Teacherscribe’s Teaching Tip #31
One book that has had a major impact on my teaching is - oddly - Gary Vaynerchuk’s Jab, Jab, Jab . . . Right Hook!
I use the adverb “oddly” because Vaynerchuk’s book is a business book on how to engage your customer through social media.
For the past few years, though, I’ve been fascinated by trying to apply business principals (branding, advertising, customer loyalty, and so on) to teaching.
What I took away form Jab, Jab, Jab . . . was something that has impacted how I use social media when I teach.
The core thesis of the book is this - companies have two options when it comes to social media Jabs (where they offer the customer value of some sort) and Right hooks (where they ask something of the customer).
A “jab” might be a joke or advice or useful information.
A “right hook” might be a sale or a promotion.
Here is an example of each - Columbia (the clothing company) offers a free app called “What Knot to do in Greater Outdoors.” This is an app that can come in handy. If you’re trying to tie a knot - say you’re out boating and want to tie a tube up to your boat and don’t know what type of knot will be sufficient, you can consult this app and it will walk you through how to tie various knots. That adds value to the customer. It doesn’t demand that you buy anything from Columbia (remember, the app is free). It adds value.
I follow an author on Twitter - Marc Prensky. He only offers right hooks through social media. He never offers links to other useful articles or sites. He just Tweets links to promos for his books or articles he has published. It says one thing: buy this, read my article, visit my site, buy my book.
Prensky simply isn’t using social media effectively.
Vaynerchuk says you should have a series of “jabs” (tweets, Facebook posts, Instagrams, commercials . . .) that offer some sort of value (again, maybe they’re funny or informative or particularly helpful in some way shape or form or maybe they give you free materials) first. THEN you can hit the customer (or in our case, the student) with a right hook where you ask something from them (to like you FB page, or visit your website, or join your email list, or buy your product . . .).
When you do this, you’re much more likely to not only get the customer to buy from you, but you’re far more likely to build customer loyalty and develop your brand.
So, you ask, what does any of this have to do with me as a teacher?
Well, that depends on you. But here is how I use the philosophy -
On Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest or Facebook (or even via text or email), I first offer my students some sort of value. It might be a humorous meme, a link to a video that is relevant to what we are reading or studying in class, maybe it’s a resource to help them with their papers or their works cited, maybe it’s a text reminding them when something is due, maybe it’s a comment thanking them or praising them or recognizing them for something in class or something I saw in the commons. This is all done with the intention of building value and culture.
Then - when I have have to - I hit them with a right hook - that is I send out an assignment via social media or I ask them to fill out a survey or complete a Padlet or visit the class blog to leave feedback.
I see too many teachers only use websites, blogs, or social media for right hooks exclusively. And they don’t get the type of student engagement nor do they cement the type of culture in their classes that they could if they used jabs first to offer value to their students.
Value? You say. They’re my students! The subject is the value. Why should I have to do anything extra?
Valid point. But you’re going to be less and less relevant to your students. These are the last of the millennias and Gen Z. They see and experience the world differently than we did when we were their ages.
So if you’re looking to be ineffective, by all means keep doing it the old way and rely on your scripted curriculum.
Good luck with that.