiences from my life and career, and one or two opinions.
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