Boxing for Likes
Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook

Boxing for Likes

Former wine video star, bestselling author and entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk tells you how to hit it big on social media.

Wine video star, entrepreneur and marketing guru Gary Vaynerchuk  – whose bestselling books include Crush It!Gary Vaynerchuk’s 101 Wines and The Thank You Economy – explains how and why companies should embrace social media marketing. His parsing of Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Tumblr proves multilayered, functional, amusing and perceptive. 

A great marketing story is one that sells stuff. It creates an emotion that makes consumers want to do what you ask them to do.Gary Vaynerchuk

Vaynerchuk’s hyperbolic prose will boost your enthusiasm and entertain. Yet, he remains grounded and uses concrete examples, humor and insight to show how to exploit each platform on its own terms.

Mobile media consumers

Vaynerchuk provides an astonishing timeline: radio took 38 years to grow from its inception to an audience of 50 million people. Television gained that audience in 13 years. The Internet needed only 18 months. The author exhorts  – he seldom merely suggests – you to embrace Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram and Pinterest. He points out that your customers live in those spaces.

“Jab, jab, jab”

Traditional marketing “punched” with what Vaynerchuk calls “right hooks” – direct calls to action. Today’s marketing, he insists, must “jab” customers. Jabs make customers smile, join a game, feel that your company values them or momentarily forget their worries. Vaynerchuk says to open customers to your message with jabs. Then throw the perfect right hook.

With the instant access to social media made possible by mobile devices, there’s no such thing as undivided attention anymore.Gary Vaynerchuk

Each social media platform has its unique style and culture. What works on Tumblr won’t work on Twitter. Vaynerchuk advises you to understand and exploit each platform’s methods, ways of communicating, subtleties and shades of difference. He advocates creating “native content,” which looks like the other content on a platform – never like advertising. He tells you flat out that social media consumers stop interacting with sales messages immediately.

Never interrupt or push

Vaynerchuk offers guidance for each platform and offers overall tactics you’ll welcome. He believes you must become part of people’s entertainment. He reminds you not to push for a sale. Use your content to plant a seed that sprouts into what your audience wants and values.

It’s never been more important to produce quality content that people want to actually interact with – a brand’s future visibility on the platform depends on its current customer engagement levels.Gary Vaynerchuk

Customers on social network care about other people. Game players and music listers seek distraction. If they use maps or exercise programs, they “value service.” Address a value, says Vaynerchuk, and then jab at it.


As of December 2012, Facebook’s mobile products had 680 million active users each month. Vaynerchuk consults that Facebook encourages short attention spans. This is almost funny in its obviousness, and especially coming from Vaynerchuk, whose book is an ode to short attention spans. However, he is not wrong.

Though the function of every platform may sometimes overlap, each one cultivates a unique language, culture, sensibility and style.Gary Vaynerchuk

For “sponsored stories,” create a story and tell Facebook how much you’ll pay for each click. If people like it and share it more than they share your competitors’ stories, Facebook will charge you less.


By the end of 2012, 100 million people in the United States and 500 million worldwide used Twitter. Twitter shares news and information so, Vaynerchuk says succinctly, don’t offer either. He stresses that you must pay attention to what people tweet about your brand. Guide the conversation where you want it to go. Follow trends and deliver jabs to millions on the backs of those trends.

Content is king, but context is God.Gary Vaynerchuk

One of the great values of his book is Vaynerchuk’s specificity. He tells you to use promoted tweets and hashtags to create name recognition for your business. Jab with seductive, compelling micro-content. But, he asserts, when the time is right for an overt sales message, offer one.


Vaynerchuk hunts for the easiest, quickest way to blow his readers’ minds and make them appreciate platforms they may underestimate. He notes that Pinterest grew 379,599 percent in 2012. Some 68 percent of its users are women, and half of those are mothers. The author understates wildly – not his usual mode of expression, to say the least – when he calls this a valuable demographic. Pinterest’s adherents are 79% more likely to buy something they see on Pinterest than something they see on Facebook.

Aspiration and acquisition are two of the most powerful human drivers that lead people to buy, and Pinterest can satisfy both.Gary Vaynerchuk

Including a price in your posts will boost your likes by 36%.  Vaynerchuk suggests going for classy: Your images should mimic the clear lighting and evocative composition of magazine feature pieces.


Instagram hit 100 million photos eight months after it launched. Its pictures generate 1,000 comments per second. Vaynerchuk chucks aside his own advice and says not to worry about right hooks here. Instead, create authentic brand images. He marvels that kids shifted to Instagram while their folks stayed on Facebook. 

Native Instagram content is artistic, not commercial.Gary Vaynerchuk

Facebook then bought Instagram for a billion dollars. Vaynerchuk says that’s a bargain price. As an early Facebook investor, he ought to know.


Vaynerchuk seems in awe of Tumblr’s incredible ascension. In June 2013, Tumblr had “132 million monthly unique users” and 60 million new posts daily. Though it’s the smallest of the platforms he cites, Tumblr boasts the longest “average number of minutes per visit.” Yahoo bought it for more than a billion dollars. 

If Twitter is hip-hop, Tumblr is indie rock.Gary Vaynerchuk

Most Tumblr users are between 18 and 34, a skew slightly toward women. Vaynerchuk recommends offering them new, experimental stories that inspire emotional connections and make Tumblr consumers buy.

Market all day

Vaynerchuk writes such unpretentious common sense you may wonder how he got so rich. His simple message: market all day, every day. Entrepreneurs, small-business owners, marketers, and anyone getting ready to market on social media will relish Vaynerchuk’s contagious energy.

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