Why Most Small Businesses Fail At Social Media (and How To Avoid It!)

Starting on social media with a small business is a lot like a baby taking its first steps – it’s unfamiliar and unstable from the outset. Made even more difficult with the rocky terrain we find ourselves within in the digital landscape. With a little patience and a lot of practice we can have your business, metaphorically, walking in no time.

The objective of this article is to provide small business owners with the core concept necessary to create a solid social media strategy, and use it to grow their tribes.

Building a loyal community of followers over various platforms is no doubt a challenging feat, but definitely possible.

We all know that social media has a monumental impact on the kinds of exposure your business receives and has the ability to take your brand to the next level. You just need to be armed with the right tactics to create lasting branding success.

The truth is that too many small businesses are failing at social media – and we know why. They are presenting the potential clients with too many posts asking for the sale, and NO value. This is problematic and we’re going to explain why…

Jabs and Right Hooks

Gary Vaynerchuk (a.k.a Gary Vee) is an iconic, driving force in the digital marketing space who introduced the concept of ‘Jabs’ and ‘Right Hooks” in his 2013 book ‘Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook’.

Gary Vee’s concept uses the analogy of a boxer, softening up his opponent with a series of ‘jabs’, before going in for the knock out with the ‘right hook’.

He explains that ‘jabs’ are the value you provide your customers with: the valuable content you put out for your customers benefit.

The ‘right hook’ is the ask: it’s when you make an offer, ask for the sale, ask them to sign up to your newsletter or to subscribe to your YouTube channel.

Most small businesses fail at social media because they are constantly asking their audience for something (Too many right hooks!), while giving them no added value (NO jabs!).

What we need to understand is that everyone needs some time to come around to your product or service, and make up their minds about purchase decisions. It is your task as a business to earn the trust of your prospects and build rapport with them, before they will be in a position to buy from you. You must bring the potential customer along a journey with you, where your brand is gradually opened up more and more to them.

That’s why you have to throw in some seriously good jabs before you throw your right hook.

It’s vital to remember that people HATE being sold to.

So what makes this any different on social media?

To explain the difference between jabs and right hooks, Gary uses the analogy of the cartoons we all used to watch in the 80s! On early Saturday mornings as a kid, you would choose to tune into Transformers or Carebears (for free).

It was when you were creating your wish list for Christmas that you would ask for a Transformer or Carebear and as such started paying the brand. So the cartoons were the jabs (The added value) that got you in as a customer and the right hook (The ask) is spending money on the related merchandise.

What this analogy also shows us is that it takes time and patience to convert followers into customers using your social media strategy. Just because you jab and jab and jab, doesn’t mean you automatically get to throw the right hook.

You have to earn the right to ask people for a sale and that is achieved through first delivering upfront value to them.

What Do ‘Jabs’ Look Like?

This marketing strategy is all about providing value for your audience and gaining their trust before you switch to selling mode. It can also be seen as a soft sales tactic, as opposed to hard selling. That’s because instead of purchasing a billboard or TV ad that says “buy my product”, you are instead building trust and rapport by offering value to your potential customer.

In turn they conduct their own research into your company as a self-motivated form of absorbing your marketing messages. It’s all about subtlety and a softer approach to promoting your product instead of seemingly ramming it down the throats of whoever sees your ad.

As a business, it is now your responsibility to set up positive customer experiences where your brand leaves an impact on the customer through your social media content. Make it your motto to ‘Jab’ your customers – the whole aim is to gain their trust through being helpful, reliable and trustworthy.

Your First ‘Jab’

Now that you understand the art of the ‘jab’ and how vital it is to employ their use prior to presenting your ‘right hook’, it’s time to consider your first ‘jab’.  

It is now your task to consider the pain points your customers might be experiencing within the industry you operate in. Then from this understanding you must create a high-value and educational piece of content intended to address these pain points and better assist your customers.

For example, If you own a brand of all natural skincare products, valuable offers might look like; a downloadable guide to choosing your skincare routine, a blog post about the importance of choosing natural products for your skin or a newsletter with 10 helpful tips to keep your skin hydrated this Winter. There it is… Your first Jab!

Key Takeaways

  • Building a strong and loyal community of followers over various platforms is no doubt a challenging feat but certainly possible.
  • The truth is that too many small businesses are failing at social media because they are presenting the potential client with too many ‘right hooks’ and NO ‘jabs’.
  • ‘Jabs’ are the value you provide your customers with.
  • The ‘right hook’ is asking something, such as a sale or subscription, from your customer.
  • You have to throw some seriously good jabs before you earn the right to throw your right hook.
  • ‘Jabs’ are all about providing value for your customer and gaining their trust before you switch to selling mode.
  • ‘Jab’ your prospects today by addressing a pain point they may be experiencing with a piece of helpful, educational content that provides value.

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Jordy Cannon

Jordy Cannon

A social media influencer with a reach of over 5 million and published author of the book 'A 3 Step Guide to Turn Your Blog into a Career'. Jordy has a 'Master of Advertising' and tutors a 'Social Media Management' class at QUT while studying her PhD.

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