I think I’ve fallen in love.

And not the love at first sight sort of love. It was the kind of relationship where you start seeing each other on and off, more curious than anything, and you’re not really sure how you feel about them. At first, you’re kind of put-off by their overconfidence and the seeming lack of shared interests, but the more you dip your feet into the relationship, the more you’re drawn in. Before you know, you’re in head over heels. That sort of love.

I’m not talking about a person. My partner of four and a half years wouldn’t appreciate that. In my case, I’m talking about a treasure of a book that I discovered as part of my Social Media Marketing Course through George Brown College – Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World (or JJJRH, as it’s affectionately called). Written by renowned social media marketer Gary Vaynerchuk, the book itself offers insight and a read that is as unique and charming as it’s awkwardly catchy title.

Renowned social media expert Gary Vaynerchuk talks about how thinking like a boxer can help you land winning campaigns.
Renowned social media expert Gary Vaynerchuk talks about how thinking like a boxer can help you land winning campaigns.

What makes JJJRH a refreshing change from the usual flavour of the month articles is the mere ideology that drives it. Vaynerchuk is a big boxing fan (in case you couldn’t tell from the title, the big pair of boxing gloves on the front cover should clue you in) and he used his understanding of the sport to inform his book. Me, not much of a sports fan, thought I would immediately hate this, and I did. A little. Until I realized how perfect and sweet the analogy between boxing and social media aligned.

As someone fairly newer to the social media scene (I’ve been managing my employer’s career-centred social media accounts for the past year to promote our employer brand and career opportunities), I’ve always had a hard time justifying the ROI of our content. Everyone knows we shouldn’t always be tweeting about ourselves or have a social media account only to promote job postings (though everyone still does it). There needs to be something more. But what’s the justification on sharing content about 75 healthy snacks for the workplace or the science of happinessHow does that help us in any way, particularly if we aren’t hiring at that time?

The biggest thing I learned from Vaynerchuk is how to justify this content. When it comes to social media, just like boxing, it’s about the series of perfectly executed little jabs that add value – the micro-content you’re producing – that slowly lowers your audience’s guard and makes them warm up to you, maybe even like you a little or, hopefully, a lot. It’s always been said that when it comes to social media, you should always give more than you ask. Well, that’s what JJJRH is all about. The jabs are about the give, though it adds on another layer of strategic thinking that says it’s not just about giving. It’s about how you can perfectly execute your “giving” so that you set up your customers with a knock out “ask.” You’ll be giving so much and so subtly that your customer won’t even bat an eyelash when you promote your upcoming sale or new job opportunity.

So, how does this work? Let’s consider a boxing match. You have two players facing each other, tasked with taking the other one down. They’ll go through multiple rounds where they duck and dodge each other, land little jabs at one another, and run around the ring (to put it in layperson’s terms, which is all I know). The untrained eye will see all of this as just foreplay – unnecessary and for our amusement. They’ll keep waiting for that knock out or that killer right hook that the winning player lands on his opponent. That’s what winning looks like. But the seasoned boxing enthusiast knows that there’s a “sweet science” behind it. That every perfectly executed little jab helps to bring their opponent one step closer to where they want them, and that only once their culmination of planned little jabs has brought their opponent to the right spot and the right moment, then the winning player will land their winning right hook.

Now let’s zoom out for a moment. I recently attended a webinar hosted by the Content Marketing Institute where the presenter spoke about this concept of “propinquity”, defined in Wikipedia as:

In social psychology, propinquity (/prəˈpɪŋkwɨtiː/; from Latin propinquitas, “nearness”) is one of the main factors leading to interpersonal attraction. It refers to the physical or psychological proximity between people.

Essentially, the more times people are exposed to one another, the more likely they will become friends or develop some form of a relationship. That’s propinquity, and that’s what marketers should take into consideration when they push out content pieces, tweet 20 times a day, or send emails. It’s about always being in your audience’s line of vision and sharing valuable content with them enough times so that they’ll think of you the next time they need to buy a new speaker system, or look for a job. It’s based on the idea that if they like what you’re saying, then maybe they’ll also like what you’re selling, and Vaynerchuk’s jabs help establish that relationship.

As the book explains:

Without a proper combination of jabs to guide your customer – I mean, your opponent – right where you want him, your right hook could be perfect and your opponent could still dodge it … Precede that perfectly executed right hook with a combination of targeted, strategic jabs, however, and you will rarely miss.

Well played, Vaynerchuk.

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2 thoughts on “Boxing & Social Media – An Unlikely Match

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