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Your Best Shot

by Kate Pavao
, May 2014

“I am sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but marketing got hard,” says social media expert Gary Vaynerchuk. Vaynerchuk, who consults with companies on social media strategy, says because today’s customers are active on a variety of channels, it is now more difficult to get their attention.


“You have to be more nimble, you have to be platform-agnostic, and you have to be willing to change the course quickly,” he tells Profit. “Platforms die, platforms are created. That’s the name of the game.” Here, Vaynerchuk, author of the social media strategy book Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy, Social World (HarperBusiness, 2013), talks about the biggest mistakes executives continue to make and how to use new social media trends and technology to truly connect with customers.

On giving: Put up content that’s valuable to the audience. If you want people to care about your product and buy it, care about and respect them first. Don’t spam them on social networks, but actually put out infographics, or funny tweets that make them happy.

On sponsored content: A lot of people want to make the decision about whether to pay for sponsorship up front, but I like to decide whether to pay to promote a post after it has been published. When a piece of content is doing well, you amplify it with lighter fluid.

When you start providing up-front value to a community, that’s when you get leverage, and eventually convert. I see ‘jab, jab, jab, right hook’ standing for ‘give, give, give, ask.’

On “Dark Posts”: It’s important to look at a feature called Dark Posts [Facebook posts that go unpublished on your timeline, but show up as heavily targeted ads]. You can pick the audience in advance, and they don’t have to be fans of your page.

On “by-accident business”: You can go to your account on Twitter and see what your 10 trending topics are. If you can jump on one of them and creatively storytell your message, that’s the way to go.

Percentage of today’s marketers who say they are sophisticated in content alignment and measurement (Source: Eloqua Community: The State of Content Marketing 2014)

If there’s something trending, such as the #library, jump in and write “Buy My Book,” using that hashtag. That will give you way more exposure. It’s what I call “by-accident business.” A lot of people in that conversation won’t be looking for my information, but if I only get 10 of them, it’s better than the zero I would have gotten if I just wrote my post without using that hashtag.

On results: I actually don’t think it is hard to measure results on social media. Facebook, Twitter—all these companies show you impressions. I measure everything. When I post “Buy My New Book!” I put a link that tracks the conversion on Amazon. It’s out there, but most senior decision-makers aren’t aware of how to do it, or don’t care to be aware. People don’t want to allocate the money or effort to do the measuring.

On a jab versus a right hook: Ninety-nine percent of people are not giving in the form of storytelling. They are just asking: “Check out my new project!” That’s why so many people are struggling with social media. When you start providing up-front value to a community, that’s when you get leverage, and eventually convert. I see “jab, jab, jab, right hook” standing for “give, give, give, ask.”

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