How Boxing is Like Social Media – and How to Land Those Killer Blows with Outstanding Content

By Patrick Reilly

Everyone is on social media. That part is obvious. And, it’s important to use social media to achieve your business objectives, and put time, energy, and dollars where consumers are. The bottom-line profits achieved from social media require hustle, heart, sincerity, constant engagement, long-term commitment, and artful, strategic storytelling.

Bestselling author and social media expert Gary Vaynerchuk outlines this elegantly and in simplified, digestible terms in his book, “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World.” He argues that social media marketers are throwing the best right hooks or knockout punches – and how most of the time they are still failing to land killer blows. The book is an update on what Vaynerchuk and his team have learned about successful social media campaigns through their work with thousands of startups, Fortune 500s, small businesses, entrepreneurs, and celebrities.

Social media is immediately gratifying and hugely addictive (look at TikTok). People using their smartphones are often using them to stay updated and entertained through social media. Most companies are still not getting the message. They may have Twitter and a Facebook page, but Vaynerchuk says that most of the content isn’t resonating. Social media has its own language and businesses need to learn it. People may be seeing brands’ social media posts, but when the content isn’t compelling, they scroll away, sometimes forever.

Put up your Fists When Strategizing for Social Media 

Vaynerchuk argues that there’s a reason why boxing is considered a sweet science – it’s often compared to chess – it requires strategic thinking. The right hook gets the credit for the win – but the series of jabs that come before set you up for success. For marketing, there is no sale without the story and no knockout without the setup. The jabs are lightweight pieces of content that benefit customers. These types of posts make users laugh, snicker, ponder, feel appreciated, and escape. The right hooks are calls to action that benefit your business.

Vaynerchuk believes social media marketers are not setting up jabs as well as they should – specifically by perfecting distinct, native content throughout multiple social media platforms. There is a science to creating memorable, effective social media content. Perfect hooks require three characteristics:

  • A simple and easy-to-understand call to action
  • Perfectly crafted for mobile and all digital devices
  • The respected nuances of social networks for making content

The book includes guidelines for creating relevant, valuable content that consumers will pay attention to and want to share. This type of content creates the brand awareness that can be critical to your next sale. Marketers should approach social media with the same intensity as boxers – to create better content. Boxers are observant and self-aware – which are the same traits of good storytellers.

The Characteristics of Great Content and Compelling Stories

Only outstanding content can cut through the noisy world of social media. Vaynerchuk shares social media content rules in the book that are still applicable today. Below are the “6 Characteristics of Great Content and Compelling Stories” from the book:

  1. Native Content – Crafted to mimic what makes a platform attractive – Companies often don’t take the time to learn about social media platforms’ native ways. Social media posts should blend with the platform’s natural offerings and tell stories that engage consumers on an emotional level. Don’t shove marketing content down consumers’ throats. Try to enhance consumers’ interactions with the platform and do not distract from the experience.
  2. Doesn’t Interrupt – Ads and marketing are supposed to make consumers feel something and act on that feeling. They shouldn’t affect a consumer’s experience on the platform or intrude on that experience. Ads need to be part of the entertainment.
  3. Doesn’t Make Frequent Demands – Jabs are ads that are informative, generous, funny, inspiring, and written for your audience – not yourself. The company needs to interact with people and needs to be human. They tap into the conversation and find shared interests with consumers by responding and reacting to what they are saying. They are building an emotional connection with jabbing which paves the way for the right hook. If the content is great, you won’t annoy your consumer. Skillful native storytelling increases the likelihood that a person will share content.
  4. Leverages Pop Culture – Generations are defined by their pop culture and content has to compete with all of it. Create content that reveals your understanding of news and issues that matter to your audience. Integrate content into a stream where people can consume it with other pop culture candy.
  5. It’s Micro – Think of social media content as microcontent – a tiny, unique nugget of information, humor, commentary, or inspiration that you reimagine every day. Businesses can create deeper connections with consumers and their brands’ communities when they use social media effectively. Every year – a social media campaign should be as simple as: jab at people all the time, every day, talk about what they are talking about, when they start talking about something different, talk about that instead, repeat, repeat, repeat.
  6. It’s Consistent and Self-Aware – Every post, tweet, comment, like, and share will confirm your business identity. Your microcontent will vary, but it must reflect who your brand is. No matter how you tell your story, your personality, and brand identity must remain constant too. When you are self-aware, you know the message and it’s easy to keep consistent. Creating microcontent is a way for a brand to adapt to circumstances and to the whims of your audience and a brand’s best chance of being noticed in a busy, disjointed, distracted world. When you create stellar content native to the platform – you can make a person feel, which makes it more likely to be shared with others and amplifies your message at a fraction of the cost of other types of promotion.

Vaynerchuk believes that the social media equation requires quantity and quality, but content for the sake of content is pointless when posts are out of touch or unimaginative. If your social media posts come off as straight-up promotions, they will be largely ignored by the public. Following these six characteristics to create great content can help you cut through the noise and land that killer blow.